Local News

Company Hopes to End Need for Hog Lagoons by Recycling Waste

Posted April 10, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Cleaning up hog lagoons will improve the water we drink and swim in, and help clean up the air we breathe. The trick is getting rid of the lagoons.

No one has figured out what to do with millions of gallons of nasty, stinking waste generated by millions of hogs in North Carolina, however several companies are trying.

A possible pollution solution for farms was unveiled Tuesday in Johnston County.

Bion Technologies is closing in on an answer to eliminate the odor from Keith Barefoot's hog waste lagoons.

"We probably eliminated 90 to 95 percent of the smell," says Barefoot.

The new system may also eliminate the harmful nutrients in the lagoon waste water, which can pollute nearby streams.

"I think we're very close to getting to the point where we will be an accepted technology," says project manager Frank Franciosi.

Now Bion is trying to find the most affordable way to separate the solids, then sell it as organic fertilizer.

The company demonstrated to the state how gravity and a chemical polymer leave most of the solids behind.

"And this system here appears to be a very effective way of doing it without investing a lot of money in energy or equipment," says organic recycling coordinator Craig Coker.

The system still costs 10 percent more than just dumping the waste in a lagoon, but Barefoot believes he is seeing the future of hog farming right on his own property.

"I think it's a good system, a very good system," he says.

The solids can be spread like regular fertilizer. Bion hopes that in the coming months it will have a system in place to recycle the waste water into a drinking supply for hogs.