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Bernardin Lochmueller Awarded Patent for CAFO Wastewater Treatment Wetlands, January 17 2012


Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates (BLA), a leader in sustainable infrastructure design, recently received a method patent for its Eco-Treatment™ constructed wetland system to treat wastewater from animal confinement operations


Manure management processes by Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) have come under increasing scrutiny. Some CAFOs store manure in lagoons, until they can dispose of it, most often by applying it to fields. Environmentalists and some regulators are concerned about the release of raw wastes into watersheds, especially when rain causes lagoons to overflow or manure runs off of fields into nearby bodies of water.
In 2008 the EPA established zero discharge requirements but did not require facility-specific reporting. A proposed EPA rule would require CAFOs to provide information on waste discharges starting this July in an effort to protect water quality. The public comment period for this new rule closes January 19.
Constructed wetlands, whether used as a stand-alone system or in combination with land application or other treatment alternatives, offer a cost-effective solution to assist CAFOs in meeting the zero discharge requirement. Using plants and a variety of filter media, the system provides a natural approach to reducing or eliminating nutrients and other chemicals from manure and wastes. The system can even be fine-tuned to provide effluent with nutrient loads that match the needs of specific crops.



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