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Alberta Researchers Tackle Moisture Problems in Bio-filters

by 5m Editor
5 January 2004, at 12:00am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 1417. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork

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Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council
and Sask Pork.

Farm-Scape, Episode 1417

Scientists in Alberta are finding success in addressing the drying that diminishes the ability of bio-filters to reduce odor emissions from swine barns.

A bio-filter consists of a layer of organic material which supports the microorganisms that feed on compounds in manure that cause odor.

Under controlled conditions as much as 90 percent of these odor causing compounds can be removed from the air that passes through the filter.

Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development Engineer in Training Peter Llewellyn says the biggest challenge has been related to moisture.

"The worst problem we've had is in keeping the material moist enough that the bacteria can live. Like all living things they need water.

You're blowing a lot of hot dry air through these things and, especially in the summer, the biofilter will dry out very quickly and they won't work because the bacteria are dead.

A lot of our work has been designing a sprinkler system that will control the moisture level better.

What we're using now is a drip line irrigation system with a drip line on the top of the material and on a timer.

We add know quantities of water in order to keep it moist at all times and it appears to be proving quite effective.

I still have issues sometimes with drying but, in general, it's a lot better than the previous systems we had. The moisture is more uniformly distributed and therefor more effective overall. "

The provincial agriculture department estimates the cost of installing a biofilter at 20 to 50 cents per cubic foot per minute.

While Llewellyn's bio-filter research is ongoing, he hopes to have practical results for producers by the spring of 2005.

For Farmscape.Ca, I'm Bruce Cochrane.

5m Editor