Hog waste systems in House budget

by 5m Editor
14 May 2007, at 11:20am

US - The proposed state budget approved last week by the House provides a glimmer of hope for new hog waste technology, but not nearly the support that advocates had hoped.

While separate House and Senate bills propose $50million in the next five years to build new waste systems on more than 100 hog farms, the House budget provides $2million for fiscal 2008.

“I’m encouraged to see that’s in the budget, but we want more,” said Jane Preyer, director of Environmental Defense’s North Carolina office. “This is an important first step. I think $2 million could get us somewhere, but we’re still hoping for more.”

It’s been 10 years since the General Assembly put a halt to new waste lagoons and sprayfields — the current methods used to process huge volumes of solid and liquid hog waste. North Carolina is the country’s second-largest hog farming state with about 10 million swine on about 2,400 farms, many of which are concentrated in the eastern part of the state.

But the state has yet to find a waste system to replace the lagoons, which can overflow and contaminate waterways, and the noxious sprayfields that release airborne pathogens.

One inventor said he tried for several years to build his patented evaporation system on a North Carolina hog farm, but the lack of state funding proved too great an obstacle.

Steven Kolber of Atlanta worked with N.C. State University to develop a waste system that relies on evaporation, but he said he has abandoned his efforts to put the system to work.

“There’s just so much one person can tolerate in the expense when the state hasn’t really come to a conclusion,” Kolber said. “It all comes down to margin.”


5m Editor