MadSci Network: Environment/Ecology

Re: What are the constituents of pig slurry (dung) ?

Date: Mon Mar 30 15:01:35 1998
Posted By: Bob Peeples, Chemical Engineer, Environmental Program Management, U S Postal Service
Area of science: Environment/Ecology
ID: 890760831.En

Agricultural activities (animal feeding and crop production) are responsible for the majority of surface water impairment in the United States. Animal waste, if applied to land properly, can supply nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus to soil. However, improper application of animal waste or spills from lagoons can result in discharges into rivers and streams that contribute to nutrient pollution of surface waters. Overabundance of nutrients speeds the growth of algae in surface waters, oxygen in the waters is depleted, and fish kills can result. Animal waste is also linked with pathogens such as cryptosporidium and giardia, that can cause diseases in humans. You can easily see why it is important to ensure that animal waste is disposed of correctly.

I will assume that your question is only referring to a qualitative assessment:

Discharges from large scale concentrated animal feeding operations have been regulated in the United States since 1976. In June 1995, heavy rains caused an eight-acre lagoon in North Carolina to breach its dike, spilling approximately 22 million gallons of animal waste into the New River. The spill was twice the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and reportedly killed fish along a 19-mile downstream area. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) responded with a plan to reduce the possibility of animal waste spills in the future. The Compliance Assurance Implementation Plan For Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations can be found on the EPA web site.

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