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Treatment and Utilization of Animal Wastes in Japan
Y. Harada
Project Research Team No. 6
National Agriculture Research Center
Kannondai 3-1-1, Tsukuba 305, Japan, 1994-09-01

Abstract

As the animal industry has expanded in Japan and the scale of farms has grown, a vast amount of animal wastes is being produced. The management of these wastes has become a serious problem. The legal constraints on environmental pollution have become stricter. Animal wastes should be utilized in agriculture, and recycled as a valuable resource. Wastewater, which is difficult to use for agricultural purposes, should be treated properly to prevent environmental pollution. Composting is an effective method of utilizing solid wastes. The technology for making compost from waste materials is well developed and practical. However, quality control for compost has not yet been attained, and there are no rapid methods of estimating compost quality, although near infrared spectroscopy analysis is a promising technique. The development of low-cost techniques which remove most of the nitrogen and phosphorus from animal wastewater is yet to be achieved. Nitrogen should be removed by denitrification, while phosphorus should be recovered in an available form and utilized. Although activated sludge units using intermittent aeration and TBX reactors are available, further research is needed.

Abstracts in Other Languages: 中文(1193), 日本語(1213), 한국어(1249)

Animal Wastes in Japan

The animal industry in Japan has expanded rapidly over the last few decades. While the total number of animals has increased, the number of livestock farms has decreased. Consequently, the average number of animals kept on each farm in 1992 was 25.7 times greater than in 1970.

Such a rapid increase has inevitably resulted in pollution problems from livestock wastes. The total number of pollution complaints reached 2,861 in 1993 ( Table 1(1211)), most of them concerned with malodor and water pollution. Pollution problems in the swine industry are particularly serious, because swine producers usually have little or no cropland to which they can apply the manure.

The number of complaints increased rapidly to reach a peak in 1973 and then gradually decreased, so that in 1993 there were only one quarter as many as in 1973 ( Fig. 1(1272)). However, the average number of pollution problems per 1,000 farms has tended to increase, especially on pig farms ( `(1283)).

Legal Aspects of Pollution Control

The discharge of wastewater into public waterways in Japan is controlled by the Water Pollution Prevention Act. Under this Act, nitrogen and phosphorus were added to the list which already included criteria such as BOD (biochemical oxygen demand), COD (chemical oxygen demand) and SS (suspended solids) ( Table 2(1192)). Although the criteria for nitrogen (260 mg/L) and phosphorus (50 mg/L) in animal wastewater are provisional at present, criteria covering these will be applied to livestock farms after 1995.

Malodor is controlled by the Malodor Control Law. The regulation standards govern the permissible concentration of various malodorous compounds at the boundary of livestock farms. In 1990, four volatile fatty acids (VFA) were added to the list of substances regulated by this Law, which already included eight substances such as ammonia, methyl mercaptan and hydrogen sulfide ( Table 3(1188)). These fatty acids emit an offensive odor if even small amounts are present in animal wastes, especially swine wastes. An additional ten substances, including propanealdehyde, isobutyl aldehyde and isobutyl alcohol, were added to the list in 1994.

Quantity of Animal Wastes

The total production of animal wastes in Japan was estimated in 1993 to be 93 million mt per year ( Table 4(1736)). These animal wastes contain large amounts of nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and various other minerals. The total amount of nitrogen contained in these wastes has been estimated at 616,100 mt/yr. The nitrogen contained in livestock wastes is 108% of the total nitrogen used in the form of chemical fertilizer (570,000 mt/yr).

Loading of Animal Wastes Onto Cropland

The hypothetical average loading of nitrogen from animal wastes onto cropland is estimated at 116 kg/ha, assuming that animal wastes are uniformly applied to cropland all over Japan. The average recycling capacity of nitrogen on cropland is considered to be 200 kg/ha. Therefore, potentially all animal wastes could be applied onto cropland in Japan, without any environmental pollution. However, animals are not uniformly distributed throughout the country. Loading of nitrogen ( Fig. 3(1312)) is particularly high in Kagoshima prefecture (400 kg N/ha) and Miyazaki prefecture (600 kg N/ha). These values may exceed the recycling capacity of nitrogen. To decrease nitrogen loading, it is important to redistribute animal wastes from regions where they are abundant to those where they are scarce. However, animal wastes are unsuitable for transportation or storage unless they are processed. Composting can solve the problem to some extent, and is an effective way of promoting the agricultural utilization of animal wastes.

Treatment of Animal Wastes

Proportion of Animal Wastes Treated

In 1992, solid wastes were composted in 10% of dairy and beef cattle farms ( Table 5(1261)). The remaining 85 - 90% of cattle farms treated the wastes by piling. Although this may be regarded as a kind of composting, adequate composting management is not necessarily practiced. To promote the utilization of animal wastes, proper composting should be carried out on a greater number of farms. There are very few livestock farms which adequately treat wastewater and slurry ( Table 6(1073)).

Composting

Composting is a solid waste management strategy whereby the organic component of solid waste is biologically decomposed under controlled conditions to a state in which it can be handled, stored, and/or applied to cropland without adversely affecting the environment (Golueke 1977). Composting reduces offensive odors, reduces difficulties in handling due to stickiness, inactivates pathogens, parasites, and weed seeds and stabilizes the organic constituents, thus producing a uniform organic material suitable for soil application (Harada 1990).

Various types of composting are being carried out on Japanese farms, and in compost centers organized by several farms. They can be classified as the pile type, the box type, the open elongated type with a conveyor belt for turning, the open elongated type with a rotating turning device, the rotary kiln type, and the enclosed vertical type ( Fig. 4(1315)). For the composting of cattle wastes, the pile and the open elongated types are most often used. For swine wastes, the box and open elongated types are most commonly used. For poultry wastes, the rotary kiln and enclosed vertical types are generally used.

Compost quality is very important in the recycling of animal wastes. Quality standards have not yet been set for animal waste composts in Japan, but such standards are needed in order to maintain and improve the quality of composted products. It is, however, difficult to establish standards because the levels of chemical constituents in these composts vary widely according to the type of animal, the kinds and ratios of bulking agents, and the type of composting used. However, if the nutrient content of compost is unknown, it is very difficult to plan fertilizer applications. Compost should be sufficiently mature, because the application of immature compost to soil may cause severe damage to plant growth. Therefore, a rapid method of estimating the nutrient content and the degree of maturity of compost is required. Although many methods, using various indices for estimating the degree of maturity, have been proposed, a more practical and reliable method is still needed (Harada 1991).

The rapid estimation of the quality of cattle waste compost using near infrared spectroscopy analysis (NIRS) was investigated (Harada et al. unpublished). The levels of total carbon, total nitrogen, ash, cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin of the cattle waste compost and its cation-exchange capacity could be measured by this method ( Fig. 5(1319)). Its biological activity, in terms of inhibition of seed germination, was assayed using Brassica campestris seeds, and an attempt was made to estimate this by NIRS. Although the accuracy of the estimation was not high, at least severely inhibitory activity could be detected by NIRS ( Fig. 6(1376)).

Wastewater Treatment

Although solid wastes can be utilized as compost, the utilization of animal wastewater is very difficult, because of transportation and storage problems. Wastewater should be treated properly to prevent environmental pollution. A common treatment is the activated sludge process. Although the efficiency of wastewater treatment is high, treatment is costly and requires some expertise to operate successfully. Small-scale farms sometimes treat their wastes by drying them. Wastewater is evaporated by the heat generated from fermentation of compost and/or wind or solar power, or by the use of a fan. In all these treatments, however, there are problems of offensive odor and the emission of ammonia.

The removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from swine wastewater is very important, since these nutrients can contribute to the eutrophication of surface water and ground water. However, it is difficult to remove these two elements efficiently from swine wastewater by the conventional activated sludge process, because such wastewater is rich in these elements compared to the carbon source. As described above, the criteria for nitrogen and phosphorus in discharged wastewater have become strict under the Water Pollution Prevention Act. More efficient treatments to remove nitrogen and phosphorus are required to enable farmers to meet these criteria.

Removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from swine wastewater was investigated in a fill-and-draw type activated sludge unit with an intermittent aeration process (IAP) (Osada et al. 1991, and Harada et al. 1991b). In the intermittent aeration process, nitrogen was removed efficiently through nitrification and denitrification under alternately aerobic and anaerobic conditions ( Fig. 7(1288)). The efficiency of phosphorus removal using IAP was higher than when an unlimited aeration process (ULAP, conventional process) was used ( Fig. 8(1503)). Phosphorus was removed by the excess uptake in activated sludge.

Several other methods of removing nitrogen and phosphorus from animal wastewater have been tested, including the soil column system (Harada et al. 1990, 1991a), the TBX bioreactor system (Takahashi et al. 1989), and the membrane treatment system. Although the solid column system has the ability to remove nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants from concentrated wastewater, the practical usefulness of this system has yet to be verified on a large scale. The TBX bioreactor for removing phosphorus is available, and its usefulness has been verified on a practical scale. The membrane treatment system, using ultra-filtration membranes or reverse osmosis membranes, has posed problems of both cost and management.

References

  • Golueke, C.G. 1977. Biological Reclamation of Solid Wastes. Rodal Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania, USA, pp. 1-3.
  • Harada, Y. 1990. Composting and Application of Animal Wastes. Extension Bulletin No. 311. Food and Fertilizer Technology Center for the ASPAC Region, Taipei, Taiwan ROC, pp. 20-31.
  • Harada, Y., Fujihara, S., Otani, T. Osada, T. 1990. Removal of nitrogen from livestock wastewater with alternate aerobic-anaerobic treatment in soil column system. Proceedings of 14th International Congress of Soil Science 4: 547-548.
  • Harada, Y. Haga, K., Osada, T. Koshino, M. 1991a. Quality aspects of animal waste compost. Proceedings of Symposium on Pig Waste Treatment and Composting. Biomass Energy Society of China, pp. 54-76.
  • Harada, Y., Osada, T. Haga, K. Koshino, M. 1991b. Removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from swine wastewater. Proceedings of Symposium on Pig Waste Treatment and Composting, Biomass Energy Society of China, pp. 16-36.
  • Osada, T. Haga, K., Harada, Y. 1991. Removal of nitrogen and phosphorus from swine wastewater by activated sludge units with the intermittent aeration process. Water Research 25: 1377-1388. (Pergamon Press).
  • Takahashi, T., Suzuki, M., Fukumitsu, K. 1989. An experiment of pig breeding waste treatment with TBX bioreactor System. Bulletin, Gunma Agricultural Research Center 6: 163-178. (In Japanese).

Source: Osada et al. 1991

Discussion

Dr. Harada was asked for more information about the TBX bioreactor referred to in his paper. He explained the mechanism of removing the phosphorus by the TBX bioreactor. The TBX is a kind of light-weight concrete, mainly composed of calcium silicate. The phosphorus in wastewater reacts with the calcium in TBX, and calcium apatite crystallizes on the surface of the TBX. The phosphorus is removed from wastewater by the growth of the crystals. In addition, the TBX can act as a carrier of microorganisms, and can also remove BOD and COD. He was asked whether the TBX could be regenerated. The calcium apatite crystal cannot be recovered alone. TBX saturated with calcium apatite is crushed and applied to cropland as a soil amendment.

Index of Images

Figure 1 Occurrence of Pollution Problems from Animal Wastes in Japan, 1970-1993

Figure 1 Occurrence of Pollution Problems from Animal Wastes in Japan, 1970-1993

Figure 2 Occurrence of Pollution Problems Per 1,000 Farms in Japan, 1970-1993

Figure 2 Occurrence of Pollution Problems Per 1,000 Farms in Japan, 1970-1993

Figure 3 Loadings of Animal Waste Nitrogen Onto Cropland in Each Prefecture

Figure 3 Loadings of Animal Waste Nitrogen Onto Cropland in Each Prefecture

Source:HaradaandTsuiki1993

Figure 4 Composting Facilities for Animal Wastes

Figure 4 Composting Facilities for Animal Wastes

Source:KuwanaandFukumori

Figure 5 Nirs Estimation of C/N Ratio and Cec of Cattle Waste Compost

Figure 5 Nirs Estimation of C/N Ratio and Cec of Cattle Waste Compost

Figure 6 Nirs Estimation of the Effect of Cattle Waste Compost on the Germination of <I>Brassica Campestris</I>

Figure 6 Nirs Estimation of the Effect of Cattle Waste Compost on the Germination of Brassica Campestris 

Source:Harada etal. Source:Harada etal.

Figure 7 Changes in Nitrogen Concentration during Ulap and Iap Operations

Figure 7 Changes in Nitrogen Concentration during Ulap and Iap Operations

Figure 8 Changes in Phosphorus Concentration during Ulap and Iap Operations

Figure 8 Changes in Phosphorus Concentration during Ulap and Iap Operations

Table 1 Pollution Problems Caused by Livestock Wastes in Japan, 1993

Table 1 Pollution Problems Caused by Livestock Wastes in Japan, 1993

Table 2 General Criteria for Discharged Wastewater under the Water Pollution Prevention Act of Japan

Table 2 General Criteria for Discharged Wastewater under the Water Pollution Prevention Act of Japan

Table 3 Concentration of Regulated Malodor Substances by Odor Intensity (PPM)<BR>

Table 3 Concentration of Regulated Malodor Substances by Odor Intensity (PPM)

Table 4 Calculated Animal Waste Production in Japan 1993

Table 4 Calculated Animal Waste Production in Japan 1993

Table 5 Treatment of Solid Livestock Wastes in Japan, 1992

Table 5 Treatment of Solid Livestock Wastes in Japan, 1992

Table 6 Treatment of Animal Wastes (Liquid and Slurry) in Japan, 1992

Table 6 Treatment of Animal Wastes (Liquid and Slurry) in Japan, 1992

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