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E-M:/ DEQ/Vreba Hoff settlement

Enviro-Mich message from "Alex J. Sagady & Associates" <ajs@sagady.com>

There has been recent mention and discussion of the
settlement between MDEQ and Vreba-Hoff concerning
animal waste and dairy wastewater treatment systems

I've not seen detailed plans for this treatment system, but my understanding
is that VB is going to have to install a filter press to separate
solids from wastewater,  treatment to reduce phosphorus to
insoluable forms, an aeration treatment system,  and an
irrigation system to spread the treated effluent.

This kind of treatment system has the potential to
reduce pollution of surface waters from phosphorus, bacteria present in the solids,
total kjeldahl nitrogen, total suspended solids and biological oxygen-demanding substances.

However, this type of treatment system won't remove nitrates and
nitrites from the wastewater, except by uptake from plants. If wastewater
irrigation from such systems takes place during the non-growing season, such
wastewater will still have pollution potential for ground and surface waters.
Any ammonia reduction in the wastewater will either be accounted for by
stripping to the atmosphere or by conversion to nitrite/nitrates in the oxidation pond.

All of the irrigation associated with such a system must be considered a groundwater
discharge, but Vreba Hoff's combined operation has so far not been subjected
to any groundwater discharge permitting requirements.

The treatment system will also not remove viruses, hormones and medications excreted by
dairy cattle.

Unless they are enclosed in a structure with air pollution controls, belt filter
presses handling animal waste can be significant odors sources.
Some features of this system will increase air pollution through air stripping
of ammonia and volatile organic compounds found in animal waste. This
would thus constitute a "cross-media transfer" of pollutants as it is known.

In summary, the VB settlement might be an incremental improvement over
surface water pollution problems, but it won't eliminate these problems
or the potential of the wastewater to cause groundwater and certain other
surface water problems.   Cross-media transfer of pollutants and
some harmful biological substances may still occur, along with significant
odor problems from the treatment equipment.

Alex J. Sagady & Associates        http://www.sagady.com

Environmental Enforcement, Permit/Technical Review, Public Policy,
Evidence Review and Litigation Investigation on Air, Water and
Waste/Community Environmental and Resource Protection
Prospectus at:  http://www.sagady.com/sagady.pdf

PO Box 39,  East Lansing, MI  48826-0039
(517) 332-6971; (517) 332-8987 (fax); ajs@sagady.com

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