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for the California Dairy Manure Technology Feasibility Assessment Panel


Submission Deadline: March 27, 2008

16:00 PDT

 

Information

Review Request Form

Dairy Industry Trends

Round 2

Background

Regulatory Issues

Round 1 Technology Review

Round 1 Final Report

 

 

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Round 2 for Dairy Manure Management and Treatment Technology review

In 2005, the California Air Resources Board (www.arb.ca.gov) hosted a San Joaquin Valley Dairy Manure Technology Feasibility Assessment Panel (http://www.arb.ca.gov/ag/caf/dairypnl/dairypanel.htm) to help determine which technologies and management techniques were most likely to improve the management and treatment of dairy manure in the San Joaquin Valley. Panel members were drawn from government, industry, academia, and environmental and conservation groups.  Detailed information on the methods used and products developed during the first round of reviews is found below. 

A second round of dairy environmental technology reviews is underway.  The new Panel has refined the Technology Review Request Form to help ensure that technology vendors and promoters are clear on what information is needed to complete the evaluations.  The new Panel intends to consider the multimedia impacts of various dairy management strategies, and to make a broader impact analysis of technologies focused not only on manure management, but on other emissions sources as well. 

The California Dairy Manure Technology Feasibility Assessment Panel hopes that the information it develops will provide a stimulus for academic institutions, dairy operators, and dairy industry groups to find locations and cooperators for demonstration projects. The Panel also hopes that their work will result in more transparency in the funding of demonstration projects for new technologies and practices on working dairies.

Round 2 of the technology review process will focus on development of a centralized web-based clearinghouse whereby interested technology vendors may identify the primary expectations of their technology to the panel.  Vendors will provide information in a transparent on-line process and potentially be invited to make a formal technical presentation at a panel meeting to provide a brief summary of their technology and highlight expected environmental improvements as well as unintended and potentially undesirable consequences of their technology. All vendors may not be asked to participate in the in-person meetings, depending on the response rate and completeness of responses received in each technology category. The in-person meetings will be video recorded and streaming made available on-line for further reference by Federal and State regulatory agencies, technical service providers, consultants, dairy industry representatives, scientists, and other vendors. 

A new Technology Review Request Form is available to tell the Panel about your products and management techniques. 

Dairy Industry Trends

California is the nation's leading dairy state, and dairy products are California’s most valuable agricultural output.  California dairies produced more than 38 billion pounds of milk in 2006 – 21% of the national supply – and made California the nation’s leading dairy state.  Sales of California dairy products and cattle exceed $6 billion per year and generate $47 billion of economic activity (California Milk Advisory Board, September 2005).  However, in recent years increased population growth in combination with an increasing presence of the dairy industry in San Joaquin Valley has resulted in increased regulatory pressure for dairies to monitor and reduce their emissions of pollutants that can adversely impact air and water quality.  Thus, there is an ongoing need to improve environmental management practices while ensuring the economic viability of the dairy industry.

Round 2

A second round of dairy environmental technology reviews is underway.  The new Panel has refined the Technology Review Request Form to help ensure that technology vendors and promoters are clear on what information is needed to complete the evaluations.  The new Panel intends to consider the multimedia impacts of various dairy management strategies, and to make a broader impact analysis of technologies focused not only on manure management, but on other emissions sources as well.  Additional information on this effort is available at: http://www.manureproducts.info/.

The California Dairy Manure Technology Feasibility Assessment Panel hopes that the information it develops will provide a stimulus for academic institutions, dairy operators, and dairy industry groups to find locations and cooperators for demonstration projects.  The Panel also hopes that their work will result in more transparency in the funding of demonstration projects for new technologies and practices on working dairies.

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Background

The number of milk cows in California doubled over the last 30 years to almost 1.8 million in 2006, while the number of dairies dropped by nearly half to approximately 1,970.  Three-quarters of the state’s dairy cows are in the San Joaquin Valley, with approximately 68.5 percent of the milk production from Tulare, Merced, Stanislaus, Kings, and Kern counties.  This concentration of the dairy industry has resulted in an increase in the average number of cows at dairies, a corresponding increase in the amount of manure produced, and a geographic concentration of manure within certain areas of the San Joaquin Valley.

Management of dairies must consider the potential release of pollutants that cause adverse impacts to air, water, and climate.  Most emissions come from storage areas for feed, manure, and wastewater; animal housing; from cropland where manure is applied; equipment used on the facility; and enteric fermentation.  Air emissions of concern from dairies include particulate matter (PM)[1], oxides of nitrogen (NOx), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ammonia (NH3), carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O), and methane (CH4).  When criteria air pollutants exceed ambient air quality standards, they can cause detrimental health effects in people.  Criteria pollutants include directly emitted compounds (e.g., PM) and secondary compounds formed from reactions that occur in the atmosphere.  An example of a secondary pollutant is ozone, which is formed from reactions involving VOCs.  Ground level ozone can be a problem for air districts in non‑attainment with ambient air quality standards.  The pollutants CO2, CH4, and N2O are greenhouse gases that do not cause direct health effects, but are of current interest due to their deleterious effect on climate.

Releases to surface water can result from improper collection and storage of manure or improper application of manure to land.  The primary concerns for surface water are ammonia (aquatic toxicity), organic matter (depletion of dissolved oxygen), and nutrients such as nitrates and phosphorus (promotion of algal growth that can adversely impact beneficial uses, and cause oxygen depletion).  Coliform bacteria and other pathogens are a concern if there is human contact with the manure or if manure contacts food or water consumed by humans.

The primary concerns for groundwater are salts and nitrates.  Salts are usually measured as total dissolved solids (TDS), which includes nitrates.  A Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 45 milligrams per liter (mg/l) has been established for nitrate in drinking water because at higher levels it can cause serious health problems, especially for infants.

Sufficient cropland must be available to apply the manure at or below agronomic rates (i.e., at rates that maximize nutrient uptake by the plants and minimize leaching into the groundwater).  Rapid population growth in California further restricts the amount of crop land available to utilize manure as fertilizer.  Technologies that assist dairy producers to properly manage manure on cropland will be important for sustainability of California dairies.

As a result of the potential of dairies to adversely affect air and water quality, most dairies in California are now under the regulatory purview of air and water quality management agencies.  Thus, it is of benefit to the dairy industry, regulators, and the general public that the technical efficacy of various technologies promoted to reduce the air and water quality affects be systematically evaluated.

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Regulatory Issues for Air Quality

The enactment of Senate Bill 700 (SB 700, Chapter 479, Florez, Statutes of 2003) changed the California Health and Safety Code such that minor and major agricultural sources are subject to permitting requirements and emissions limitations enforced by local air districts.  SB 700 also required the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to develop a definition for large confined animal facilities (CAFs) that would trigger the requirement for an emission mitigation plan.  Dairy, feedlots, and poultry operations are the main types of CAFs in California, and existing estimates show that dairies can be a significant source of VOCs in the San Joaquin Valley.  Dairies are also the largest identified source of livestock ammonia emissions in California.

On June 23, 2005, ARB adopted a definition for large CAFs.  Local air districts are required to issue permits for large CAFs and adopt a rule requiring an emissions mitigation plan.  Additional information regarding the implementation of SB 700 related to livestock can be found on the ARB website: http://www.arb.ca.gov/ag/sb700/sb700.htm.

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Issues for Greenhouse Gases

Dairies emit greenhouse gases (GHGs) including methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide.  Under California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB32), GHGs emitted statewide in 2020 cannot exceed levels emitted in 1990.  Agriculture is currently seen as an opportunity for emission reductions and potential credits to reach the 2020 goal.  The Climate Action Team (CAT) Ag Subgroup and ARB (through the Scoping Plan process) are working with interdisciplinary stakeholders to identify and evaluate emerging technologies for mitigating GHG emissions.

Dairies are one source of GHG emissions receiving attention from the public, and are specifically mentioned in ARB’s AB32 Early Action Report.  In the initial period of AB32 discussion, attention has been focused on methane emissions from dairies including emissions from enteric fermentation that occurs in the digestion system of cows and emissions from manure handling and storage areas.  One area of particular interest is voluntary implementation of methane mitigation technologies (e.g., methane capture systems such as manure digesters).  ARB’s Early Action Report lists inclusion of the California Climate Action Registry’s (CCAR’s) Manure Management Project Reporting Protocol as a recommended early action for quantifying GHG emissions from manure management.  The protocol provides equations for calculating changes to GHG emissions resulting from the use of anaerobic digesters.  ARB intends for the early action measure to help provide standardized methodologies for quantifying the emissions from manure management as well as from voluntary use of manure digesters on California livestock facilities.  As directed by AB32, GHG reduction strategies should not interfere with efforts to achieve and maintain federal and state ambient air quality standards and to reduce toxic air contaminant emissions.  Therefore, NOx emissions from internal combustion engines and flares associated with livestock methane digesters may be of particular concern to air districts that are in nonattainment with ambient air quality standards such as the San Joaquin Valley.  The ability for operators to claim GHG credits depends on the use of established procedures to quantify, verify, and register emissions. [Return to Home]

Regulatory Issues for Water Quality

In March 2003, pursuant to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) promulgated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit regulations and effluent limitation guidelines for concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).  The regulations are commonly cited as the “CAFO Rule” and were challenged by industry and environmental groups.  On February 28, 2005, the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued a judgment on the challenges.  The judgment states that only CAFOs that discharge to surface water need an NPDES permit and that the permit must include a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) prepared for the facility in accordance with the CAFO Rule.

On May 3, 2007, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted WDR General Order No. R5-2007-0035 (“General Order”).  The General Order applies to all milk cow dairies located within the Central Valley Region that were in operation as of October 17, 2005, and not just to facilities that meet the federal definition of a CAFO.  The General Order requires NMPs similar to those required in NPDES permits.  Producer efforts to comply with the General Order would be assisted by technologies demonstrated to support controlled nutrient application rates or other economic uses for excess manure nutrients.  The General Order is available at: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/centralvalley/adopted_orders/GeneralOrders/R5-2007-0035.pdf. [Return to Home]

Need for a Whole-farm Approach to Evaluate Manure Treatment Technologies

As dairy operators adjust their facilities and practices to new strategies and regulations by adopting technologies that reduce environmental impact on one resource (e.g., air quality), they may inadvertently cause deleterious effects on another resource (e.g., water quality), thus creating undesirable cross-media impacts.  In addition, consideration must be given to protecting dairy herd health.  Therefore, a fully integrated approach (i.e., a whole farm approach) needs to be utilized as new technologies are reviewed.  The dairy community, agricultural agencies, academic community, regulatory agencies, and general public need to identify technologies that provide options to dairy operators without conflicting with the regulatory concerns of various environmental agencies.

[1]  PM is addressed as particles under 10 microns (PM10) and particles under 2.5 microns (PM2.5).

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Round 1 Technology Review

The California Dairy Manure Technology Feasibility Assessment Panel was formed in February 2005 to evaluate relevant new technologies for manure management.  The Panel included stakeholders from government, industry, academia, and environmental groups.  The Panel solicited information from technology vendors, and subsequently evaluated the submitted material from 44 technologies to assess performance claims.  In December 2005, the Panel released a report titled An Assessment of Technologies for Management and Treatment of Dairy Manure in California’s San Joaquin Valley.  The report is available on-line at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/ag/caf/dairypnl/dmtfaprprt.pdf.

The Panel found that only a few companies provided the scientific data needed to determine the environmental and economic performance of their technology.  Much of the material submitted was company marketing claims that were neither adequate nor appropriate for the Panel to use in assessing the technology.  In addition, few of the submissions provided an accounting of the form and fate of all constituents of concern in the manure as they move through the treatment process.

Lack of scientific data to support company claims does not mean a technology is without merit, but does severely limit anyone’s ability to assess the overall impacts of the technology.  For example, for many technologies the Panel could not determine the potential conversion of nitrogen from one form to another (i.e., conversion between organic nitrogen, nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, ammonia, nitrous oxide, and nitrogen gas).  Without knowing the chemical transformations associated with a technology, it is difficult or impossible to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the technology.

The Panel found few technologies for which submitted documentation addressed all the constituents of concern in manure or addressed the potential cross-media impacts.  For example: anaerobic digestion converts organic carbon to carbon dioxide and methane, but does not treat salts, and leaves ammonium and organic nitrogen in the liquid fraction.  Likewise, composting can stabilize organic matter, but may emit ammonia, volatile organic compounds, and nitrous oxide that impact air quality.  Vendors need to assess how their technology affects all constituents of concern and impacts to all media.

The first review panel chose to use the following categories:  

 

·              Thermal Conversion (including Combustion and Gasification)

·              Solid-Liquid Separation (including Dehydration) Composting

·              Anaerobic Digestion

·              Aeration

·              Nitrification/denitrification Systems

·              Covers for Lagoons, Manure Storage, and Compost

·              Microbial Cultures, Enzymes, and Other Additives

·              Feed Management

·              Other

Notes:

Submission of Technology Review Request Forms is voluntary. No company or individual is required to submit information. However, the Panel will not review technologies for which we have no information. If you want your technology to be reviewed by the Panel, you must submit the requested information.  The Panel strongly encourages technology providers to submit clear explanations of their products, and to include data that support their claims for environmental and economic performance. Brochures and anecdotal testimonials will not be evaluated.

Each technology will be evaluated for its impact on air, soil, and water resources; by-products, development status, economic performance, and quality of supporting data.

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Most recent update: February 12, 2008