Thursday, July 11, 2013

Changhua County turns pig waste into green gold


Pig slurry has traditionally been a major environmental concern for locals, but the problem can be solved by recycling the waste into clean water, organic fertilizer and biogas for power generation, Changhua County Government said June 25.

“Pig slurry can be turned into green gold,” Changhua County Magistrate Cho Po-yuan said at the launch of the Dongluo treatment plant. “This is the first facility fully funded by a local government to help pig farmers reduce costs and save efforts in handling the waste.”

Changhua has the country’s third highest number of hogs, and around 90 percent of pig raisers are small or medium operations of below 5,000 hogs. Without sufficient funds to build their own treatment facilities, they used to discharge the waste directly into the Dongluo River, creating a serious environmental problem plaguing the locals.

To find the solutions, Cho led a fact-finding mission to Europe in 2011, and subsequently cooperated with Taipei-based National Taiwan University and the Taiwan International Institute for Water Education in creating a treatment facility to turn the waste into useful resources.

Henk van Shaik, chairman of the U.N.- affiliated Co-operative Program on Water and Climate, who came to examine progress on the project, praised the cause prompting the local government to implement the plan. “Changhua will become even more beautiful,” he said.

Located next to the Dongluo River, the processing plant separates the pig slurry into solid, liquid and gaseous components. After treatment, the solid waste becomes organic fertilizer for use on farms, the biogas is stored for electricity generation to power the plant and nearby public facilities, and the liquid is filtered and purified to produce water pure enough for use in irrigation or cleaning.