Animal Waste Lagoons

Question: In North Carolina, we’ve heard a lot of alarming news about hog waste lagoons and their impact on the environment. How can BTL’s liners help mitigate the problem?

Answer: Where there are animals, there is animal waste. As the growth of industrial farming concentrates thousands of animals such as pigs, chickens or cows on increasingly fewer farms, it produces massive amounts of waste on relatively small plots of land. One dairy farm with 2,500 cows produces as much waste as a city with approximately 411,000 residents! While a problem of this nature and scale sounds almost comical, pollution from such livestock farms seriously threatens both water and air quality.

Disposal or even productive use of animal waste becomes a problem when it is extremely concentrated in such small areas. Manure is usually stored for many months as it decomposes, often in giant outdoor pits known as lagoons. However, these lagoons can leak or rupture, polluting surrounding soil and water systems. One study conducted by North Carolina State University in 1995 estimated that as many as 55% of the manure lagoons on NC hog farms were leaking and causing contamination to groundwater—unfortunately, most residents in these areas depend on private wells for their drinking water.

Concerns about manure seepage from self-sealing lagoons and even clay-lined lagoons are increasing the demand for synthetic membrane liners. These liners, widely used in other containment applications, are now being installed in addition to, or as an alternative to, clay liners in some hog farm lagoons. Digestion of the organic matter contained in the waste water, as well as the unacceptable odors caused by the products of decomposition, can also be controlled by the use of floating covers manufactured from the same or similar membranes as the containment liner.

Synthetic membrane liners offer the advantages of dependable containment with low permeability, long life expectancy, fast installation and easy maintenance. The ideal product for an animal waste lagoon is our flagship BTL™-40, a 40 mil reinforced polyethylene. For more information about BTL 40, and to view a spec sheet, click BTL-40Spec612 or call us at 800-280-0712.

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