When trucks arrive at our facility carrying septage or organic commercial waste (from grease traps or other sources), they pump that material into a holding tank, where any solids or inorganic materials are filtered out. That material is then treated with lime and a variety of other chemicals to remove any harmful bacteria or other substances. It is tested throughout the process. Using a variety of proprietary technologies, any remaining organic solids are then removed from the liquid and are sent to a landfill in containers. The liquid is then moved to a final holding tank and from there is then applied via spray onto the fields at LHR Farms. The end product is tested throughout the process and is applied only at agronomically approved levels. It is typically a green color and has no odor.
Land application is a waste recycling process that uses treated wastewater as fertilizer for crops. As the volume of septic tank and commercial wastes has increased over time, local sewer systems have not been able to handle all of it. LHR Farms and other similar facilities across the state are meeting this growing demand by offering this safe alternative to “midnight dumping,” a common – and damaging – practice in the past.
Land application has recognized benefits for Georgia as articulated in the draft State Water Management Plan just adopted by the State Water Council.
To view Georgia Water Council’s State Water Management Plan, visit: http://georgiawatercouncil.org/Files_PDF/water_plan_20080109.pdf
The farm tests the effectiveness of its operations in many ways. The crops and hay are periodically tested to check for proper nutrient uptake. Sentinel wells are used to assure that pollutants do not leave the property or its buffers in groundwater. The farm currently tests water before it is land applied for final treatment. It tests for the presence of fecal coliform bacteria and nutrients to be sure that they are applied at safe and correct agronomic rates. Additionally, groundwater is tested for biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), pH, nitrogen and specific conductivity to make sure that pollutants do not contaminate groundwater.
LHR Farms is also monitored monthly by the Georgia EPD as well as an independent third party monitoring company hired by LHR Farms to double check its safety levels.