Manure has become a sticky subject. Regulators and environmental groups have taken considerable interest in protecting surface and groundwater quality from the runoff impacts of manure from dairies.
In California?s central valley, the Water Board has new requirements for dairies that will be phased in over the next five years. There will be a manifest system for any manure sent offsite. If manure is reused onsite (applied to
agricultural fields), an elaborate calculation has to be made to determine if it is being applied in agronomic proportions (more nitrogen/nutrients not applied to lands than will be taken up by the specific crop).
Business Environmental Resource Center
From: GreenYes@no.address [mailto:GreenYes@no.address] On Behalf Of Alan Muller
Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2007 6:05 PM
Subject: [GreenYes] Re: [horse shit incineration][GreenYes] The special beauty of the FTBOA-Global Green project horse manure [horse shit incineration]
Oh, my, what a crappy idea....
As far as I know, every sustainable agricultural system in human history has relied very significantly on returning manure to the fields/gardens as nutrients....
(Well, yes, some cultures have used dung for fuel for domestic cooking. Tibet? Plains Indians?)
Larry? How about some modern incarnation of "buffalo chips?" Why use pet coal to make "charcoal" briquettes? We could convert all those gas grill users to freeze-dried, shrink-wrapped, easy-lighting equine deposits.....
It's all a matter of selling a lifestyle...
At 07:53 PM 11/11/2007 -0500, LWheeler45@no.address wrote:
Published Nov. 11, 2007 7:30 am
Ocala Star Banner
Every rose has its thorn
Nothing personifies Marion County more than its horse farms. The sight of grazing mares and foals against a backdrop of rolling pastures and moss-draped oaks creates a picture-postcard portrait of our community that is a chamber of commerce dream. It's a living dream that also happens to create thousands of jobs and pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy
each year, not to mention the visitors and sportsmen it attracts from the world over.
But, as the old proverb goes, every rose has its thorn.
The thorn, in this case, is mounds upon mounds of horse manure produced by the 50,000-plus horses that make Marion County the horse capital of the world. The county's 700-800 horse farms, in fact, produce an estimated 400,000 tons a year of the stinking stuff, about one-fourth of which the farms currently can't dispose of through existing methods. And that 100,000-ton surplus is more than an unsightly, odorous nuisance. It is an environmental hazard that pollutes our groundwater supply.
For the past decade the horse industry hereabouts has been on notice that it needed to do something about disposing of the excess manure in a environmentally responsible way. The pressure to finally do that is now intense as the county appears
ready to pass a stringent Springs Protection Act that will forbid stockpiling horse waste; enactment of the ordinance could come as early as late 2008. After much discussion and at least one failed, $2 million foray a few years back to address the manure quandary, the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association may have found a workable solution. It is a solution that proponents believe will be not only environmentally beneficial, but economically beneficial as well. All the better.
FTBOA announced earlier this month it has formed a partnership with Georgia-based Global Green Solutions, known as Florida Greensteam Equine Energy, to build an incineration plant that would burn horse "muck," the mix of manure, urine and stable bedding the farms produce. During the super-hot burning process, steam would be produced that, in turn, would generate electricity. The Florida Greensteam partners then hope to sell that
electricity to area power companies like Ocala Electric Utility and Florida Progress Energy.
FTBOA Executive Vice President Dick Hancock said the $20 million plant is expected to produce 10-12 megawatts of electricity, based on the 100,000 tons of excess horse waste. That, he said, is about enough to meet the power needs of a city the size of Williston. Hancock added that its developers believe the proposed plant could ultimately handle twice as much waste as is now planned, and the partners might approach local governments about taking on wood waste such as construction and yard debris. That could be a sorely needed relief valve for the county, in particular, as it struggles to make room at its fast-filling Baseline Landfill.
The special beauty of the FTBOA-Global Green project, at this point, is that it is not asking for on any governmental funding to move forward. Although the
partnership is applying for some state and federal alternative energy grants, it is looking to revenues from the sale of its electrical generation to pay off the two parties' investments.
As long as Marion County remains the horse capital of the world - and we pray that it does forever - there will be mountains of horse manure to contend with. Until now, it has been an accepted, if unpleasant, inconvenience and pollutant. But with protecting our diminishing groundwater supply from continuing pollution and unavoidable imperative, something had to give.
It is refreshing the FTBOA has not reneged on its long-standing pledge to find an acceptable, environmentally responsible solution to its organic pollution problem. At the same time, we understand this is a new and largely untested technology that may take time to get the kinks out of completely. Unfortunately, time isn't something the horse industry or our groundwater supply, and
particularly our precious springs, have in any semblance of abundance.
Every rose has its thorn, but if the FTBOA plan works, maybe our rose will smell just a little bit sweeter and our water will be little bit cleaner.