Drinking green: Turning manure into water

U.S. & World

(KING) Being a dairy farmer is dirty work, but Galen Smith knows to make the most of it.

“We take what Mother Nature gives us,” he says.

What Mother Nature gives Smith’s Coldstream Farm in Whatcom County, Washington is about 60,000 gallons of manure a day.

Combine that with all the rain they get, and you’ve got toxic soup that farmers are required by law to store, so it doesn’t contaminate nearby waterways.

“Before, we would capture and have to store all those gallons,” Smith said. “Now, we’re putting it back to where Mother Nature intended it to be.”

The farm is doing that with a new filtration machine, the first of its kind being used in Washington state.

Manure enters the system and in a matter of minutes the machine, developed by Regenis, turns the fetid brown muck into clean water that the cows can actually drink.

With just a bit more filtration, people could drink it, too, but the ultimate destination for this water is the local salmon stream.

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