Washington spreads money for clean manure projects

Washington State University research scientist Joe Harrison pours struvite, a phosphate fertilizer, into his hand in 2016 in his Puyallup office. Harrison has received a state grant to further develop a mobile struvite maker.

Five projects to purify manure at Washington dairies have received public funding, including one that involves engineer Peter Janicki, who told state lawmakers last year that removing all contaminants from livestock waste was possible and could even be profitable.

Janicki’s company, Janicki Bioenergy in Sedro-Woolley, and its tribal and public-sector partners will receive $1.75 million of the $3.88 million awarded by the Washington State Conservation Commission. Janicki, according to the proposal, will install a plant to turn manure from a 2,000-cow dairy in Snohomish County into organic fertilizer, liquid ammonia and water clean enough for cattle to drink.

Stanley Janicki, vice for president for business development and the founder’s son, said Tuesday he expected the manure-treatment equipment to be operating by next summer at Natural Milk dairy, owned by Jeremy Visser.

“He’s going to become a zero-discharge dairy,” Stanley Janicki said. “If he can be a zero-discharge dairy, environmental concerns disappear.”

Peter Janicki’s presentation to legislative committees in Olympia in 2017 raised interest in funding projects to decontaminate manure. Lawmakers put money in the capital budget this year.

Janicki is collaborating with the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, the Snohomish Conservation District and Washington State University, as well as Visser. The $4.67 million project last year received a $1 million grant the USDA, $283,000 from the state Commerce Department and $250,000 from the Dairy Farmers of Washington.

Visser, who owns four dairies in Snohmish County, will contribute more than $1.3 million in cash, materials and fuel, according to the proposal.

Visser said Monday that he’s optimistic the project will succeed. “The sooner we get going the better, as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “If we don’t slice bread, people will be disappointed. I know I will be.”

Snohomish Conservation District natural resources planner Brett de Vries said that organizers still need a building permit from Snohomish County.

“I have great hope and confidence it’s going to be a complete game-changer for ag in Snohomish County,” de Vries said.

WSU will evaluate the results.

Peter Janicki grabbed lawmakers’ attention with his work supported by Bill Gates to convert human waste into drinkable water and electricity in poor countries. According to the proposal submitted to the conservation commission, Janicki’s goal is to get the cost of building a livestock manure processor down to $750,000 for a 1,000-cow dairy.

Four other projects received smaller amounts of money.

• $930,305 to convert manure into fertilizer and clean water at Coldstream Farms in Deming in Whatcom County. Regenis, a Whatcom County anaerobic digester construction company, will install the equipment to treat one-third of the dairy’s manure. The Nooksack Indian Tribe endorsed the project for its potential to put more water in the Nooksack River for fish.

• $762,900 to treat manure wastewater at Castle Grove Dairy in Wapato on the Yakama Indian Reservation. Organix Inc. of Walla Walla will install filtering equipment developed by a Chilean company, BioFiltro. WSU will monitor water quality and odors. Organix installed the system at Royal Dairy in Royal City, Wash., last year.

• $250,000 to remove nitrogen from manure at George DeRuyer & Son Dairy in Yakima County. DVO Inc., an engineering company in Chilton, Wisc., is the co-applicant. The dairy will contribute $385,000 to the project.

• $186,795 for a mobile-struvite maker developed by Washington State University-Puyallup scientist Joe Harrison. The machinery was manufactured last year with a USDA grant. It extracts phosphorous from manure to make struvite, a phosphate fertilizer for forage crops.

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