Manure, Oh Crap! And a lot of it! Yep, when you live in horse country along with those gorgeous animals comes a lot of manure!
During Wellington Florida's Equestrian high peak seasons there are over 9,000 horses here and those 9,000 horses produce about 3,000 cubic yards of manure PER DAY!
Now that's a lot of manure!
Since the inception of Wellington Florida this has been an issue and a concern. Wellington Florida is near the Florida Everglades. This makes the manure situation much more complicated. There are other Equestrian areas around the country that compost their manure. That was not accepted here. In fact, the horse owners have to ship the manure out of Wellington because you are not allowed to compost in Wellington. I wrote a post about the issues of composting and where does this manure go, you can click here to find out more about the manure issues here in Wellington Florida.
Even if composting became an alternative it still would not solve the problem because after composting you are still left with 1/3 of waste that is super nasty smelling and causes pollution from ammonia, carbon monoxide and nitrogen sulphide. No one wants to live next to something that smells like that! So then they would have to drive the manure to a plant that would compost this crap and that is not cost effective at the price of gas to haul it there. It is not an easy project to compost manure either; you must separate all the shavings and one horse requires 19 feet of digestive volume.
You can not let the manure hang around and you can not compost it here because the water that is used for composting is drained into the Florida Everglades. Not a good thing! The horse manure has a lot of the seeping of phosphorus. Phosphorus causes an imbalance on the natural eco system in the very fragile Florida Everglades. Therefore you can not leave the manure on the ground to get into the water run off. The state of Florida is requiring the restoration of the Florida Everglades. This is just one piece of this effort.
One alternative that came up a while back was to take the manure, burn it and turn it into electricity. This past week that proposal was presented to Wellington. Wellington Energy LLC made the proposal that it can take the manure and turn it into electricity. The CEO of Wellington Energy LLC is a vetinarean, Dr Scott Swerdlin. He says this alternative is safe, green and cost- effective. The reason he got involved with the energy company is because he owns the Palm Beach Equine Clinic that has 318 stalls. He is most likely the second largest manure producer in Wellington.
The waste to energy station would be able to take all the manure including the shavings, there would be no storage requirement, no big gas bills for hauling and no odor or leakage. There would only be one small by product of the plant and that would be a small amount (2%) potash residue which can be used as a fertilizer. The plant can be built on a small 6 acre site. The company built a similar plant to this one they proposed in Pittsburg PA.
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