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Using vermiwash to enhance performance of small-scale vermifiltration for swine farm wastewater

Abstract

Pollution caused by swine wastewater is a growing concern in many countries. In the developing countries, swine wastewater is not properly collected and treated, the wastewater from swine farm pollutes the ecosystem. Especially for small swine farms, they could not afford to have wastewater treatment system. Therefore, farmers need cheap, sustainable technology for future mixed farming. Vermifiltration by earthworm has been introduced to be an answer for enhancing wastewater treatment. Vermiwash is the liquid gathered from vermicomposting that has high microbial activities and nutrients. This study was carried out on a small pilot scale to investigate swine wastewater treatment efficiency of vermifiltration system with and without vermiwash and compared with the geofiltration system. Vermiwash was incubated in vermifiltration and geofiltration systems for 1 week before the treatment. The result showed improved efficiency of vermifiltration incubated with vermiwash in swine wastewater treatment for biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solids (TSS) removal, which was highest followed by vermifiltration without incubated vermiwash, geofilter incubated with vermiwash and geofilter, respectively. Good performance of vermifiltration incubated with vermiwash compared with the geofilter treatment was demonstrated for removal of BOD (91.29 ± 9.89%, n = 10), COD (91.42 ± 6.34%, n = 10) and TSS (86.02 ± 10.45%, n = 10). Furthermore, the burrowing activity of the test earthworm (Eisenia fetida) promoted the aeration condition in vermifilter which led to more dissolved oxygen (DO) in effluent (61.28 ± 20.05%, n = 10). Moreover, the amount of copper (Cu) in effluent was decreased compared with influent by up to 88% in all treatment. After 10 weeks of the experiment, the vermicompost that was incubated with vermiwash and produced from earthworm on the top layer was analyzed and showed that nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus) and soil organic carbon were increased with vermifilter treatment (47.65, 81.61 and 31.79%, respectively) compared with geofilter treatment. In addition, bioavailability of Cu in soil in form of exchangeable Cu was decreased by increasing the bound to organic matter fraction. Transformation of Cu during vermifiltration happened and alleviated the mobility and availability of Cu. Copper in exchangeable form can change into non-toxic form. Therefore, vermifiltration process incubated with vermiwash could reduce the dispersion of copper in swine waste. In conclusion, vermiwash could enhance performance of vermifiltration for swine farm wastewater treatment. The available fraction of copper in vermicompost produced from vermifiltration decreased. Therefore, the farmer could produce vermicompost as the biofertilizer for agricultural production. Using vermifiltration for wastewater treatment in small swine farm could be the eco-solution for nutrient recovery, water resource recycles and minimize pollution.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the Integrated Land and Water Resources Management Research and Development Center in Northeast Thailand, Khon Kaen University, Thailand, and the Research Developing and Learning Center on Earthworm for Agriculture and Environment, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University, for providing facility and earthworm. The authors would like to thank Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Bangkok (JCC), and the 2020 Graduate Development Scholarship, offered by the National Research Council of Thailand, for providing financial support for the study.

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Mungruaiklang, N., Iwai, C.B. Using vermiwash to enhance performance of small-scale vermifiltration for swine farm wastewater. Environ Geochem Health 43, 3323–3341 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10653-021-00816-2

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Keywords

  • Vermifiltration
  • Swine farm
  • Wastewater
  • Vermiwash
  • Copper
  • Biofertilizer