The BOD load of livestock excreta is equivalent to 90 times that of domestic sewage. It substantially impacts water quality when discharged directly into water bodies. Previous policy focused on preventing water pollution by livestock excreta and it required the sanitation of the livestock excreta before discharge. The paradigm has shifted, however, towards transforming livestock excreta into resources such as compost or liquid fertilizer or converting it into biogas, a renewable energy source.

As of the end of 2013, 16.459 million animals are being raised in 138,000 stock farms. In contrast to the modest increase in livestock numbers, there has been a noticeable decrease in the number of stock farms, which has resulted in the specialization and corporatization of farms. The key species (native and beef cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, and chickens) produce 126,264m3 of excreta per day, with 50,551m3 per day from pigs, 39,977m3 per day from native and beef cattle, 15,985m3 per day from dairy cattle, and 19,751m3 per day from chickens. Pig farms account for the highest amount of livestock excreta at approximately 40%.

The “Act on the Management and Use of Livestock Excreta” requires medium to large animal facilities to construct the livestock excreta treatment facilities and observe effluent standards. Since 1991, the government has been subsidizing the construction and operation of public livestock excreta treatment facilities of local governments in order to reduce the burden of stock farms and improve water quality. The “Comprehensive Plan on Advancement of Livestock Excreta Management” was formulated in 2012, and the excessively loose effluent standards was substantially tightened.

As of 2012, only about 11% of total livestock excreta are sanitized and 89% is used as fertilizer after being processed by self-composting facilities. All cattle and chicken excreta are composted by individual farms. In a viewpoint of the energy production, the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Korea Energy Management Corporation, and private companies are operating a total of seven livestock excreta energy production facilities (biogas plants) as of 2013. The Ministry of Environment completed the construction of one biogas plant in December 2013 and is constructing seven more facilities.

The government plans to further increase biogas production from livestock excreta and is revising the relevant laws and developing technologies. The government will clarify the legal grounds for the construction of biogas plants, simplify the certification and licensing procedures for the construction, and develop related technologies such as efficient treatment of digestive fluids. It is also expanding public livestock excreta treatment facilities that produce biogas and developing a variety of livestock excreta management options such as supplying local residents with both biogas and liquid fertilizer. It is testing the construction of a comprehensive resource center of livestock excreta and other organic wastes including - agricultural wastes, food wastes, sewage sludge, etc.

The government is also establishing an electronic transfer and management system of livestock excreta, in which the entire process from livestock excreta production to collection and treatment is managed by GPS and other electronic equipment. The purpose of this program is to prevent water pollution, malodors, and other environmental pollution in advance and to use the collected information in the policy making. Pig excreta and liquid fertilizer collecting, transporting, and spraying vehicles were equipped with GPS, axle weighing machines, video recorders, and mobile transmitters. The vehicles were distributed in Jeju in 2013 as a pilot project, and it resulted in excellent results. After extending the pilot project to other regions, the implementation of the electronic transfer and management system will be mandatory for pig excreta and liquid fertilizers after 2017.

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Last modified : 2017-12-12 08:38

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