Addressing the Odor Problem of Modern-Day CAFOs

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are a cornerstone for domestic food supply. CAFO operators are constantly on guard to prevent problems that could affect the integrity of animals and, by contrast, food products shipped across the country post-processing. That means dealing with problems like odoriferous gasses and the catalysts behind them before they adversely affect animals or CAFO operations.

Odor is a significant problem for CAFOs

Where there’s wastewater, there’s the potential for problematic gasses. For CAFOs, the problem extends to their wastewater infrastructure — albeit with a different gaseous composition. Where the bane of sewer infrastructure is corrosive hydrogen sulfide (H2S) gas, CAFOs battle significant methane (CH4) levels. Methane gas produced by CAFOs represents one of the most significant sources of detrimental greenhouse gasses globally.

As a product of animal waste breakdown, methane is an ever-present threat. A single CAFO can produce a staggering amount of waste — as much raw sewage as the city of Philadelphia, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Moreover, this production is continuous — animals relieve themselves around-the-clock — making it difficult to collect and remove waste before it begins the biological process of breaking down.

Often, the simplest solution for CAFO operators is to store excess manure in lagoons or pits, where aerobic bacteria quickly break it down into sludge. Unfortunately, while it separates animals from biological pathogens, it does little to control methane release and the odor that accompanies it. CAFOs can eliminate the odors that undoubtedly affect surrounding communities by leveraging microbiology to address the problem at the source. EnBiorganic’s consortia of organic microbes are proven to eliminate the toxic gases and odors that many farmers and their communities experience. The microbes also are naturally derived, organic, and sustainably sourced, making them a great option for both CAFOs and the environment.

CAFO concerns start (and end) with microbiology

The crux of CAFO methane production boils down to a single word: microbiology. From the bacteria in cattle digestive tracts to the soil microbes inherent to a CAFO operation, there’s constant microbiological activity involved in breaking down animal waste. Reducing methane — a significant byproduct of this process — necessitates intervention at a microbiological level.

For example, EnBiorganic Technologies’ EBS-Di utilizes an active-state microbiological treatment approach to eliminate odor and reduce manure solids into a complete liquid solution. Not only do EBS-Di microbes eat away at the manure; they also reduce the need for raw manure storage. Moreover, the EBS-Di utilizes low-energy technology, further reducing the environmental impact of CAFO waste management.

Beyond diminishing methane and the odor that accompanies it, microbiological treatment also produces an efficacious fertilizer. The liquid solution that remains after treatment has the same biostimulation and fertilization benefits as manure, but eliminates the risks involved with transporting and applying it to crops.

Best of all, microbiology has the potential to address other challenges in CAFO operation. For example, EnBiorganic Technologies is developing a microbiological treatment capable of creating closed-water systems within CAFOs — a direct response to the prolific environmental concerns associated with the watershed of large-scale farming. The key here is to address microbiological problems with microbiological solutions.

A greener solution to greenhouse gas reduction: Methane

For many CAFO operators, the pungent, odoriferous problem of methane is a constant reminder of the threats that accompany biologic pathogens. Animal waste and the methane it produces represent problems for animals, the environment, and operations, including:

  • Food contamination via animal waste and close-quarters pathogen spreading.
  • Air and water pollution that stem from biological pollutants and pathogens.
  • CAFO operational costs that arise from mitigating waste and pathogens.

When it comes to managing the endemic threats presented by CAFOs, operators need to address them at the biological level. This means not only reducing and managing animal waste properly, but also combatting prevalent bacterial strains within the environment. The best way to subvert these biological threats — and reduce a CAFO’s CAPEX demands in the process — is through continuous biotreatment.

Learn more about microbiological solutions for CAFOs at

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