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EPA awards $70,000 to Northern Marianas College

Release Date: 9/25/2003
Contact Information: Dean Higuchi, (808) 541-2711, Pat Young (415) 972-3775

Alternative livestock waste management to be the focus of grant funds

HONOLULU The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $70,000 grant to Northern Marianas College to develop an alternative waste management systems for piggeries.

The project, run by the college's Cooperative Research Extension and Education Service will demonstrate sustainable pig waste management systems by using a dry litter waste system and a portable pen system as affordable and practical ways to manage piggery waste and prevent water pollution.

"The techniques demonstrated in this project will provide an example to the Pacific area farmers on the innovative ways to manage piggery waste," said John McCarroll, manager of the EPA Pacific Southwest Region's Pacific Islands Office. "These dry litter waste management methods are not only affordable, but they will prevent livestock waste from adding to water pollution, and in the process protect coral reefs."

Selected farms will be using coconut husks, grass, shredded paper or wood chips as the dry litter in their pig pens. The farms will compost the used litter waste, using the compost on crops and garden plants. The portable pen system involves raising pigs in pens located in fields and then moving the pens around periodically. The animals' movements in the pens will mix their wastes directly into the soil.

The benefits from the project will be:

-the elimination of water to remove waste from pig farms, reducing the threat of polluting surface or ground waters;
-the reduction of the amount of freshwater used by piggery operations;
-improved odor control at pig farms;
-facilitating the adoption of the innovative techniques on existing farms;
-the reduction of microbial water pollutants;
-protection of coral reefs by preventing water pollution.

The first phase of the project will be conducted on CNMI and Guam. Phase two will take the project to Palau and the Federated State of Micronesia. Outreach materials will be produced and distributed to other islands with similar pig waste problems.

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