Livestock and Poultry Manure Contaminants and Raw Water Quality

Although the topic of agricultural waste has been discussed earlier in other chapters and referred to in this chapter, it needs further discussion here. The potential problems created by this type of disposal are significant and can have a profound effect on the raw water which is going to be used at the water treatment plant as its source of supply. Since the 1950s until current times, the production of livestock and poultry, especially in concentrated areas, has increased by 80% and with it has created an extremely large problem of disposal of fecal material and bedding. It is estimated that the 2.2 billion head of livestock and poultry produced about 1.1 billion tons of manure in 2007. The livestock and poultry not only create a massive nutrient problem but also produce large numbers of microorganisms which can cause disease in people. These organisms include Escherichia coli 0157:H7, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, and numerous viruses including rotaviruses. There has also been an extremely large increase in antimicrobial use, which in turn can result in antimicrobial resistance in animals and people. Hormones are produced naturally and are also given to the livestock and poultry to improve meat quality, promote animal growth, and increase milk production. These hormones and their byproducts may be found in their fecal material in very large quantities.

Manure must not get into the raw water by means of runoff from rain, spills, problems with storage lagoons, equipment failures, and improper application of the manure to land for disposal. Pathogens can contaminate food during meat and milk processing.

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