Design of Alternatives to Treat Dairy Milkhouse Washwater

Natural Resources Conservation Service

NRCS Team: Sarah Armstrong, Kristyn Hall, Stephanie Anderson, Marni Mallari

2008-2009: In collaboration with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, this student team developed designs for treating milkhouse washwater at two small dairy farms in Colrain, MA.  Milkhouse washwater is generated as part of the normal cleaning of milking parlors, milk pipelines, and storage tanks.  Managing and properly disposing of milkhouse washwater is a particular challenge for small dairy farms who cannot support an integrated manure and washwater storage system.

The team conducted topographic surveys, collected soil data, and analyzed the washwater the farms generated.  The team then identified multiple treatment options and evaluated their potential for both of the farms.  Based on analysis of both feasibility and cost, the team selected and developed one design option for each farm: an aerobic treatment system with a soil infiltration area for one farm, and a mound filtration system for the other farm.  For each farm, the team prepared construction drawings, construction specifications, construction inspection plans, operation and maintenance plans, and a detailed cost estimate of the final design.

NRCS will work with the farmers, the Department of Agricultural Resources, and the Department of Environmental Protection to implement the designs.  Subsequent groundwater sampling can demonstrate the treatment designs’ effectiveness in Massachusetts, enabling other small dairy farms to pursue similar treatment options.