Converting cow manure to clean water

Converting cow manure to clean water
A farm's filtration system turns manure into clean water. (Source: NBC)

(KAIT/NBC) - Runoff from farms has been a major source of pollution in our nation’s waters over the years but a new technology could help make farms more fish friendly.

It’s taking cow poop and converting it to clean water.

Whatcom County’s Coldstream Farm gets about 60,000 gallons of manure a day from Mother Nature.

Combine that with all of the rain that they get and you’ve got toxic soup that farmers are required by law to store, so it doesn’t contaminate nearby waterways.

They are using a filtration machine, the first of its kind in Washington.

“Before, we would capture and have to store all those gallons. Now, we’re putting it back to where Mother Nature intended it to be," said Galen Smith with Coldstream Farms.

The machine turns manure into clean water that the cows can actually drink.

With a bit more filtration, people could drink it too, but the ultimate destination for this water is the local salmon stream.

“This technology, I think while it may not be a cookie cutter for all farms, it can be a template for what is possible," Smith said.

The leftover solids are used as fertilizer.

It’s a pilot project that is funded by a million dollar state grant.

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