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Whey and Sewage Processing on an Organic Farm

The Company

Inagh Farmhouse Cheese is a well established, leading organic goat’s cheese manufacturer based in Munster. They have invested in state-of-the-art cheese rooms and market their products in both Ireland and the UK.

The Question

The Waste Management Act of 1996 addresses the disposal of farm waste including animal slurry and by-products of the food production process. Cheese whey is a liquid waste product of the cheese making process. It has the potential to cause serious environmental pollution if not properly treated before disposal. To properly manage the organic waste from the goat farm and the cheese-making process, Inagh Farmhouse Cheese Ltd. wished to convert it into a form that is permissible for disposal by land-spreading.

Solution through Shannon ABC

Bio-processing can be used to convert waste material into hygienic, relatively stable products that have the added-value that they can be used as fertilisers. There are currently many different systems available for use in bio-processing of farm waste, including composting, anaerobic treatments and aerobic systems. The company invested in an Aerobic and Agitation System for the bio-conversion of the combined whey and animal slurry waste. It was important to assess the efficiency of the bioprocessing of this waste in order for the company to maintain its organic status. Shannon ABC conducted a monitoring and processing protocol over a five day period. This entailed optimisation of the system operation, sampling of waste streams, interpretation of analytical results and generation of a report outlining the outcomes of the research supported by legislative requirements. As a result of this work, the company have an optimised energy efficient process for waste stream processing with acceptable organic classification and a product with the potential to be exploited as an organic fertiliser. This has given the company the confidence that they have made the correct investment in a waste processing system which can be operated efficiently and appropriately. Successful operation of the system means that the company is effectively managing its waste and continues to operate within the organic guidelines.

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