Thursday, February 25, 2016

“Probiotic” use of microbes for farm and garden to mimic and supplement Mother Nature



In conjunction with the MOSES Organic Farming Conference 2016, we wanted to share some notes and ideas for you about using microbes on the farm.

Even when a grower or farmer already is taking a deeply holistic and organic approach, we have found there usually are ways that supplementing with beneficial microbes can give incremental tangible benefits and incremental profits.

We like it when we can help you be better prepared for issues that are likely or that you expect, as well as the issues that pop-up unexpectedly, in terms of microbiomes getting a little out of balance. That way, you could handle those issues with more success and ease. And we can do this by mimicking what Mother Nature eventually would do if left to her own devices.

With this approach, we believe that you can realize reduction in odors, better overall animal health, less animal mortality, and a higher quality environment (soil, water and air)… all indicators of a better-balanced local ecosystem. In the process, our intent for you is to also realize the additional tangible benefits of less maintenance costs, increased production and vitality, less time spent on issues and more time for beneficial tasks.

For the Animals:

Chick brooder house
Baby chicks can be highly sensitive to improved habitat, and thrive accordingly. Ammonia odors can be dramatically reduced, mortality rates significantly reduced, and the speed and weight of grow-out significantly improved.Before receiving the baby chicks, the archaea microbes can be added to the litter throughout the brooder house. Or if you already have the chicks and notice ammonia odors, temporarily remove the chicks from the area for easiest application or boosting prior treatments. Because baby chicks are less tolerant of imbalances in their environment, we know the microbes can be exceptionally helpful in this area of operation. 

   
Mortality rates decreased by ~50% in this side-by-side controlled experiment case study: http://akayagreen.blogspot.com/2015/12/high-ammonia-levels-poor-air-quality.html

Hens/Roosters/Turkeys overwintering
Before placing the poultry inside for the winter months, the archaea microbes can be added to the litter to prevent ecosystem imbalance/overload, as indicated by the subsequent odors. Microbes could then be added as needed if odors subsequently build up. You would be looking for a decrease in ammonia odor and the need for less frequent carbon lay downs. Also, over time, there can be collateral benefits from the added beneficial microbes, such as an improvement in egg production, less picking on each other, general overall health improvement, etc.

Ducks & Geese overwintering
Since ducks and geese don’t scratch in the same way as chickens, there is less aeration and their area gets mucky. The ‘bad’ microbes start to win out and the odors and ammonia build up. Our microbes can be added to regularly boost beneficial microbial activity during this time.

Pig sheds
The toilet area for the pigs can be treated directly 2-3x per week. The microbes will significantly boost the processing of the waste and ammonia, and a small enough amount can make a noticeable improvement in the odors such that it can be worth it for pigs and people both.  The financial benefit is admittedly more difficult to measure here, and the cost of the microbes vs. measurable benefits to the pigs’ health and quality of environment would have to be determined.

Around the farm:

Wastewater Lagoons
Wastewater and effluent lagoons can be inoculated with the microbes to boost odor elimination and break-down of organics, especially during times/seasons of high use or in the summer when higher temperatures can increase pathogenic microbial activity. The archaea will also take up residence in the slime and muck within the hosing and pump equipment, helping to keep it clear and odor-free. 

Soil remediation, restoration and regeneration
Applications can vary widely here, given the variables. We are happy to discuss with you in more detail, to see if the microbes are an appropriate tool in your situation, and if so to tailor the dosages to the context.

Offal compost
The microbes could help prevent odors here if needed, such as when visitors are expected on your property.

Fuel spills and drips
We recommend keeping small 6 oz shaker bottles of the microbes on hand for diesel, gasoline and other fuel and lubricating oil drips and spills from equipment and around pump/fill stations.

Septic tanks
Our microbe consortium thrives in the challenging and harsh conditions of septic systems. Simply flush a cup down the toilet once every 3 or 4 months (or divide it among multiple toilets that feed to the same septic system). Some powder may stick to the bowl, but should get carried away by the next couple of flushes; or if you want to avoid powder sticking to the bowl, you can mix the microbes in a jar of water before flushing them.

Kitchen drains and drain lines
The microbes love FOG (fats, oils & greases) and you can rinse a teaspoon down the kitchen sink twice a month to colonize and help clean out drain lines.

Water:

Water troughs in coops (or any water troughs that have similar issues)
If green algae is forming, or a white slimy-type substance that builds up in the watering troughs in the coops, the microbes can be added to prevent this build-up – directly to the troughs, and/or into the gravity feed buckets as long as the nipples aren’t clogged by the carrier in our formula. 

Ponds, Lakes or Irrigation Lagoons
Cloudy water is often a sign of nutrient overload and can be a pre-cursor of algae. Our microbe formula rebalances the excess nutrient load toward the goal of preventing toxic algae blooms.

Streams or Rivers
Do you ever have regulatory issues from manure run-off? If so, the microbes could be used to decrease organic content and E. coli and fecal coliform counts in surface waters.

Our blog has a brief write-up of a pertinent case study where a zoo worked with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to address and remediate an E. coli and fecal coliform runoff problem easily and cost-effectively: http://akayagreen.blogspot.com/2015/12/e.html  

Summary

Basically, there are a couple of primary categories where we have demonstrated results with our archaea-based consortium of beneficial microbes:

a) As a preventative to boost beneficial microbial activity during times when imbalance is likely or predicted.

Examples:
1.      in the brooder house litter just prior to new chicks being brought in
2.      applying microbes preventively in hoop house environments at the beginning of the winter months when the poultry and/or animals will be kept together in close quarters
3.      in the wastewater lagoon during processing when it’s receiving larger quantities of organic influent

b) As a treatment to boost beneficial microbial activity when issues pop-up as a result of an unpredicted imbalance. The microbes can be applied as a treatment to areas that develop an issue, often evidenced by odor build-up. By using odors as a gauge for an ecosystem out of balance, the microbes can be applied to restore balance and provide the animals with a healthier, higher quality environment.

There are many variations of beneficial microbe products on the market but none have the hearty, broad-spectrum, thorough, and effective activity that Akaya’s archaea consortium has. With more than 100 species, including aerobic, anaerobic and facultative anaerobic species, it’s been studied (including two peer-reviewed studies), it’s been tested, it’s been used for decades in all sorts of environments, and it's been approved for use; it’s listed on the EPA’s National Contingency Plan Product Schedule (NCPPS) for bioremediation products - only 12 products have been approved for that list. 

Archaea were thought to be bacteria by scientists until the late 1970's, when it was discovered that there are significant differences, and thus an entire new Third Domain was formed. Compared to bacteria, enzymes and fungi, which are the much more common bioremediation tools, the archaea are much more broad-spectrum and hardy. Archaea tolerate a wide range of temperature, pH, salinity and oxygenation.

All of Akaya’s products are safe for use around your co-workers, flora and fauna, aquatic and on land. They are non-pathogenic, non-GMO,  and 100% naturally cultivated. And it’s proven. We know it works.

Nature figured it out billions of years ago. Applying this knowledge to a wide variety of industrial and environmental settings just makes sense.



- A lifelong sailor and water lover, Kevin Mirise lives and works on the coast in Cohasset, near Boston, MA. He’s a Director at a bioremediation and biorestoration company that uses beneficial microbes to naturally eliminate contaminants from water and soil.  He's also a treatment-free bee steward and a micro-farmer if you count the raised beds and pastured girls.

                                                                                       
Keys: #MOSES2016, Water Quality, Wastewater Treatment, Livestock, Agriculture, Equestrian, Poultry, #Riverkeeper, #Waterkeeper, #Baykeeper, #Waterquality, #Cleanwater, Waste water


Friday, February 5, 2016

'Meet the Microbes' Tour: Akaya Virginia & Pennsylvania visits

We’ll be talking microbes with some farmers and wastewater treatment folks next week— the week of February 8 — in the Virginia and Pennsylvania area. Maybe oil spill response folks, too, if we can connect on any of the recent spills that have occurred.
  • Have you had odors that were a nuisance or a health risk and wished there was a more natural solution that didn’t cause unintended consequences like some of the expensive chemical approaches?
  • Are you a sewer treatment plant operator or manager of industrial waste for a plant and who has had FOG issues, out-of-range wastewater effluent or excessive sludge disposal costs in the past? Or had the nagging concern that there were residuals remaining and think there’s more you could have done?
  • Are you a safety/compliance manager at a fracking, drilling or petroleum company and want to know more about the least expensive and thorough clean-up in situ of spills small or large?
  • Are you a Riverkeeper or other environmental steward interested in learning more about the possibilities of using natural, EPA-approved bioaugementation to more deeply and completely remediate persistent pollution in hard-to-treat areas or ecologically sensitive wetlands without harming flora or fauna, aquatic or on land?
  • Are you a farmer, animal sanctuary steward or equestrian center interested in how the microbes can inexpensively improve animal welfare and deliver a net-cost-savings at the same time?
  • Or maybe you are simply intrigued and curious about how microbes work, or how a more biological approach could work for your business?

In any case, we’d love to talk with you about how we can solve your issues and make your operations more efficient, healthier and cheaper. Sometimes it’s difficult for people to wrap their heads around the science behind a bunch of microbes being a powerful keystone of environmental management. How can these incredibly tiny creatures that we can’t even see without powerful microscopes have so many capabilities of addressing the messes we make?

We’ve learned it’s a bit of a leap to understand how microbes can fit into one’s toolkit of approaches – which is understandable since emphasis over the past decades has been on chemical and mechanical solutions. But there is now a groundswell of research focused on biological approaches, as well as enough practical field applications that we and others have proven that it works. Our microbe consortium can either replace chemical and mechanical approaches completely, or work with them to enhance likelihood of a complete recovery, and restoration to a more sustainable balanced condition. 

Clearly, in some cases microbes are not appropriate to use at all, and we will be quick to tell you that if that’s what we think. But whatever the case, our goal is to let everyone know there is a now a more complete set of choices available to meet your goals – more tools in the toolkit than most people know. Our expertise is focused on getting to the root of a solution for the benefit of your business and your daily work, as well as the greater community and environment.

Sometimes it’s easier to discuss it in person, over a coffee, with some sketches and conversation rooted in the details of your unique issues. As we like to say, nature figured it out billions of years ago. Applying this knowledge to a wide variety of industrial and environmental settings just makes sense. So contact us and let us know if you’d like to talk microbes and solutions?

That’s us applying microbes to difficult-to-treat marsh grass and mudflats after some of the heavy oil was removed from the adjacent river and mudflats by mechanical means. A perfect example of how we work with multiple methods to enable the most thorough and complete recovery.



Example verticals where our microbes have been used successfully:
  • Sewage treatment (several different areas of use within this, including lift stations, collection systems, plant process and efficiency improvements, and crisis solutions such as ammonia spikes, FOG caps and fracking fluid contamination)
  • Food processing waste treatment and wastewater treatment
  • Industrial wastewater treatment
  • Petroleum spill cleanup
  • Soil and water environmental remediation and cleanup
  • Agricultural amendments for improving soil quality and fertility
  • Marine shipping oily-bilge water and ballast water
  • Septic systems and dry wells
  • Sewage holding tanks on ships, boats and recreational vehicles
  • Agricultural runoff remediation (excess nitrogen, phosphorous, etc)
  • Algae prevention in lakes, fish ponds and irrigation lagoons and golf courses
  • Farms, zoos, and equestrian centers for animal habitats and bedding, effluent ponds and waste treatment

Nature figured it out billions of years ago. Applying this knowledge to a wide variety of industrial and environmental settings just makes sense.


Keys: Wastewater Treatment Plant, Waste Water Treatment Plant, Sewage Treatment Plant, Agriculture, Wastewater Lagoons, Waste Lagoons, Sewer Collection Systems, Wastewater Collection Infrastructure, Utility Infrastructure, Biological Wastewater Treatment Products, Beneficial Microorganisms, Beneficial Microbes, COD Reduction, Wastewater Treatment Odors, Bioaugmentation

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ammonia spike in the STP or WWTP?


Ammonia spike in the STP / WWTP?
Recently, a plant supervisor called us about a major ammonia spike in their sewage treatment plant. This client has been using the microbes successfully for a few years for their lift stations. They used to have a big problem with FOG accumulation, and now they rarely need pump-outs and have not needed full cleanouts since they started with us. But unrelated to the lift stations, they suddenly were experiencing a huge spike in ammonia levels in the plant for unknown reasons.

The client was quite happy to learn that the same archaea-based microbe formula thrives on ammonia, and would bring the ammonia levels down rapidly and get the process back in parameters. A cheap, fast and easy solution to what could have been a much bigger problem.

Our biological wastewater treatment formulas are archaea-based, which means they are effective at far colder temperatures than most bacteria-based products. As a quick trivia sidenote, archaea have been found quite happily living deep in permanently frozen Antarctic ice.

The archaea-based consortium very effectively controls odors, eliminates FOG accumulation in collection infrastructure, reduces H2S build-up, and enhances (rather than disrupts) the efficiency of downstream treatment systems and processes. Basically, nature figured it out billions of years ago. Applying this knowledge to a wide variety of industrial and environmental settings just makes sense.

If you have a question about whether Akaya's biological wastewater treatment products might be helpful for you, please give us a call or email.


- A lifelong sailor and water lover, Kevin Mirise lives and works on the coast in Cohasset, near Boston, MA. He’s a Director at Akaya, a bioremediation and biorestoration company that uses beneficial microbes to treat wastewater and naturally eliminate toxic contamination from water and soil. 

Keys: Wastewater Treatment Plant, Waste Water Treatment Plant, Sewage Treatment Plant, Agriculture, Wastewater Lagoons, Waste Lagoons, Sewer Collection Systems, Wastewater Collection Infrastructure, Utility Infrastructure, Biological Wastewater Treatment Products, Beneficial Microorganisms, Beneficial Microbes, COD Reduction, Wastewater Treatment Odors, Bioaugmentation

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

“What is the best disinfectant and odor suppressant for a sewage system?” someone asked




May we start by saying that “disinfecting” a sewer system can be extremely counterproductive, and can actually result in far more severe odor problems. A properly designed and functioning sewage system should not smell, and there are products you can use to supplement and improve the performance of your system.

The primary source of odors typically is hydrogen sulphide – that “rotten egg” raw sewage smell – and one way to dramatically reduce or eliminate that is by actively boosting the beneficial microbe activity. The best way to do that depends on the type of sewage system (e.g. septic tanks and fields, cesspools, municipal collection systems, ship or boat or camper holding tanks, etc.) It also is important to note that corrosion rates on the equipment and system are likely to be much more damaging when hydrogen sulfide is allowed to build up. So the odor is just part of the harmful side-effects of a poorly performing sewage system.

For example, for a sewer access point (a “manhole” for example) where a noticeable smell is noxious, a system maintenance worker can spray a “probiotic” solution of microbes into the hole, and the smell should almost instantly dissipate. The microbes attach to airborne molecules, to the walls and surfaces where waste has accumulated, and onto the surface of the solid and liquid waste in the sewer or cesspool. The microbes break down and metabolize the waste at the molecular level, converting it to benign byproducts that don’t have the bad odour.

Fats, oils and grease (FOG) and other solidified waste will take a longer time to remediate, as will a larger volume of liquid waste, but once the microbial colony is established, it can continue to work for weeks or months as long as the basic requirements are met (water, a “food” source, and other environmental conditions suitable for the microbes).

A homeowner can safely do the same thing (probiotic additive) on their own system and property, since at least some products marketed are safe for use around people, plants and animals, such as the archaea-based formula that Akaya uses. Akaya’s beneficial microbe products come in bulk powder form, as well as in tablet form for easy use in septic tanks, toilets and sinks. The microbes “eat” the kitchen fats and grease that accumulate in drain lines and pipes, and the sewage waste that can accumulate over time in waste pipes, instead of simply moving chunks of it downstream to the sewage collection system.

Most types of sewage treatment systems exist for the purpose of breaking down waste at the molecular level, so using a disinfectant would be counterproductive, and would disrupt or stop the beneficial microbial activity that you want happening. A disinfectant can be appropriate to use on exposed toilet surfaces, and other places sewage has splashed or spilled, but you wouldn’t want to dump a gallon of chlorine down your toilet thinking your sewage collection system is going to smell better.

For similar reasons, more wastewater treatment professionals and sewage treatment plant operators are realizing that there are very harmful side-effects and “collateral damage” that comes with using conventional chemical treatments such as hydrogen peroxide, which kills all microbial activity, good and bad. Chemical products that break up or emulsify fats, oils and grease are simply moving the problem further downstream, which can still be a problem if the same person needs to deal with it solidifying somewhere else. Solving the problem at the source can be much preferred to simply moving the problem, especially if you are still responsible for the “somewhere else”.

And the default conventional response of dumping in chemicals also can be quite expensive, whereas plant operators can enjoy a significant net cost savings from using the archaea-based formula, due to the collateral benefits of improved plant processes and effluent quality, and decreased electricity and sludge hauling costs. Homeowners enjoy a net cost savings by having fewer maintenance problems, and a longer time between pump-outs being necessary.

Clearly I work for Akaya, but there are innumerable “green” bioremediation products available from other manufacturers, including bacteria, enzyme and fungi-based products. Akaya primarily works with an archaea-based consortium of more than 100 types of beneficial microbes that are 100% non-GMO, and over decades of use have been demonstrated to be non-pathogenic and safe for use around people, plants and animals, both aquatic and on land.

Additional case study examples and specifics are outlined in other summaries on this blog; and FAQs and more information is available on our website: www.akaya.green.

Basically, nature figured it out billions of years ago. Applying this knowledge to a wide variety of industrial and environmental settings just makes sense.


- A lifelong sailor and water lover, Kevin Mirise lives and works on the coast in Cohasset, near Boston, MA. He’s a Director at a bioremediation and biorestoration company that uses beneficial microbes to naturally eliminate contaminants from water and soil.