Treatment of Beef Cattle Feedlot Wastewater by Electrocoagulation Technology

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Desalination and Water Treatment


Regulatory requirements and waste management system operating practices continue to be developed to address environmental concerns regarding cattle feedlots. Cattle feedlot runoff is documented to contain substantial concentrations of salts, nutrients, pathogens, and organic matter, which all present potential pollution problems. This study focused on the efficiency of treating feedlot wastewater using an electrocoagulation process using aluminum electrodes to neutralize particles within the wastewater. The results demonstrated that an efficient removal of total phosphorus (0.58%–100%) and total organic carbon (7.97%–100%) within 30min electrolysis time from commercial beef cattle feedyard wastewater. Factors such as the initial pH (4.0, 7.0, and 10.0), current density (2.6, 5.4, and 8.0mA/cm2), water: wastewater dilution ratio (2:1, 1:2, and raw), and electrolysis time (0–30min) were observed to have an effect on the efficiency of treatment. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was used to assess the phosphate molecules formed based on the mentioned factors. The observed patterns assist in setting up and tailoring for specific removal treatments. The findings from this study are vital for the development of methods to generate phosphorus forms capable of being extracted for new products.