Marianas Feasibility Study
evaluating the feasibility of a slaughterhouse/meat business
Project components
About the project

Environmental considerations (including waste management)


Key environmental considerations for a slaughterhouse/meat business include:

·         Management of liquid wastes from the slaughterhouse operations

·        Management of solid waste from the slaughterhouse operations

·         Manure management associated with confined animal production facilities

·         Other considerations (e.g., potential odors, stormwater management)

·         Additional information regarding pig production waste management


1.      Management of liquid wastes from the slaughterhouse operations

·        Liquid waste from a slaughtering/meat processing facility consists primarily of blood, water and effluent from wash-down (including disinfectants), and wastewater from on-site bathrooms.  The blood and effluent generally has very high BOD levels (Biochemical Oxygen Demand is an indicator of pollutant levels), which require additional treatment before discharge to water bodies.

·        The quantity of wastewater to be treated is directly correlative to the live weight of animals slaughtered and the amount of wash water used for sanitation activities. 

·         The ability (or inability) of a septic system to accommodate the liquid waste stream will be determined by both the quantity and quality (BOD level) of the liquid waste stream.

·         Treatment options might include:  an on-site septic system and drain field, an anaerobic digestion system, grease/fat traps, and/or discharge to a municipal wastewater sewer (for subsequent treatment at the municipality’s wastewater treatment plant).   

§         For discharge into a municipal system, the loading rates (quantity, quality) must be evaluated in advance to ensure that the system can effectively accommodate the liquid waste stream.

§         An on-site septic system must be designed to reflect both the waste stream and the environmental characteristics of the specific site.

§         For an anaerobic digestion system, it is important to realize the conservation of matter…the same amount of effluent going into a digester (e.g., gallons/day) must exit the digester, and the digester effluent must be effectively managed.

§        Grease/fat traps are only partially effective; both the captured material and the trap effluent must subsequently be managed effectively (using the same options described above).

·         A liquid waste management plan must be developed for a specific site by a qualified engineering firm.  The liquid waste management system will likely need to be permitted before construction can begin.

·         Some additional information regarding design of liquid waste management systems for slaughterhouses include:

§         Reduction in Waste Load From a Meat Processing Facility, by Randolph Packing Company in cooperation with North Carolina State University: http://www.fpeac.org/meat/ReductioninWasteLoad.pdf

§        Managing waste in abattoirs and meat processing facilities, Australian Industry Group: http://pdf.aigroup.asn.au/environment/23_Meat_Processing_Abattoir_Waste_Reduction_Factsheet.pdf

§        Livestock and Slaughter Waste Management – a World Bank Study: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTUSWM/Resources/463617-1205264154387/Marlow2.pdf

§        Code of Practice for the Slaughter and Poultry Processing Industries; by British Columbia Ministry of the Environment: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/industrial/regs/codes/slaughter/pdf/fs1.pdf


2.     Management of solid waste from the slaughterhouse operations

·         Solid materials produced during the slaughtering process include heads, hides, and offal.  If secondary markets can be arranged for any of these materials, then they become “co-products”.  Otherwise, the material will be considered waste, and will require some type of disposal. 

§         The estimated quantity of solid waste generated by a small slaughtering facility is approximately 5,500 pounds/day for a 16-head cattle slaughtering operation (4,100 pounds/day for a 100-head pig slaughtering operation).

§        Note: all of these items are biological materials and if left in the open will decompose, leading to odors, flies, and other potential nuisances; potential impacts on surface, ground, and coastal waters; and potential human health impacts.  Thus, it is essential that these materials be managed effectively so as to avoid such consequences.

§         Relevant information sources regarding management of slaughterhouse waste includes:

·         Disposal of Meat Production Waste; Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General; http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/about/pubs/meatinspectionreport/chapter_7.pdf

·        Urban Waste Management - Documents and Info Sheets, Global Development Resource Center; http://www.gdrc.org/uem/waste/z-doc.html#infosheets

·        Managing waste in abattoirs and meat processing facilities; Australian Industry Group; EPA Victoria; http://pdf.aigroup.asn.au/environment/23_Meat_Processing_Abattoir_Waste_Reduction_Factsheet.pdf

·        Management of Animal Carcasses, Tissue, and Related Byproducts; 3rd International Symposium; July 2009; http://www.umext.maine.edu/byproductssymposium09/

·        Theoretically, there are several potential options available for managing slaughterhouse wastes in an island context.  Let’s briefly consider each option:

§         Bury the material on private land:  This is a common approach for “back-yard” slaughtering operations.  However, this is not a feasible option for a commercial operation on a small island because the amount of material generated per day is large and burying would likely have unacceptable water quality impacts.

§         Landfills:  Treat the material as municipal solid waste, where it will be buried in the approved landfill.  This is a possible option, although it would likely be undesirable from the landfill owner’s and operator’s perspective (high BOD material, strong vector for pests and microbes, and reduces landfill life).

·        Relevant information sources regarding land-filling in Guam include:

o        Guam Solid Waste Receivership Information Center;http://www.guamsolidwastereceiver.org/

o        Guam Environmental Protection Agency; http://www.gepa.guam.gov/

o       Layon Municipal Sanitary Landfill; http://geovalinc.com/LayonMunicipalSanitaryLandfill.pdf

·        Relevant information sources regarding land-filling in CNMI include:

o        Solid Waste; CNMI Division of Environmental Quality; http://www.deq.gov.mp/article.aspx?secID=11&artID=31

o       Saipan’s Solid Waste Management System; Government Engineering; December 2005; http://www.govengr.com/ArticlesNov05/saipan.pdf

o       Tinian gets more time to solve its landfill problems; Saipan Tribune; February 13, 2011; http://www.saipantribune.com/newsstory.aspx?cat=1&newsID=105491

§        Offshore ocean disposal: Ocean disposal entails taking the material out to a suitable distance offshore and dumping the waste into the ocean.  This has long been the practice for seafood processing waste, and some (perhaps all) of the material will eventually be recycled through the ocean food chain.  This option would be subject to approval and regulation by the Guam/CNMI governments and the US EPA.

·         Relevant information sources regarding ocean dumping include:

o       Federal Environmental Regulations: Subchapter H – Ocean Dumping: http://www.ehso.com/ehshome/regslaws40hoceandump.php

o       Summary of the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; http://www.epa.gov/lawsregs/laws/mprsa.html

o       Research underway: Examine and evaluate best disposal options for all three main islands in the CNMI. This would include benefit/cost analysis of a) offshore ocean disposal and b) conventional treatment and reuse; Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific; University of Guam; http://www.weriguam.org/usgs-sponsored-research/commonwealth-of-the-northern-mariana-islands/page/research-priorities

§        Rendering: Rendering is the process of grinding the material down to small pieces, then cooking the material to a point where it is biologically stable, then drying the material as necessary to facilitate transport of the product to markets where it can be sold as animal feed.  The rendering process is energy intensive, and the option is dependent on having markets for the products. Setting up a rendering operation for a slaughterhouse would essentially entail a separate business enterprise.

§        Anaerobic digestion:  Anaerobic digestion is, at least in theory, an attractive option for an island context in that it results in a biogas byproduct which could be used as a source of renewable energy.  However, anaerobic digestion of animal parts is technically difficult compared to the digestion of manure, the amount of biogas produced is limited and may be suitable only for heating water for facility clean up and wash down, and the liquid and sludge effluents resulting from the digester will need to be further managed (typically applied to agricultural lands to enhance crop growth).

·         Relevant information sources regarding anaerobic digestion include:

o        Biological Treatment of Fish Processing Wastes in the Tropics; Texas A&M University;  http://fshn.ifas.ufl.edu/seafood/sst/AnnPdf/7th_171.pdf

o       Mesophilic anaerobic digestion: first option for waste treatment in tropical regions; Jain R&D Laboratory, India; December 2010;http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20515367

o        Anaerobic Digestion in Sustainable Bioenergy Chains; thesis by Claudia Patricia Pabón Pereira, Wageningen University, June 2009; http://edepot.wur.nl/8181

§        Composting:  This could be one of the most attractive waste management options, in that it will affectively manage the material and create a useful, marketable compost product with significant agronomic value.  However, substantial land area and vegetative material would be required for the composting operation, and the facility would have to be located in an area with minimum potential for odor-related nuisance issues. 

·         The amount of vegetative material required as a bulking agent for liquid waste streams is roughly 20:1 (volumetric basis).  Thus, for manure from a 50 pig/day slaughtering operation (3 days/week), roughly 30 tons/week of vegetative material would be required for effective composting.  The material would have to be turned periodically (roughly once per week) for up to 12 weeks to ensure effective biological degradation of the material and pathogens. 

·         The amount of vegetative material required as a bulking agent for semi-solid waste streams such as paunch is at least 10:1 and perhaps as high as 20:1(volumetric basis). Thus, for slaughterhouse waste from a 30 cow per week slaughtering operation (3 days/week), roughly 75 tons/week of vegetative material would be required for effective composting at a 10:1 ratio. 

·         Relevant information sources regarding composting include:

o        Carcass Management: Economically and Environmentally Sustainable Practices; University of Maine; http://umaine.edu/publications/carcass-management/

o       Composting Animal Mortalities; Minnesota Department of Agriculture; http://www.mda.state.mn.us/news/publications/animals/compostguide.pdf

o       links to mortality composting at Cornell University’s Waste Management Institute:  http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/composting.htm#mortalitycomposting

o       “Slaughter Waste Composting Demonstration Project, September 2006”, Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia:

o       “Slaughter Waste Composting Demonstration Project, December 2008”, Investment Agriculture Foundation of British Columbia:

o       “Composting of slaughterhouse waste material and dead stock”, Food Science Australia: http://www.agenergyenterprises.com/feasibility/slaughter_waste_composting_03.pdf

o       “On-site composting of meat by-products”, October 2001, New York State Department of Economic Development: http://www.agenergyenterprises.com/feasibility/slaughter_waste_composting_04.pdf

o       “Natural Rendering: Composting Livestock Mortality and Butcher Waste”, Cornell Waste Management Institute:  http://www.agenergyenterprises.com/feasibility/slaughter_waste_composting_05.pdf


3.     Manure management associated with confined animal production facilities

·         Manure produced from animals in the holding pens will have to be removed periodically (weekly?). 

·        The quantity of manure produced will be determined by the number of animals in the pens and the average holding time.  Estimates of daily manure production for different animals include:

§         Beef cattle – approximately 65 pounds per day per 1000 pounds live weight

§         Pigs - approximately 65 pounds per day per 1000 pounds live weight

§         Goats / sheep - approximately 40 pounds per day per 1000 pounds live weight

§         Manure production rates were obtained from the USDA NRCS Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook, Chapter 4 – Agricultural Waste Characteristics: http://policy.nrcs.usda.gov/OpenNonWebContent.aspx?content=17768.wba

4.     Other considerations (e.g., stormwater management, potential odors)

·         Stormwater Best Management Practices for CNMI and Guam are set forth in Volumes I and II of the Stormwater Management Manual: http://www.deq.gov.mp/article.aspx?secID=6&artID=55

·        Effective site design and landscaping is required to ensure that runoff from animal holding pens do not enter into and contaminate surface or ground waters.     

·         There will be some animal odors from the holding pens, so site design should consider prevailing winds in terms of down wind odor concerns.

5.     Additional information regarding waste management from confined pig production

·         An important factor to consider for pig producers is manure management.  Because the Marianas are within the jurisdiction of USDA and USEPA (and, of course, CNMI regulatory authorities), pig waste management will need to comply with all applicable waste management requirements, primarily from a runoff/water quality perspective.  This will become increasingly important as commercial operations ramp up in size and the visibility factor increases.  Plus, the scale of an operation(s) needed to produce 10 to 60 slaughter-size pigs per day will be significantly larger than a typical backyard piggery.

·         Accordingly, pig suppliers must understand these waste management issues and have compliant waste management techniques/systems in place (or at least planning underway).

§         Effective pig waste management systems are essential for sustained operation of the pig farm.

§         Effective pig waste management systems are also essential to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain. Two sources of information on this topic would be the USDA-NRCS office in Saipan and the Northern Marianas College. 
NRCS:  http://www.pia.nrcs.usda.gov/contact/office_directory.asp?office=SaipanSC
NMC: http://www.nmcnet.edu/

·         Driven by water quality (and human health) concerns, in 2001 a piggery waste management program was initiated in American Samoa that resulted in numerous techniques being adopted and deployed for managing manure from small-scale piggeries – most notably, the use of dry litter systems and composting.  These designs, techniques, and management practices have been improved over the years, and are now serving as models for pig producers in other islands in the Pacific (including Guam and CNMI).  For more information, refer to:

§         Manure and composting at the University of Hawaii website: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/SustainAg/links/animal.html#manure

§        Piggery Manure Management in American Samoa: http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/pigsinparadise/