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An Unusual Meal For Sure, But Some Call it a Victory for WI Clean Water

March 11, 2009

Madison, WI - It could be a new model for cleaning up lakes across the state of Wisconsin. Environmental groups are praising Governor Jim Doyle for announcing financial support for the construction of two anaerobic manure digesters to be located in northern Dane County.

Peter Taglia, a staff scientist with Clean Wisconsin, says these community digesters are designed to collect and process agricultural waste to keep it from polluting lakes.

"If they're able to get the phosphorus out, they really kind of show a model of making anaerobic digesters really do a good job of addressing water quality."

Taglia says this technology works for the environment on a couple of different levels.

"It's another win-win where we are producing clean electricity and reducing our water impacts."

He says says there is very little that is wasted after these digesters process farm waste.

"You can use the fiber left at the end of the process for bedding for dairy farms, so there are a number of benefits."

Agricultural runoff in effect ends up fertilizing the state's lakes, which causes algae blooms and waterways choked with noxious weeds. Another benefit of the digesters is clean, renewable and homegrown energy in the form of gas, a byproduct of the process, which can be burnt for fuel.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI