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Below are portions of a formal Comment submitted to the U.S. EPA in response to its request for public and industry comment:
United States Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Wastewater Management
Washington, DC 20460
Re: Comment on CAFO Draft Strategy - Natural Zeolites as Multifaceted Remedy
From: Zeolite 98, Inc. and KMI Zeolite, Inc.
Zeolite 98, Inc. and KMI Zeolite, Inc. jointly submit the following observations regarding a mineral called “Zeolite” in response to the EPA’s March 5 request for public and industry comment on its Draft Strategy to solve the pollution problems associated with concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) nationwide. We are in the business of natural Zeolite mining and marketing. Our Death Valley Junction, California deposit (one of fewer than 10 in the U.S.) contains 60,000,000 tons of commercial grade, high purity clinoptilolite zeolite, which is available as a CAFO pollution remedy.
Zeolite as CAFO Pollution Remedy
Natural zeolite, of the “clinoptilolite” variety, solves CAFO pollution problems at many levels, from their animal origin along the continuum to contaminated water. Zeolite has numerous remedial capabilities in the CAFO context. These are the conclusions of the academic and scientific communities, which have studied and tested clinoptilolite zeolite extensively for many years. Tests demonstrate that zeolite: a.) eliminates ammonia odor, b.) neutralizes animal waste toxins, c.) reduces incidence of animal diarrhea when mixed in feed, d.) improves utility and handling of animal waste as a natural fertilizer; e.) diminishes water runoff from feedlots by retaining water, f.) diminishes fertilizer runoff (natural and synthetic) from crop fields by holding nutrients in root zone and catalyzing plant nutrient uptake, which prevents escape into the water supply, and g) acts as purifying filter of waters tainted with animal wastes.
Properties of Zeolite
Zeolite is a porous, highly absorbent mineral with remarkable structural and chemical properties that make it valuable in a growing number of applications in agricultural, horticultural, industrial, construction, and livestock technology. These properties enable clinoptilolite zeolite to serve as an effective remedy to many CAFO environmental consequences. Zeolites (there are 50 or so varieties) result from prehistoric volcanic activity in rare environmental circumstances in which volcanic ash fell into shallow alkaline/saline lakes. Because of its rigid three-dimensional crystal structure at the molecular level, with interconnecting tunnels and cages, clinoptilolite zeolite is highly absorbent and acts as a molecular sieve. It can absorb up to 30% of its dry weight in gases such as nitrogen and ammonia, over 70% in water, and up to 90% in certain hydrocarbons. Zeolite’s crystalline pores are so small that one gram of material has an equivalent surface area of 130 square feet.1Clinoptilolite zeolite has a high cation-exchange capacity, which controls the release of plant nutrients in agricultural systems, frees soluble plant nutrients already in soil, and improves soil fertility and water retention, according the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
While zeolite is ancient, knowledge of its propensities as an environmental remedy is state-of-the-art. It is a completely natural remedy and an abundant, readily available, affordable supply exists within the United States.
We are overwhelmed by zeolite’s wide range of applications in the CAFO context. Our study of zeolite persuades us that clinoptilolite zeolite is a reasonably cost efficient remedy for CAFO pollution problems and is very beneficial all along the polluting animal waste continuum from cattle feed to feedlots to reducing water runoff to growing crops to filtering streams.
We strongly encourage the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and all state Environmental Protection Agencies to thoroughly investigate the utility of clinoptilolite zeolite as a CAFO pollution abatement remedial technology. Our objective is to assure that natural clinoptilolite zeolite is fully reviewed and embraced as one governmentally approved or recommended remedy for the CAFO pollution problems mentioned in the U.S. EPA’s Draft Strategy and the Compliance Assurance Implementation Plan.
We are available to assist in drafting and would like to know more about how we can become involved in developing programs. Please advise as to what steps we can take to assure that clinoptilolite zeolite is widely known to those for whom it will serve as a remedy.
Mk Wheaw, Zeolites Landscape
, attached copy. Mk Wheaw is an independent landscape consultant and designer in Fort Calif, Texas and a member of the Texas Association of Landscape Contractors. He operates Landscape Consulting Services. His location on the World Wide Web is: http://.com.