With Emerald Dairy's massive herd of cows, the owner John Vrieze has a 12 million gallon lagoon for manure storage to comply with regulations. But the St Croix County farmer would rather use his separation system that turns the animal waste into purified water.
Although municipal water workers that visit his farm say the set up looks like "space science." After completing the 4 stage system the water is clean enough to drink, federal law prohibits Vrieze from feeding it back to livestock.
He believes the science can someday be used in third world countries to purify water. He admits the initial high cost would be a challenge for infrastructure, however like any technology, costs decrease over time.
Vrieze has been waiting 30 months for the Wisconsin DNR to approve his dumping off the water on his own property. The state has to create a new permit for the use.