Interest is building around a small company with a process converting hog and cow manure to drinking water the company’s president proves is safe by drinking it during his presentation.

Farmers looking to produce as little waste as possible are taking note of Livestock Water Recycling Inc., whose technology converts hog and cow manure to drinking water and reusable nutrients for farmers. The Calgary-based company was founded in 1990 by Ross Thurston, who worked at a hazardous waste plant before starting his business.

While anaerobic digesters have gained attention as a “green” solution to the waste produced at large livestock operations, Thurston’s process is receiving global attention for its ability to reduce an operation’s manure volume by 85 percent. In addition to water, the system produces fertilizer solids, compost, and concentrated ammonium all separated and ready for the farmer to use.

Thurston told The Globe and Mail his product is a game changer.  “We’re a small company that’s suddenly on the world stage because nobody else has done this the way we have,” he said. “We’re getting calls and e-mail from companies that want to sell our product and farmers who want to use it.”

Small business converts livestock manure to drinking water

Instead of using manure as fertilizer for crops, Thurston’s system isolates nutrients, allowing farmers to customize fertilizer for their crops, saving them from purchasing supplemental commercial fertilizer with extra nutrients. Farmers can make additional profits by selling the excess nutrients separated by the system.

The system has been installed at 10 farms in Canada and the U.S. with project sizes ranging from $500,000 to $1 million.

The Globe and Mail has selected Livestock Water Recycling as one of four semi-finalists for its Small Business Challenge Contest. The winner will be awarded in September with a $100,000 business grant.