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Treat your water ‘downtown style’

PD Editor Walt Cooley Published on 28 June 2013

new_tech

A system developed to treat the water used to cool downtown commercial buildings is now available to treat the rural water troughs where dairy cows drink.

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Silver Bullet’s water treatment system breaks down the double-bonded oxygen in ambient air into free-floating oxygen molecules.

The system injects them into a circulating water system, creating hydrogen peroxide. This low-parts-per-million solution acts as a biocide, decreasing bacteria counts in pipes, containers and troughs.

“What dairy farmers are finding is there is an almost immediate reduction in the amount of nasty bacteria in their drinking troughs,” says the company’s CEO, Steve Bachar.

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The results of the system, Bachar says, can be seen within two hours after installation.

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Since late last year, more than a dozen dairies in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and Ohio have installed the company’s water treatment system.

One of the first dairies to try the product – Yuma Dairy in Yuma, Colorado – showed bacteria counts measured in the dairy’s drinking troughs dropped 99.5 percent after installation of the system.

The 2,300-cow dairy’s managing partner, Jeremiah Lungwitz, says he believes the system is a “good insurance policy” for keeping cows healthy.

“I’ve been happy with Silver Bullet. Since we’ve been using it, the bacteria count in our cows’ drinking water has gone down significantly,” Lungwitz says.

“The treatment is odorless and tasteless, so it doesn’t stop cows from drinking. That’s good because when cows drink more, they eat more. And that means they produce more.”

Like many dairymen, Lungwitz says he was skeptical when a company rep approached him and explained how the system worked. He talked to a few other early adopters and says he decided to give it a try in November 2012.

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“It was helpful that there was no up-front capital required, but now that I’ve tried it, I wouldn’t have a problem with paying that either,” Lungwitz says.

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The pricing of the system is based on average water usage in gallons per day. For example, a farm that uses 10,000 gallons of water per day would spend $875 per month.

A farm that uses 65,000 gallons of water per day would spend $1,750 per month.

Producers rent the system monthly from the company, which Bachar says minimizes the risk of trying the system.

Service is provided directly from the company or certified regional dealers and is included in the monthly rental price.

Bachar says he’s proud the company hasn’t yet had someone who installed their water treatment system, either a dairy or a commercial building, ever ask them to remove it. As a result of this track record, he’s confident enough to offer guaranteed satisfaction of the product.

“If after 30 or 60 days, a dairy producer is not happy with it, we’d be happy to give them their money back,” he says.

The water treatment system’s inventor, David Kolstad, was a former building engineer. Years ago, he designed the system after-hours and built a prototype in a spare bathroom in his house.

The current system is about the size of a large electrical box and mounts to a wall or stands on the floor. It requires a few hours to install.

If other water treatment systems are in use, such as for high iron concentrations, Bachar says the system operates alongside such systems without any modifications. The hydrogen peroxide solution the system manufactures is injected at a dairy’s well-head.

“Two hours after we install the device, we see bacteria counts in water low enough that the farmer or I could drink it,” Bachar says.

The company tests bacteria counts before and after new installations to confirm the system decreases total counts. The results, Bachar says, are usually “fairly dramatic.”

“We don’t end up spending much time convincing farmers they need to treat the water. We just need to show them there is an easy way to do it,” Bachar says. PD

PHOTOS
TOP RIGHT: Installation of a Silver Bullet water treatment system at Bijou Hill Dairy in Byers, Colorado.

MIDDLE RIGHT: Managing partner at Yuma Dairy, Jeremiah Lungwitz (right) was one of the first dairies to agree to install the invention of David Kolstad (left). Kolstad is now the chief technology officer for Silver Bullet, the company that supplies his water treatment system. Photos courtesy of Silver Bullet .

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Walt Cooley
Editor
Progressive Dairyman

The following checklist can be used to determine if this new technology might be a fit for your operation.

1. Do you presently have a water treatment system that requires the hauling and storage of hazardous chemicals?

2. Do you ever look at the water in your troughs and think, “I wouldn’t drink that”?

3. Are you interested in improving your herd’s daily water intake?

4. Are you concerned about the palatability of your dairy’s drinking water?

5. Do your equipment purchases need to minimize capital expenditures?

If you answered yes to three or more of these questions, this technology may be one for you to consider.

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