In terms of volume, livestock wastewater accounts for about 0.6% of total sewage and wastewater generation in Korea, but in terms of pollution load it amounts to 26%, making livestock wastewater a major source of pollution.
Because livestock waste has the dual characteristic of being both a resource and a waste product, the government is focusing management activities on using livestock waste as a resource first, while also operating public treatment facilities to support small-scale livestock farms.
In accordance with the Act on the Disposal of Sewage, Excreta and Livestock Wastewater, livestock farms above a certain capacity are required to establish and operate proper facilities to dispose of and treat livestock waste.
There are currently 350,000 farms including 46,510 permitted/registered livestock farms. Most permitted/registered farms have established and operate facilities that convert livestock waste into a resource such as compost. Since 1991, the government has supported the establishment of public treatment facilities for livestock waste from small-scale farms: 41 are currently in operation and 35 are in construction.
For the appropriate disposal and treatment of livestock waste, standards for establishing and managing treatment facilities, as well as water quality standards for the treated effluent, have been prescribed. Also, efforts continue to raise treatment efficiency and to improve the facilities and the collection system.
In April 2004, the Ministry of Environment, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (www.maf.go.kr), established the Task Force Team on Livestock Wastewater. It will issue their full report in late 2004, which is to include comprehensive management measures for the expanded use of livestock excreta as a resource.