The DOWN JOHN™ Story
In 1992, Geoff Jordan, an Australian industrial research chemist moved with his wife and 4 children to Oklahoma City.
The woes of odor…
At that time the Oklahoma media was carrying news regarding corporate hog farms moving into the state and the opposition from community groups because of odor. Having worked on methods of odor suppression in city wastewater plants in Australia, Geoff thought he could help embattled hog farmers with the issue here and set up a treatment using a “before and after” evaluation with a farmer in NW Oklahoma. After 3 months, “odor intensity” and “irritation intensity” were markedly reduced and the lagoon contents and air surrounding the hog farm improved in “pleasantness”, according to a Duke University test.
Not just a load of HOG WASH…!
This resulted in the formation of the Hog Wash service business in 2001, treating hog farms regularly for odor control and sludge digestion. A farm’s whole manure handling system is treated comprising the barn pits under each building, the primary waste lagoon and in some cases a secondary lagoon as well.
Treatment resulted in several major changes: a drastic reduction in the level of odor (a 74% & 98% drop in ammonia and sulfide gas build up in the hog containment buildings respectively) leading to halted metal corrosion in barns. Also, a measured lowering of piglet mortality by 11% and a 6% weight gain in piglets, with healthier sows and piglets overall from breathing cleaner air.
The treatment consisted of a proprietary vegetable based, high surface area activated carbon and a non-pathogenic mostly anaerobic bacteria cocktail. The carbon would remove chemicals toxic to bacterial growth such as antibiotics fed to the hogs, wash down and cleaning chemicals from the barns and pharmaceutical treatments, insecticides, etc., all of which would otherwise hinder bacterial growth. The maximum possible number of healthy bacteria is needed to digest the hog feces and sludge. The added bacteria would then grow very well on the carbon surface and dominate the lagoon and flush water recycle system, keeping it odor and solids free. Effluent from the lagoon pumps easily without clogging through a single pivot sprinkler system and is an excellent NPK fertilizer, showing a fourfold increase in grain crop yield.
Let’s put it DOWN your JOHN!…
After having the idea that this system could also work in an anaerobic home septic system, some samples were made up for home testing in a closed community with pleasing results, and DOWN JOHN™ was born. An Australian pharmaceutical company had the name UPJOHN Pharmaceuticals and so DOWN JOHN™ seemed appropriate considering the treatment’s purpose, destination and method of application.
After further field trials in the south where folks eat more fried chicken, floating grease cap proved to be a problem, so the white powder lipase, a fat eating enzyme was added to face that issue up front, the DOWN JOHN™ produces its own lipase once it is established in the septic tank.
With information observed in treating hog lagoons, Geoff designed a low volume septic system, 2 tanks of just 35 gallons and to handle the fecal and urine input from 15 adult men. Due to a shortage of volunteers it was decided to use hog manure from a university swine facility and a trial was set up to test the prototype 70 gallon septic systems, using the calculated equivalent of hog manure to human waste, the test was supervised by a university professor and maintained daily by students who measured daily waste input, digested waste output and calculated the out gassing and identifying the gasses.
The bacterial treatment used in the tanks was DOWN JOHN™, the tests were very successful and a patent was issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to Geoff Jordan for this innovative low volume septic system. Test results cited on the DOWN JOHN™ web site come from these university tests. And the rest is history….tens of thousands of satisfied customers saving money, avoiding problems and helping the environment!