The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources used a state-of-the-art incinerator to dispose of remains from deer culled for chronic wasting disease testing in the Aitkin area.

The device was developed by a Florida company for disposing of carcasses a well as wood and debris. It is located at the Mille Lacs Wildlife Management Area just north of Milaca.

“The incinerator is designed to burn eight tons of material per hour at 2,800 degrees, which gives us a large capacity if we would ever need that,” said Dennis Simon, DNR acting operations manager. “It is the most efficient, cleanest system available for disposing of animal carcasses.”

Representatives from the manufacturer trained staff from the DNR and Department of Agriculture.

Most of the venison from the Aitkin culling operation was distributed to area landowners or a food shelf. Unsalvageable carcasses, entrails and heads from deer culled at Aitkin were disposed.

The incinerator operates with a diesel engine that pumps high velocity air into a wood-fueled burn chamber, creating an “air curtain” that raises the temperature while recirculating and burning particles from the fire.

“It should be a virtually smoke-free operation,” said Simon.

The equipment meets all applicable air quality standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“It is one of the safest ways we found to dispose of multiple carcasses in a short time,” said DNR research manager Mike DonCarlos. “A number of other states use similar techniques to dispose of carcasses, including CWD-positive animals.”

The incinerator was purchased by the DNR for about $70,000, which will be paid for with CWD funding. It will be used for disposing of deer or other animal carcasses in the future.