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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Phosphorus Transport in Tile Fed Drainage Ditches

Author
item Smith, Douglas

Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2004
Publication Date: October 31, 2004
Citation: Smith, D.R. 2004. Phosphorus transport in tile fed drainage ditches. In: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Proceedings. October 31-November 4, 2004. Seattle, Washington. 2004 CDROM.

Technical Abstract: A substantial amount of phosphorus P enters streams and ditches, despite our best efforts to reduce edge of field losses. These streams and ditches provide one last potential site for treatments to remove P from the water column, before entering lakes and reservoirs, where eutrophication presents the biggest problems. Sediments and water column P dynamics were studied at seven sites along three ditches in Northeast Indiana. Chemical and physical treatments of sediments were also studied to determine if they could be used to potentially remove P from the water column. Water column soluble P concentrations ranged from 0.02 to roughly 0.09 mg P/L. Sediment equilibrium P concentrations (EPCo) ranged from 0.00 to 0.11 mg P/L. The P buffering capacity of sediments were most closely associated with organic matter, followed by the silt + clay size fractions. Under natural conditions, the sediments acted as a source of P to the water column at four sites, and acted as a P sink at three of the sites. Following treatment of sediments with aluminum sulfate, all seven sites acted as a P sink to the water column. After sediment disturbance, sediments acted as a P sink at five of the sites. These results indicate that both physical and chemical treatments hold the potential to remove P from the water column of ditches, thereby reducing the potential for anthropogenic eutrophication.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014