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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Constructed Bulrush Wetland for Treatment of Cattle Waste

Authors
item Cooper, Charles
item Testa, Sam

Submitted to: Constructed Wetlands for Animal Waste Management Workshop Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Deteriorated water quality in our streams and rivers has been found to be largely due to the combined impacts of pollution which enters these waterways from surrounding land in rainfall and runoff. These pollution sources (non-point sources) include a wide variety of activities and situations, one of which is animal farming where animal wastes and products used in their production find their way into the water. Many efforts are now being made to find ways of preventing this type of pollution from reaching our waterways. A promising method is the use of created ponds and wetland areas to catch this pollution and allow it to be broken down naturally by plant, bacteria and soil action. When these created wetlands are used, little or none of the pollution is able to reach local streams. Our research project specifically studied how cattle waste was trapped and processed in a constructed wetland. This information can be used by farmers and government agencies concerned with preventing pollution from reaching our water.

Technical Abstract: Processing and disposing of concentrated on-farm animal waste, a major source of water quality deterioration, is a concern of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and regulatory agencies. Several projects for evaluating the ability of constructed wetlands to process animal waste have been initiated across the United States. As a result, optimal design criteria for such future animal waste management systems may be forthcoming. The Mississippi NRCS and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) National Sedimentation Laboratory in Oxford, Mississippi cooperated on an on-farm dairy waste treatment project which used a constructed bulrush wetland for processing. Herein we present findings from three years of operation and make suggestions for future design criteria for such systems.

Last Modified: 9/23/2014
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