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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGICAL TREATMENT OF MANURE TO CAPTURE NUTRIENTS AND TRANSFORM CONTAMINANTS Title: Effects of a Livestock Manure Windrow Composting Site with a Fly Ash Pad Surface and Vegetative Filter Strip Buffers on Sediment, Nitrate, and Phosphorus Losses with Runoff

Authors
item Webber, D. -
item Mickelson, S. -
item Richard, T. -
item Ahn, Hee Kwon

Submitted to: Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 22, 2008
Publication Date: March 31, 2009
Citation: Webber, D.F., Mickelson, S.K., Richard, T.L., Ahn, H. 2009. EFFECTS OF A LIVESTOCK MANURE WINDROW COMPOSTING SITE WITH A FLY ASH PAD SURFACE AND VEGETATIVE FILTER STRIP BUFFERS ON SEDIMENT, NITRATE, AND PHOSPHORUS LOSSES WITH RUNOFF. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 64(2):163-171.

Interpretive Summary: This study estimated the effects of a livestock manure–based windrow composting practice with a fly ash composting pad surface and vegetative filter strip (VFS) buffers on losses of nutrients and pollutants through runoff during natural rainfall events. During composting, runoff data from six events were collected over three years in the early season (June through July) and late season (August through September). The research site was selected on uneven terrain with average slopes of 5% and 2% on the VFS buffer and composting pad plot areas, respectively. Runoff treatments were comprised of three compost windrows:VFS buffer area ratios that included 1:1, 1:0.5, and 1:0 (no buffer) control. Results from the study indicate significantly higher levels of runoff and pollutant losses from the 1:0 control plots compared to the 1:1 and 1:0.5 VFS buffer plots. Results also show the 1:1 and 1:0.5 VFS buffer treatments were not significantly different. These results reflect the effectiveness of VFS buffers for reducing runoff and contaminant losses from a windrow composting site.

Technical Abstract: This study quantified the effects of a livestock manure–based windrow composting practice with a fly ash composting pad surface and vegetative filter strip (VFS) buffers on losses of runoff, runoff percent of rainfall, total solids, nitrate-nitrogen, ortho-phosphorus (PO4-P), and total-phosphorus during natural rainfall events. During composting, runoff data from six events were collected over three years in the early season (June through July) and late season (August through September). The research site was selected on uneven terrain with average slopes of 5% and 2% on the VFS buffer and composting pad plot areas, respectively. Runoff treatments were comprised of three compost windrows:VFS buffer area ratios that included 1:1, 1:0.5, and 1:0 (no buffer) control. The 1:1 and 1:0.5 area ratios represented a 6.0-m (20-ft) wide × 23-m (75-ft) long fly ash composting pad area compared to VFS buffer areas of equal and one-half size, respectively. All treatments had three replications for a total of nine runoff plots in a randomized complete block design. Results from the study indicate significantly higher levels (p < 0.05) of runoff, runoff percent of rainfall, total solids, nitrate-nitrogen, PO4-P, and total-phosphorus from the 1:0 control plots compared to the 1:1 and 1:0.5 VFS buffer plots. Results also show the 1:1 and 1:0.5 VFS buffer treatments were not significantly different (p < 0.05) and that average runoff loss reductions from the 1:1 and 1:0.5 VFS buffer plots were 98% and 93%, respectively, compared to the 1:0 control plots. These results reflect the effectiveness of VFS buffers for reducing runoff and contaminant losses from a windrow composting site. Compost nutrient mass balance analysis results indicate 41% and 26% of PO4-P were lost from the compost windrows during the 2004 early season and late season composting periods, respectively. However, only 0.1% to 0.4% of PO4-P was lost to runoff from the 1:0 control plots during the respective 2004 early season and late season com¬posting periods. We hypothesize the relatively lower PO4-P losses in runoff may be attributed to potential chemical and physical effects of the fly ash composting pad material.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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