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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Genetics, Physiology, and Health Research to Improve Catfish Production

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: Use of vegetated drainage ditches and low-grade weirs for aquaculture effluent mitigation: II. Suspended sediment

Authors
item Flora, Corrin
item Kroger, Robert -

Submitted to: Journal of the World Aquaculture Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2014
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
Citation: Flora, C.L., Kroger, R. 2014. Use of vegetated drainage ditches and low-grade weirs for aquaculture effluent mitigation: II. Suspended sediment. Journal of the World Aquaculture Society. 60:68-72.

Interpretive Summary: This article describes the first use of vegetated drainage ditches and low-grade weirs as best management practices for mitigating sediments in aquaculture effluent. Often management of effluent occurs in pond where management can apply volume reduction techniques to reduce amount of water leaving the pond. Vegetated drainage ditches and low-grade weirs offer a water quality improvement service to farmers by creating conditions conducive for sediment removal. Vegetation in a drainage ditch and low-grade weirs result in slower runoff velocities through the drainage ditch and cause suspended sediments to settle out. There were no differences between overall reductions between the vegetated ditch and incorporation of low-grade weirs. Interestingly, it was the first weir within the ditch that did most of the work for reducing flows and causing sediments to settle out. Results highlight that utilizing a ubiquitous landscape feature such as a vegetated drainage ditch with installed low-grade weirs can be added as a promising effluent management strategy of sediments for aquaculture.

Technical Abstract: Total suspended solids are a priority pollutant under the Clean Water Act and a point of concern for aquaculture facilities. The use of ubiquitous vegetated ditches on the aquaculture landscape may serve as an environmentally and economically sustainable practice for reducing suspended sediment contributions to downstream environments. This study assessed effects of consecutive low-grade weirs on suspended solids retention and settling rates of aquaculture pond effluent in a single drainage ditch. Two control and nine treatment discharges were conducted in September and October 2012 at the Mississippi State University South Farm Aquaculture Facility. All discharges decreased total and volatile suspended solid loads. Total suspended solids were decreased 72% to 94%, with a significant removal rate of 0.02 ± 0.01 mg L-1 min-1 in both control (F = 6.12, P < 0.001) and treatment discharges (F = 16.02, P < 0.001). Volatile suspended solids comprised 2% to 80% of total suspended solids and had a significant removal rate of 0.02 ± 0.001 mg L-1 min-1 in both control (F = 10.46, P < 0.001) and treatment discharges (F = 6.28, P < 0.001). There was no significant difference in overall settling rates between control and treatment discharges; however, prior to weir 1, both total and volatile suspended solid concentrations increased in control discharges. Treatment discharges decreased both total and volatile suspended solids significantly (P < 0.001) prior to weir 1. Further analysis revealed flow rate to be a significant (P < 0.001) variable in total suspended solid removal while initial concentrations affected reduction rates of volatile suspended solids significantly (P < 0.001). These results suggest that the use of low-grade weirs could be a viable best management practice that easily integrates within the aquaculture landscape and creates hydraulic conditions conducive to sediment retention.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014
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