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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Pasture Systems & Watershed Management Research

2011 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
1. Implement and demonstrate the effectiveness of gypsum curtains for reducing soluble P on farms in Somerset County, Maryland. (a) Demonstrate effectiveness at a sub-watershed scale. (b) Demonstrate effectiveness across different soil types in the region. (c) Evaluate potential adverse environmental impacts. 2. Work in concert with NRCS personnel and other entities to develop standards for this practice.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Stream and ditch monitoring in the study area will be intensified in order to further establish a base line for assessing the effectiveness of this practice. Following six or more months of monitoring, gypsum curtains will be installed, and stream and ditch monitoring methods will be used to measure changes in groundwater, ditch and stream chemistry following filtration.

3. Progress Report
ARS, UMES, University of Maryland and Constellation Energy are expanding their testing of edge-of-field filters developed by ARS to reduce P losses from high P soils on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This end-use provides a beneficial use of large quantities of FGD gypsum as an alternative to land filling this byproduct of coal-fired power plants. Efforts this year were directed at obtaining custody of the FGD gypsum provided to the project by Constellation Energy. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued a proposed ruling that would classify FGD gypsum as a toxic waste requiring disposal in certified land fills. We are currently pursuing opportunities for ARS to take possession of the FGD gypsum and oversee the transfer of the FGD gypsum to individual land owners. Progress has been monitored by participation in meetings among members of the scientific research team and representatives from Constellation Energy on an as needed basis and by email exchange of data and information.

4. Accomplishments

Last Modified: 06/26/2017
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