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ARS Home » Midwest Area » West Lafayette, Indiana » National Soil Erosion Research Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #249168

Title: Phosphorus and nitrogen loading depths in fluvial sediments following manure spill simulations

item ARMSTRONG, SHALAMAR - Purdue University
item Smith, Douglas
item OWENS, PHILLIP - Purdue University
item JOERN, BRAD - Purdue University
item Leytem, April
item Huang, Chi Hua
item ADEOLA, LAVI - Purdue University

Submitted to: Canadian Journal of Soil Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/23/2011
Publication Date: 4/1/2011
Citation: Armstrong, S.D., Smith, D.R., Owens, P.R., Joern, B.C., Leytem, A.B., Huang, C., Adeola, L. 2011. Phosphorus and nitrogen loading depths in fluvial sediments following manure spill simulations. Canadian Journal of Soil Science. 91:427-436.

Interpretive Summary: Manure spills can be devastating to aquatic ecosystems. The depth to which nitrogen and phosphorus contaminate the stream sediments have not been documented. This study was conducted to determine how deep nitrogen and phosphorus contaminate stream sediments when manure spills happen in streams. This was done by using a stream simulator, called a fluvarium, and flowing liquid swine manure over sediments collected from three agricultural stream sites. The ability of the sediments to remove phosphorus from the water column decreased with time, whereas the ability of the sediments to remove ammonium-nitrogen from the water column was constant throughout the contamination experiments. Both nitrogen and phosphorus contamination was found at 2 cm deep in the sediments, but the vast majority of contamination occurred in the upper 1 cm of the sediments. The impact of this study is to serve as a baseline of information for scientists and policy makers to make recommendations on new technologies to remediate manure spills, by allowing us to know more about how much of the sediment must be treated to minimize water quality impacts.

Technical Abstract: Manure spills that enter streams can devastate the aquatic ecosystem. The depth of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) loading in fluvial sediments following a manure spill have not been documented. Thus, the objectives of this study were (i) to determine the depth of N and P contamination as a result of a manure spill under base flow conditions using fluviarium techniques and (ii) to evaluate the impact of particle size distribution on N and P contamination depth. Manure spills were simulated using stream simulators and ditch sediments collect from agricultural drainage ditches. The P sorption capacity of all sediments exponentially decreased with time and the NH4-N sorption capacity remained constant throughout the adsorption phase. The P and NH4-N loading in all sediments were observed to the depth of 2 cm, but were most concentrated in the 0-1 cm depth ranging in concentrations from 3 to 12 mg P kg-1 and 7.2 to 45 mg NH4-N kg-1. Results from this study estimated P and NH4-N concentrations and mixing depths in fluvial sediments following a swine manure spill simulation, two vital components needed to further enhance treatment of manure spills in fluvial systems by first responders.