Skip to main content
ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Nutrition and Environmental Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #342361

Research Project: Sustainable Management and Byproduct Utilization of Manure Nutrients and Environmental Contaminants from Beef and Swine Production Facilities

Location: Nutrition and Environmental Management Research

Title: Data analysis protocol for using resistivity array as an early-warning wastewater pond leak detector

Author
item Woodbury, Bryan
item Eigenberg, Roger - Collaborator

Submitted to: Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers International (ASABE)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/15/2017
Publication Date: 7/3/2017
Citation: Woodbury, B.L., Eigenberg, R.A. 2017. Data analysis protocol for using resistivity array as an early-warning wastewater pond leak detector. Proceedings of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Annual International Meeting (ASABE), July 16-19, 2017, Spokane, Washington. ASABE Paper No. 1700132. doi: 10.1303/aim.201700132.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Typically, holding ponds are used to control runoff from concentrated animal feeding operations. The integrity of these holding ponds has come under increased scrutiny since subsurface leakage has the potential to affect soil and groundwater quality. Traditionally, ponds are monitored by installing monitoring wells at strategic locations to evaluate the impact on the environment. Monitoring wells are expensive to install, costly to sample and the information received is difficult to interpret. Mineral and organic salts from beef manure contained in runoff from feedlot can alter the conductivity properties of soil and water receiving it. Researchers from USDA-ARS, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center have combined efforts and resources with the Nebraska Cattlemen, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ), and AgraTek LLC, to develop a technology for the monitoring of subsurface soil quality near runoff holding ponds. The technology has proven to be superior to current methods for detecting acute subsurface leakage; however, analysis and interpretation of the data files generated by the technology can be difficult. Recently a protocol has been developed that has a site-calibration method to tailor analysis for most geologic and geographic settings, establishes statistical-based thresholds for detecting subsurface changes in soil and water quality, allows for user-set detection sensitivity to be scaled, provides a filter for reducing false-positive leak detections and provides a consistent framework for regulatory reporting. The protocol is designed to be incorporated into automated software that can immediately notify pond managers of potential problems using currently available telecommunication technology.