Home Indiana Agriculture News Researchers Work for Solution to Manure Spills

Researchers Work for Solution to Manure Spills


USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists have determined how channel sediments in creeks and rivers capture and release manure phosphorus – and as a result have discovered strategies to reduce phosphorus loads from manure spills. Scientists collected sediments from two drainage ditches in a specific watershed and added the sediments to an artificial water channel – using swine manure minimally diluted with water as a “worst-case manure spill.” They then cleaned it up after 24-hours. The simulation first resulted in an average dissolved phosphorus concentration of 5.57-milligrams per liter. They then dropped to around point-two-milligrams per liter after another 24-hours. However – they exceeded the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards for rivers, stream and drainage ditches in the watershed.

After cleanup – scientists also realized the sediments released phosphorus back into the water at rates that increased phosphorus loads to levels exceeding EPA’s maximum acceptable levels by at least 67-percent. Through another study – scientists found amending the sediments with 1.6-milligrams of alum-calcium carbonate per gram of sediment subdued phosphorus release in sandy sediments by 92-percent and by 72-percent in clay loam and loamy sand sediments. Phosphorus release was subdued 100-percent with higher amendment levels in all three soil types.

Source: NAFB News Service