Research Article
Effect of Liquid Municipal Biosolid Application Method on Tile and Ground Water Quality

D. R. Lapen, E. Topp, M. Edwards, L. Sabourin, W. Curnoe, N. Gottschalla, P. Bolton, S. Rahman, B. Ball-Coelho, M. Payne, S. Kleywegt and N. McLaughlin

Journal of Environmental Quality, 2008, 37(3), 925-936. DOI: 10.2134/jeq2006.0486


This study examined bacteria and nutrient quality in tile drainage and shallow ground water resulting from a fall land application of liquid municipal biosolids (LMB), at field application rates of 93,500 L ha–1, to silt-clay loam agricultural field plots using two different land application approaches. The land application methods were a one-pass AerWay SSD approach (A), and surface spreading plus subsequent incorporation (SS). For both treatments, it took between 3 and 39 min for LMB to reach tile drains after land application. The A treatment significantly (p < 0.1) reduced application-induced LMB contamination of tile drains relative to the SS treatment, as shown by mass loads of total Kjeldahl N (TKN), NH4–N, Total P (TP), PO4–P, E. coli., and Clostridium perfringens. E. coli contamination resulting from application occurred to at least 2.0-m depth in ground water, but was more notable in ground water immediately beneath tile depth (1.2 m). Treatment ground water concentrations of selected nutrients and bacteria for the study period (∼46 d) at 1.2-m depth were significantly higher in the treatment plots, relative to control plots. The TKN and TP ground water concentrations at 1.2-m depth were significantly (p < 0.1) higher for the SS treatment, relative to the A treatment, but there were no significant (p > 0.1) treatment differences for the bacteria. For the macroporous field conditions observed, pre-tillage by equipment such as the AerWay SSD, will reduce LMB-induced tile and shallow ground water contamination compared to surface spreading over non-tilled soil, followed by incorporation.

ASCI-ID: 211-219

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