Title

Effect of tile effluent on nutrient concentration and retention efficiency in agricultural drainage ditches

Abstract

Tile drainage is a common water management practice in many agricultural landscapes in the Midwestern United States. Drainage ditches regularly receive water from agricultural fields through these tile drains. This field-scale study was conducted to determine the impact of tile discharge on ambient nutrient concentration, nutrient retention and transport in drainage ditches. Grab water samples were collected during three flow regimes for the determination of soluble phosphorus (SP), ammonium nitrogen (NH4+-N), nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N) concentrations and their retention in three drainage ditches. Measured nutrient concentration indicated lower SP and NH4+-N, and greater NO3-N concentrations in tile effluents compared to the ditch water. Net uptake lengths were relatively long, especially for NO3-N, indicating that nutrients were generally not assimilated efficiently in these drainage systems. Results also indicated that the study reaches were very dynamic showing alternating increases or decreases in nutrient concentration across the flow regimes. The drainage ditches appeared to be nutrient-rich streams that could potentially influence the quality of downstream waters. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keywords

Net uptake length, Soluble phosphorus, Ammonium nitrogen, Downstream water quality, Agricultural land use

Date of this Version

2011

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2011.03.002

Volume

98

Issue

8

Pages

1271-1279

Link Out to Full Text

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378377411000527