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Current best management practices (BMPs) used to reduce P transport to surface water include conservation tillage, crop residue management, cover crops, buffer strips, contour tillage, and other methods that successfully reduce sediment loss from agricultural land. These strategies are effective in controlling particulate P but not dissolved P in runoff. Drinking water treatment residuals (WTR), that contain Al or Fe oxide, have been shown to be a successful BMP to protect surface water quality by removing dissolved P from agricultural runoff water. Using WTR as P sorbent is a cost-effective approach that provides an economic benefit to municipalities and economic and environmental benefits to communities by preserving surface water quality. Both economic benefits and need for a BMP to reduce runoff P from agricultural land have resulted in a large amount of research activity in the last decade. More than 10 publications, 20 presentations, and currently projects in 12 states on use of WTR to manage nutrients has occurred in the last 5 yrs. A review of advances in research focused on beneficial use of WTR to manage nutrients will be presented. Research results will be reviewed based on approach of WTR use: direct incorporation into soil to reduce excessive soil test P and water soluble P; Surface application to fields to reduce soluble P in runoff water; Co-application or blending of WTR with organic residuals (e.g. manures, biosolids) to reduce P solubility and runoff P. Results from benchmark case studies will be presented. Future research needs on the use of this material will focus on use of characterization data to determine application rates or blending amounts required to achieve "targeted" reduction in P solubility and transport. Research in progress research needs that focus on the use of endpoint data (i.e. water soluble P, soil test P, runoff P) to determine risk reduction to surface waters / watersheds associated with beneficial use of WTR will be discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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