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Overview of Research on the Quality of Drainage Water in Atlantic Canada

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Paper number  032363,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.14040) @2003
Authors:   G.W. Stratton, S.A. Madani, R.J. Gordon
Keywords:   Drainage water, E. coli, nitrate, phosphate, water quality

The Nova Scotia Water Quality Research Group at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada has initiated a management plan to monitor the environmental effects of agriculture in Atlantic Canada. The goal is to reduce the environmental risks associated with agriculture. One aspect is the monitoring of tile drainage water for components that are of concern when evaluating surface water quality. These include concentrations of nitrate-nitrogen and phosphate-P, and the numbers of fecal coliforms/Escherichia coli. This paper will deal with drainage water from fields treated with inorganic fertilizers and manure, under a number of management systems, including standard crop rotations and no-till systems. These data have been collected from sites throughout Nova Scotia, including pasture and crop fields that have drainage systems leading to automated monitoring sheds. Together, these data outline trends in nutrient and pathogen fluxes from agricultural activities and some of the factors that influence these problems. Such information is critical to developing better management practices designed to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture.

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