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Fecal Coliform and E.coli in Surface Runoff and Subsurface Tile Drainage from Manure and Fertilizer Treated Field Plots.

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

Citation:  Paper number  032319,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15397)
Authors:   Howard Y.F. Ng, Jennifer Sifton, Ramesh Rudra and John Whiteside
Keywords:   Surface runoff, subsurface drainage, liquid manure, fecal coliform, E. coli

The total coliform and E.coli density in surface runoff and in tile effluent were investigated in two field plots. One of the field plots was treated with fresh liquid manure at 10,000 L/ha while the other plot maintained no manure treatment. The cumulative coliform count in surface runoff from the manure treated plot was about 1.4 (9225/6716) times more than the non-manure treated plot. The cumulative E. coli count in surface runoff from the manure treated plot was about 1.9 (3472/192) times more than the non-manure treated plot. This implies that manure had potentially impacted the surface runoff. The ratio of cumulative coliform between the manure treated plot and the non-manure treated plot in tile effluent is almost equal, being 1.1 (5071/4777). Similarly, the ratio of cumulative E.coli between the manure treated plot to the non-manure treated plot in tile effluent is 1.9 (234/125) suggesting that the manure treated plot promoted potential leaching of E.coli through soil medium to tile drainage water.

The reliability of test results for coliform and E.coli was assessed at 90% confidence limit. The results of assessment for coliform and E.coli in surface runoff are consistent on the manure treated plot, whereas coliform and E.coli in surface runoff in non-manure treated plot are being random occurrences.

The magnitude of the coliform and E.coli density in the tile effluent depended on the manure application rate. The results of this study further implied that other sources such as fecal deposits from birds and wildlife also can contribute significantly. This study showed that cropped land appeared to be attractive to wildlife and birds because of food sources it provided. Thus, increases in fecal deposits are inevitable.

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