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

Citation:  Paper number  701P0304,  . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15725)
Authors:   G. W. Stratton, A. Madani, R. J. Gordon, K. Sharples, T. Coulter, and A. Thiagarajan
Keywords:   fecal coliforms, E. coli, Escherichia coli, drainage water, runoff, surface flow, subsurface flow, leachate, survival

The Nova Scotia Water Quality Research Group at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada, monitors the environmental effects of agricultural operations in Atlantic Canada. One aspect of this research is the monitoring of surface and subsurface drainage water for manure-derived fecal coliforms and Escherichia coli. This occurs at farms where drainage water discharges into heated monitoring sheds containing tipping buckets, data recorders and autosamplers. The effects of various farm practices on the movement of E. coli into drainage water has been investigated. Bacterial levels are normally highest at the beginning of each drainage flow event and then decrease as the event progresses. The levels subsequently increase with each new flow event. Viable fecal bacteria can be recovered in drainage water many months after manure application. This pattern has been noted in both surface runoff and subsurface drainage water. E. coli numbers in soil decline to non-detectable levels within four to five months after a spring manure application on small scale plots and three to four months after a summer application. Regrowth of E. coli occurs in all manure treated plots. Manure application technique does not appear to influence the population decline. Higher E. coli numbers appear in leachate when manure is applied under spring conditions as compared to summer conditions. The transport of E. coli is delayed when manure is incorporated into the soil as compared to when it is surface broadcast.

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