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Cycling of Biosolids through Turfgrass Sod Prevents Sediment and Nutrient Loss

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

Citation:  Watershed ManWatershed Management to Meet Water Quality Standards and TMDLS (Total Maximum Daily Load) Proceedings of the 10-14 March 2007, San Antonio, Texas  701P0207.(doi:10.13031/2013.22463)
Authors:   Ronnie W Schnell, Donald M Vietor, Richard H White, Clyde L Munster, Tony L Provin
Keywords:   Compost, biosolids, turfgrass, sod, phosphorus, runoff, sediment, mass loss

Land application of large, volume-based rates of municipal biosolids (MB) enhances soil physical properties and provides an alternative to disposal in landfills. Yet, topdressing or incorporation of the volume-based rates can increase non-point source losses of sediment and nutrients from excavated soils to surface waters. Cycling of MB through turfgrass sod produced on agricultural fields and transplanted back to urban landscapes could reduce non-point source losses of sediment compared to excavated soils amended with MB. Three research objectives were developed to evaluate the options for minimizing sediment and nutrient loss during cycling of MB through turfgrass sod. The first objective was to compare Tifway bermudagrass sod production between fields grown with and without MB under increasing rates of supplemental fertilizer N. The percent turfgrass cover of the MB-amended soil remained consistently greater (P=0.05) than the un-amended treatment throughout establishment and resulted in lighter sod weights with greater water content. The second objective was to compare runoff losses between excavated soils planted to sprigs or transplanted sod, with and without MB amendments. Runoff concentrations and mass loss of total dissolved P (TDP) were significantly greater (P=0.001) for MB-amended compared to un-amended sod. In addition, TDP concentration in runoff from MB-amended sod was greater (P=0.05) than excavated soil mixed with MB and bermudagrass sprigs. The third objective was to relate runoff loss of TDP to extractable soil P concentrations. A linear relationship was observed between water extractable P of soil and concentrations and mass loss of TDP in runoff.

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