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Water Quality Implications of Using Composted Organics on Highway Rights-of-Way

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

Citation:  Paper number  022052,  2002 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.9166) @2002
Authors:   T.D. Glanville, R.A. Persyn, T.L. Richard
Keywords:   erosion, runoff, roads, construction, composts, metals, nutrients

Runoff from roadside test plots amended with three types of composted organics was compared with runoff from control plots (compacted subsoil) and plots treated with topsoil. Although one of the composts (biosolids) contained significantly (p<0.05) higher concentrations of N, P, K, and nine metals than the control soil or the topsoil, this compost also did a good job of retaining these potential water pollutants. As a result, Zn and P were the only soluble pollutants found in significantly higher concentrations in runoff from plots amended with biosolids than in runoff from the subsoil and topsoil plots. Concentrations of N, P, and four metals in sediment eroded from the biosolids compost also were significantly higher than in the topsoil or control soil sediment. Due in part to significantly lower runoff and erosion from the biosolids compost, however, the total masses of seven metals were significantly lower in runoff from plots treated with biosolids compost. Only total P was significantly higher in the biosolids compost runoff.

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