Reduction of nutrient loads from agricultural subsurface drainage water in a small, edge-of-field constructed treatment wetland

Brad A. Gordon, Christian Lenhart, Heidi Peterson, Joshua Gamble, John Nieber, Dean Current, Ashley Brenke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Constructed treatment wetlands are a common practice for filtering nitrogen from agricultural sub-surface (i.e. tile) drainage in the Midwest. Wetland size recommendations typically depend on watershed size, but little is known about the effectiveness of wetlands with a pooled area as small as 0.11 ha combined with a high infiltration rate and sub-surface treatment. A small, edge-of-field wetland treating tile drainage from a 10.1-ha row-crop field was constructed in 2013 adjacent to Elm Creek in Martin County, MN. The water, nitrate‑nitrogen (NO3-N), and phosphorus (P) budgets were determined for 2013 to 2016. The wetland received an annual average of 12.6 m drainage water, 185 kg NO3-N, and 1.3 kg total phosphorus (TP) each of the four years of this study. It removed 67% of the input NO3, but TP removal was inconclusive. The majority of NO3 was removed in the shallow groundwater flow after it infiltrated from the surface. Approximately 3.2 kg-P ha−1 yr−1 was removed by harvesting the vegetation in the wetland. Therefore, it can be concluded that NO3 removal in the shallow groundwater and TP removal through vegetation harvest were the primary means of removing each nutrient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106128
JournalEcological Engineering
Volume160
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture through the Clean Water Legacy Fund and by the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota .

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture through the Clean Water Legacy Fund and by the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.

Keywords

  • Best management practice
  • Nitrate
  • Phosphorus
  • Subsurface tile drainage
  • Treatment wetland
  • Vegetation harvest

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