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Water 2017, 9(7), 501; doi:10.3390/w9070501

Nutrient Leaching When Soil Is Part of Plant Growth Media

United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service-National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment (USDA-ARS-NLAE), 1015 N. University Blvd., Ames, IA 50011, USA
Received: 14 June 2017 / Revised: 30 June 2017 / Accepted: 7 July 2017 / Published: 11 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Additives in Stormwater Filters for Enhanced Pollutant Removal)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [208 KB, uploaded 11 July 2017]


Soils can serve as sorbents for phosphorus (P), negating the need for artificial sorbents. The purpose of this study was to compare soils with different properties for their effect on nutrient levels in effluent. Four soils were mixed with sand and packed into columns 0.5 m long, with or without compost on the surface. Infiltration and effluent concentrations were measured before and after growing plants [Buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.) and bluegrama grasses (Bouteloua gracilis H.B.K.) and red clover (Trifolium pratense L.)]. The growth media with compost at the surface had higher nutrient levels than the media without the compost, but the final effluent nitrate concentrations post-harvest were significantly lower for columns with the compost blanket (59 vs. 86 mg L−1). All of the nitrate concentrations were high (many >100 mg L−1) due to mineralization and nitrogen fixation. The final effluent P concentrations before planting were significantly higher in the soil with the most sand (0.71 mg L−1), and after harvest in the mixture that contained the high soil P levels (0.58 mg L−1). Some soils (high in aluminum or calcium) were adequate sorbents for P without additions of other sorbents, but soils often generated too much nitrate in effluent. View Full-Text
Keywords: bioretention cell; nutrient leaching; soil sorbents bioretention cell; nutrient leaching; soil sorbents
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Logsdon, S.D. Nutrient Leaching When Soil Is Part of Plant Growth Media. Water 2017, 9, 501.

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