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Article

Nitrate Removal and Woodchip Properties across a Paired Denitrifying Bioreactor Treating Centralized Agricultural Ditch Flows

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Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, AW-101 Turner Hall, MC-046, 1102 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL 61801-4730, USA
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Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801-4713, USA
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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801-2350, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jeff Strock
Water 2022, 14(1), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/w14010056
Received: 2 December 2021 / Revised: 20 December 2021 / Accepted: 23 December 2021 / Published: 28 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Water, Agriculture and Aquaculture)
Treatment of nitrate loads by denitrifying bioreactors in centralized drainage ditches that receive subsurface tile drainage may offer a more effective alternative to end-of-pipe bioreactors. A paired denitrifying bioreactor design, consisting of an in-ditch bioreactor (18.3 × 2.1 × 0.2 m) treating ditch base flow and a diversion bioreactor (4.6 × 9.1 × 0.9 m) designed to treat high-flow events, was designed and constructed in an agricultural watershed (3.2 km2 drainage area) in Illinois, USA. Flow and water chemistry were monitored for three years and the woodchip and bioreactor-associated soil were analyzed for denitrification potential and chemical properties after 25 months. The in-ditch bioreactor did not significantly reduce nitrate concentrations in the ditch, likely due to low hydraulic connectivity with stream water and sedimentation. The diversion bioreactor significantly reduced nitrate concentrations (58% average reduction) but treated only ~2% of annual ditch flow. Denitrification potential was significantly higher in the in-ditch bioreactor woodchips versus the diversion bioreactor after 25 months (2950 ± 580 vs. 620 ± 310 ng N g−1 dry media h−1). The passive flow design was simple to construct and did not restrict flow in the drainage ditch but resulted in low hydraulic exchange, limiting nitrate removal. View Full-Text
Keywords: passive treatment; denitrification potential; drainage ditch; carbon; water quality; ecological engineering passive treatment; denitrification potential; drainage ditch; carbon; water quality; ecological engineering
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MDPI and ACS Style

Maxwell, B.; Christianson, L.; Cooke, R.A.C.; Foltz, M.; Wickramarathne, N.; Chacon, R.; Christianson, R. Nitrate Removal and Woodchip Properties across a Paired Denitrifying Bioreactor Treating Centralized Agricultural Ditch Flows. Water 2022, 14, 56. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14010056

AMA Style

Maxwell B, Christianson L, Cooke RAC, Foltz M, Wickramarathne N, Chacon R, Christianson R. Nitrate Removal and Woodchip Properties across a Paired Denitrifying Bioreactor Treating Centralized Agricultural Ditch Flows. Water. 2022; 14(1):56. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14010056

Chicago/Turabian Style

Maxwell, Bryan, Laura Christianson, Richard A.C. Cooke, Mary Foltz, Niranga Wickramarathne, Ronnie Chacon, and Reid Christianson. 2022. "Nitrate Removal and Woodchip Properties across a Paired Denitrifying Bioreactor Treating Centralized Agricultural Ditch Flows" Water 14, no. 1: 56. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14010056

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