State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2012AR336B
Title: Development and Implementation of Nutrient Runoff Reduction Measures for Poultry Houses
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2012
End Date: 2/28/2013
Congressional District: 3rd District
Focus Categories: Agriculture, Nutrients, Water Quality
Keywords: Chemical filters, nutrient transport, phosphorus runoff, poultry litter management,
Principal Investigators: Sharpley, Andrew; Miller, David M.
Federal Funds: $ 21,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 42,005
Abstract: The poultry industry in northwest Arkansas is currently promoting implementation of a state-regulated stormwater program for all poultry farms in nutrient surplus watersheds, as an alternative to each farm being required to have an NPDES permit, which would be nationally regulated by U.S. EPA. The stormwater pollution prevention plans would include installation of various filter media to reduce sediment, phosphorus (P), and nitrogen (N) in stormwater from around the production facilities. This project will determine the extent to which nutrients (in particulate and dissolved forms) can be lost from around the poultry houses during rainfall-runoff, evaluate BMPs to mitigate these losses where appropriate, and develop farm management guidelines for certified reduction compliance. Specifically, the research project includes three phases:

Phase I) Compare the efficiency of filter media which already exists on the market for treatment of stormwater runoff from construction and industrial sites, with other media to be developed from locally-sourced materials. Filter media will be designed from locally available residuals (aluminum sulfate) from the Beaver Water Treatment Plant, and other potential sources (such as red mud from Bauxite). The filter media will be evaluated for particulate removal and P sorptive and N retention capacities, as well as for the release of any metals or anions that might be detrimental to the success of the specific media using standard equilibration studies in the laboratory. The performance of select design materials will then be compared using constructed flumes (fluvariums), where controlled flow rates and velocities will determine how effective the media function under extreme flow conditions (e.g., 100-year, 24-hour storms). Runoff used in the fluvariums will be spiked with poultry litter dust to simulate concentrations equivalent to those found under fans at the farm. These comparisons will allow us to determine which media and support configuration is the most effective at nutrient removal.

Phase II) Develop a SP4 plan for the university's poultry farm at Savoy. The intent is to create a demonstration site for various structures and media to capture particulates and nutrients, especially N and P, in runoff around the houses prior to stormwater leaving the site. The plan will include: 1) using natural channels and grassed drainage swales to channelize runoff; 2) installing select filter media placed in socks and then inside rice straw wattles in the drainage swales; 3) installing wattles with filter media on the ground outside around tunnel ventilation fans; and 4) installing gutters above fans, along with filter socks at the end of downspouts. Stormwater collection and analysis (i.e., volume, N, P, and particulates) will be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of each of the approaches tested.

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