State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2012ND260B
Title: Role of Agricultural Drainage on Transport of Cryptosporidium oocysts in North Dakota
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2012
End Date: 2/28/2013
Congressional District: 001
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Agriculture
Keywords: Agricultural drainage, Cryptosporidium oocysts, Transport
Principal Investigators: Eakalak, Khan (North Dakota State University); McEvoy, John
Federal Funds: $ 7,500
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 15,000
Abstract: The mechanism of Cryptosporidium transport in the environment remains poorly understood. Cattle and other livestock are reservoirs of human pathogenic Cryptosporidium species. Application of liquid manure to fields is a common practice in many North American farm operations. Fertilizing agricultural lands with manure contaminated with Cryptosporidium can result in cryptosporidiosis outbreaks. Severity of the public health concerns can be estimated by the fact that ingestion of contaminated water containing as few as 10 oocysts can lead to cryptosporidiosis. Surface runoff from agricultural fields and animal facilities contain Cryptosporidium which pose a health hazard for animals and humans. The Cryptosporidium from the runoff can settle in the sediments of the river. Spring thaw can affects the resuspension of Cryptosporidium affecting the quality of river water. Sudden snowmelts can mean higher streamflow causing floods and resuspension of Cryptosporidium. It is essential to study transport of Cryptosporidium in river sediments.

The specific objectives of the proposed study are as follows:

  1. To investigate adsorption and desorption of Cryptosporidium parvum on the soils obtained from agricultural fields in North Dakota.
  2. To determine the effects of agricultural drainage systems on the transport of Cryptosporidium parvum through the soils obtained from agricultural fields in North Dakota by simulating subsurface tile drains in a soil box.
  3. To study the transport of Cryptosporidium found in the manure applied to a subsurface drained agricultural field in North Dakota.

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