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Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Protecting Surface Water Quality Through Utilization of Industrial By-Products to Reduce Nutrient Transport in Sensitive Agriculture-Dominated Ecosystems

EPA Grant Number: SU831864
Title: Protecting Surface Water Quality Through Utilization of Industrial By-Products to Reduce Nutrient Transport in Sensitive Agriculture-Dominated Ecosystems
Investigators: Coale, Frank J.
Institution: University of Maryland
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: September 30, 2004 through May 30, 2005
Project Amount: $15,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004)
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Ecosystems , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


Eutrophication is a problem that plagues the Chesapeake Bay. Rainfall induces surface runoff and erosion of the top layer of the soil that consequently generates a flow of phosphorus into the bay and its tributaries. This excess phosphorus fuels eutrophication and an over production of algae which compete with the aquatic flora and fauna for sunlight and oxygen. Poultry are fed grains that are rich in both nitrogen and phosphorus and the birds are relatively inefficient in utilizing the feed nutrients for growth and development. Consequently, the manure generated by poultry also is rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. Certain chemical forms of phosphorus bind very tightly to the soil and resist movement with drainage water. Numerous by-products from industrial manufacturers and water treatment facilities possess substantial phosphorus retention qualities. These low-value industrial and municipal by-products, which often pose disposal challenges for the facilities that generate them, may be applied to high phosphorus soil to increase the phosphorus retention capacity of the soil and reduce the potential for phosphorus runoff to surface water. The main goal of our research is to study the phosphorus retention capacity of agricultural soils amended with various industrial and municipal by-products and then to devise a plan for large-scale implementation of a program that would promote their use as best management practices for minimizing phosphorus loss from agricultural lands.

Supplemental Keywords:

watersheds, groundwater, land, soil, sediments, estuary, ecological effects, bioavailability, effluent, ecosystem, terrestrial, pollution prevention, remediation, environmental chemistry, biology, Atlantic coast, Chesapeake Bay, agriculture., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Environmental Chemistry, Aquatic Ecosystem, Ecology and Ecosystems, eutrophication, agricultural watersheds, algal blooms, aquatic ecosystems, environmental stress, phosphorus

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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