Swine lagoon effluent on a soil-plant environment : an impact assessment


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Water Resources Research Center, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Th is investigation studied the performance of two biological treatment units for a swine production unit. One unit was maintained as an anaerobic system, the other as a mixed aerated unit by means of a floating mechanical aerator. Wastes were flushed into each unit by recirculation of effluent. Analysis of the supernatant of both systems showed that, with time, accumulations of heavy metals and other elements increased.

Effluent from both treatment systems was irrigated on fescue plots, and effects on soil, soil water, and plant tissue then were determined. While no visible deleterious effects were noted over a period of one and one half years, both plant tissue and soils recorded accumulation or high uptake of Na, Cu, and Zn; over extended periods, these effects could be serious if not controlled. Nitrate leaching from plots was minimal. Other waste constituents measured did not appear to be limiting in land disposal of swine lagoon effluent.