Nutrient, pH, Alkalinity, and Ionic Property Levels in Runoff Containment Basins in Alabama, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and Virginia Ornamental Plant Nurseries


Nine runoff containment basins (RCBs), used directly or indirectly for irrigating plants in ornamental plant nurseries, and one adjacent stream were sampled for water quality between Feb. and July 2013 in Maryland (MD), Mississippi (MS), and Virginia (VA). Triplicate water samples were taken monthly. Analysis was done for 18 water quality variables including nitrate-nitrogen (NO3- L-N) and ammonium-nitrogen (NH4+-N), orthophosphate-phosphorus (PO4-P) and total-phosphorus (T-P), potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, aluminum, boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese, zinc (Zn), pH, total alkalinity (T-Alk), electrical conductivity (EC), and sodium. Additionally, 15 RCBs from 10 nurseries in Alabama (AL), Louisiana (LA), and MS were sampled in 2014 and 2016. Most prevalent correlations (P = 0.01) were between macronutrients, EC, B, Fe, and Zn, but none were prevalent across a majority of RCBs. Water quality parameter values were mostly present at low to preferred levels in all 25 waterways. Macronutrient levels were highest for a RCB that receives fertility from fertigation derived runoff. Water pH ranged from acidic to alkaline (> 8). Results of this study show water quality in RCBs can be suitable for promoting plant health in ornamental plant nurseries, but also shows levels will vary between individual RCBs, therefore demonstrates need to verify water quality from individual water sources.



recycling pond, nutrient analysis, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, aluminum, boron, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, electrical conductivity, sodium