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Effectiveness of Denitrifying Bioreactors on Water Pollutant Reduction from Agricultural Areas

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Christianson, L. E., Cooke, R. A., Hay, C. H., Helmers, M. J., Feyereisen, G. W., Ranaivoson, A. Z., McMaine, J. T., McDaniel, R., Rosen, T. R., Pluer, W. T., Schipper, L. A., Dougherty, H., Robinson, R. J., Layden, I. A., Irvine-Brown, S. M., Manca, F., Dhaese, K., Nelissen, V. and von Ahnen, M. (2021) Effectiveness of Denitrifying Bioreactors on Water Pollutant Reduction from Agricultural Areas. Transactions of the ASABE, 64 (2). pp. 641-658. ISSN 2151-0032


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.13031/trans.14011

Publisher URL: https://elibrary.asabe.org/abstract.asp?aid=52168&t=3


HighlightsDenitrifying woodchip bioreactors treat nitrate-N in a variety of applications and geographies.This review focuses on subsurface drainage bioreactors and bed-style designs (including in-ditch).Monitoring and reporting recommendations are provided to advance bioreactor science and engineering. Denitrifying bioreactors enhance the natural process of denitrification in a practical way to treat nitrate-nitrogen (N) in a variety of N-laden water matrices. The design and construction of bioreactors for treatment of subsurface drainage in the U.S. is guided by USDA-NRCS Conservation Practice Standard 605. This review consolidates the state of the science for denitrifying bioreactors using case studies from across the globe with an emphasis on full-size bioreactor nitrate-N removal and cost-effectiveness. The focus is on bed-style bioreactors (including in-ditch modifications), although there is mention of denitrifying walls, which broaden the applicability of bioreactor technology in some areas. Subsurface drainage denitrifying bioreactors have been assessed as removing 20% to 40% of annual nitrate-N loss in the Midwest, and an evaluation across the peer-reviewed literature published over the past three years showed that bioreactors around the world have been generally consistent with that (N load reduction median: 46%; mean ±SD: 40% ±26%; n = 15). Reported N removal rates were on the order of 5.1 g N m-3 d-1 (median; mean ±SD: 7.2 ±9.6 g N m-3 d-1; n = 27). Subsurface drainage bioreactor installation costs have ranged from less than $5,000 to $27,000, with estimated cost efficiencies ranging from less than $2.50 kg-1 N year-1 to roughly $20 kg-1 N year-1 (although they can be as high as $48 kg-1 N year-1). A suggested monitoring setup is described primarily for the context of conservation practitioners and watershed groups for assessing annual nitrate-N load removal performance of subsurface drainage denitrifying bioreactors. Recommended minimum reporting measures for assessing and comparing annual N removal performance include: bioreactor dimensions and installation date; fill media size, porosity, and type; nitrate-N concentrations and water temperatures; bioreactor flow treatment details; basic drainage system and bioreactor design characteristics; and N removal rate and efficiency.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Horticulture and Forestry Science
Additional Information:Open access
Keywords:Groundwater Nitrate Nonpoint-source pollution Subsurface drainage Tile.
Subjects:Science > Biology > Biochemistry
Science > Biology > Ecology
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agricultural chemistry. Agricultural chemicals
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Methods and systems of culture. Cropping systems
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soil conservation and protection
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Fertilisers
Live Archive:05 Jul 2021 03:10
Last Modified:03 Sep 2021 16:46

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