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Using artificial fluorescent particles as tracers of livestock wastes within an agricultural catchment

Granger, Steve J.; Bol, Roland; Hawkins, Jane M.B.; White, Sue M.; Naden, Pamela S.; Old, Gareth H.; Marsh, Jon K.; Bilotta, Gary S.; Brazier, Richard E.; Macleod, Christopher J.A.; Haygarth, Philip M.. 2011 Using artificial fluorescent particles as tracers of livestock wastes within an agricultural catchment. Science of the Total Environment, 409. 1095-1103. 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.12.005

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Abstract/Summary

Evidence for the movement of agricultural slurry and associated pollutants into surface waters is often anecdotal, particularly with relation to its ‘particulate’ components which receive less attention than ‘bio-available’ soluble phases. To assess the extent of movement of slurry particles artificial fluorescent particles were mixed with slurry and applied to a field sub-catchment within a headwater catchment. Particles were 2–60 μm in diameter and two different densities, 2.7 and 1.2 g cm–3 representing ‘inorganic’ and ‘organic’ material. Water samples from the field and catchment outlet were collected during two storm events following slurry application and analysed for particle and suspended sediment concentrations (SSC). SSC from the field and catchment outlet always formed clockwise hysteresis loops indicating sediment exhaustion and particles of the two densities were always found to be positively correlated. Particles from the field formed clockwise hysteresis loops during the first discharge event after slurry application, but anti-clockwise hysteresis loops during the second monitored event which indicated a depletion of readily mobilisable particles. Particles from the catchment outlet always formed anticlockwise hysteresis loops. Particle size became finer spatially, between field and catchment outlet, and temporally, between successive storm events. The results indicate that slurry particles may be readily transported within catchments but that different areas may contribute to pollutant loads long after the main peak in SSC has passed. The density of the particles did not appear to have any effect on particle transport however the size of the particles may play a more important role in the 2–60 μm range.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.12.005
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 onwards > Water > WA Topic 2 - Ecohydrological Processes
CEH Sections: Acreman
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: tracing, particles, animal waste, agricultural catchments, storm events
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Hydrology
Date made live: 10 Feb 2011 10:26
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/12709

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