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Movement of leachate from beneath turkey litter sited over chalk in southern England

Gooddy, Daren. 2002 Movement of leachate from beneath turkey litter sited over chalk in southern England. Journal of Environmental Science and Health Part B, 37 (1). 81-91. 10.1081/PFC-120002900

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Abstract/Summary

Farm waste stores are widespread in the UK, with many overlying the principal aquifer, the Chalk. The stores pose a threat to groundwater quality through the infiltration of high concentrations of nitrogen species and organic carbon together with pathogenic microbes. Two cored boreholes have been drilled into the unsaturated chalk to depths of 15 and 20 metres, respectively, through a site which has been used to store turkey litter for in excess of 20 years. Porewaters were extracted from the cores and analysed for a range of chemical elements. In addition, chalk core material was also taken for microbial examination. Both boreholes showed very high concentrations of nitrate-N (3000 mg/L), ammonia (5000 mg/L), organic carbon (3000 mg/L), and potassium (10,000 mg/L) in the top 5 metres of the profile. Below this depth concentrations declined dramatically. Highest concentrations were found in the borehole constructed in the middle of the site. The borehole constructed at the edge of the store showed much lower concentrations but did show a peak of nitrate around 10 metres below ground level. The apparent lack of movement beneath the centre of the store suggests the turkey litter is relatively impermeable and most leaching occurs where the covering of litter is thin or when the litter is annually cleared. If the leachate continues to migrate at this apparent rate, it will take more than 100 years to reach the water table.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1081/PFC-120002900
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Groundwater Management
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Point source pollution
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Hydrology
Related URLs:
Date made live: 23 Jul 2009 09:36
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/7777

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