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Mass balance of water and nitrogen in the mounded drainfield of a drip-dispersal septic system

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doi: 10.2134/jeq2016.02.0043
Authors:De, Mriganka; Toor, Gurpal S.
Author Affiliations:Primary:
University of Florida, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Soil and Water Quality Laboratory, Wimauma, FL, United States
Volume Title:Journal of Environmental Quality
Source:and [Journal of Environmental Quality, 45(4), p.1392-1399. Publisher: American Society of Agronomy,] Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, Madison, WI, United States. ISSN: 0047-2425
Publication Date:2016
Note:In English. 51 refs.; illus., incl. 3 tables
Summary:Quantitative assessment of nitrogen (N) loading from septic systems is needed to protect groundwater contamination. We determined the mass balance of water and N in the mounded drainfield of a drip-dispersal septic system. Three lysimeters (152.4 cm long, 91.4 cm wide, 91.4 cm high, with 1:1 side slope) were constructed using pressure-treated wood to mimic mounded drainfields. Of total water inputs, septic tank effluent (STE) added 57% water and natural rainfall added 43% water from January 2013 to January 2014. Outputs included leached water (46%) from the lysimeters over 67 sampling events (n = 15 daily and n = 52 weekly flow-weighted), potential evapotranspiration (28%), and water stored in the drainfields (26%). Over 13 mo, each drainfield received 227 g of total N (STE, 99%; rainfall, 1%), of which 33% leached, 23% accumulated in the drainfield, and 6% was taken up by grass, with the remainder (38%) estimated to be gaseous N loss. Using these data, the leaching of water from 2.5 million drip-dispersal drainfields in the state of Florida was estimated to be 2.29 × 1011 L yr-1, which would transport 2.4 × 106 kg of total N yr-1 from the drainfields to shallow groundwater. Further reduction of N below drainfields in the soil profile could be expected before STE reaches groundwater. Our results provide quantitative information on the water and N loading and can be used to optimize drainfield conditions to attenuate N and protect groundwater quality.
Subjects:Aquifers; Concentration; Critical load; Effluents; Experimental studies; Ground water; Leachate; Leaching; Lysimeters; Mass balance; Monitoring; Nitrification; Nitrogen; Pollution; Rainfall; Seasonal variations; Septic systems; Shallow aquifers; Soil profiles; Water pollution; Water quality; Florida; United States; Wimauma Florida
Coordinates:N274500 N274600 W0821300 W0821400
Record ID:798690-11
Copyright Information:GeoRef, Copyright 2021 American Geosciences Institute.
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