Transport of Escherichia coli, chloride, and nitrate through disturbed and undisturbed soil columns
de Jong, E.
Current livestock production techniques often require the surface application of large quantities of manure. In 1996 Saskatchewan had 2.8 million cattle and 0.9 million hogs, conservative estimates suggest that this number of cattle and hogs produce approximately 60 000 Mg of manure day-1. This number is expected to be even higher today, and would certainly be much higher if other livestock such as poultry were included. The most common disposal method for this manure is application on or in the soil. The growing environmental awareness of our society, coupled with the increased number of large-scale livestock production facilities, has greatly increased concerns regarding ground water quality. These concerns are caused by the potential for nitrate and pathogenic microorganisms such as Escherichia coli (E.coli) to be leached from the soil surface into ground water. The objective of this research was to characterize the transport of E.coli and nitrate through soil. Experiments involved leaching E.coli, nitrate, chloride and potassium through disturbed soil columns under saturated and unsaturated conditions. Transport through undisturbed columns was also studied in saturated conditions. Effluent from these columns was analyzed, both chemically and microbiologically. Results of this analysis showed that E.coli can be preferentially transported through both disturbed and undisturbed soil columns.
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