Agricultural drainage ditches function as first-order streams and affect nutrient management. Soil mesocosms from a ditch featuring a vertical (increasing upward) gradient in iron (Fe) and phosphorus (P) were subjected to hydraulic and soil treatments. These manipulations mimicked aspects of dredging and controlled drainage and inspected the soil release and retention of P. Treatments did not remove P from simulated groundwater. Throughput water either gained in P (lack of dredging, especially under Fe-reducing conditions) or had P concentrations indistinguishable from input water (dredging). Undredged mesocosms, when Fe-reducing, released Fe and P simultaneously. Simultaneous release of P and Fe from our Fereducing mesocosms indicates a mechanism whereby P capture occurs by Fe precipitation upon emergence to aerated surficial waters. Upwelling and surficial phases of ditch hydrology and the lowering of the ditch surface on dredging complicate interpretation of traditional means of describing ditch P retention and release.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Water Science and Technology
- Waste Management and Disposal
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law