THE IMPACT OF CHEMICALLY AMENDED PIG GREENHOUSE GASSES

THE IMPACT OF CHEMICALLY AMENDED PIG GREENHOUSE GASSES
NATIONAL UNIVERSITY OF IRELAND, GALWAY
THE IMPACT OF CHEMICALLY AMENDED PIG
SLURRY ON SURFACE RUNOFF, LEACHATE AND
GREENHOUSE GASSES
Cornelius J. O’ Flynn, B.E. (Hons), B. Eng. (Ord), H. Cert.
Research Supervisors:
Dr. Mark G. Healy, Civil Engineering, NUI Galway
Dr. Owen Fenton, Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, Wexford
Professor Padraic E. O’Donoghue, Civil Engineering, NUI Galway
Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
May 2013
The National University of Ireland requires the signatures of all persons using or
photocopying this thesis. Please sign below, and give the address and date.
i
Abstract
In Ireland, the pig industry is concentrated in a small number of counties. Pig farms typically
have a high stocking rate. Therefore, the disposal of slurry in a cost-effective and
environmentally-responsible way is a serious issue for farmers. Slurry is commonly applied
to land, but this may not be possible if the land is at, or approaching, phosphorus (P)
saturation. As pig farmers dispose of slurry in the vicinity of their properties, most of the
nearby land is at P saturation, so alternative treatment methods need to be utilised (e.g.
constructed wetlands, anaerobic digestion, filtration) or the slurry needs to be transported to
another location. These alternatives are not currently financially viable in Ireland. Existing
legislation (S.I. 610 of 2010) and recent changes in the implementation of legislation
governing the timing and quantities of slurry that may be applied to land, means that pig
farmers will no longer be able to exceed the maximum legal application rate to land (from
January 2017). European policy aiming to intensify pig production will only accentuate this
problem. If pig farmers are forced, in exceptional circumstances, to land apply slurry to
unsuitable land, surface and subsurface losses of nutrients and suspended solids (SS) may
occur. This could be potentially problematic if the land is located in a critical source area
(CSA), an area that is highly likely to pollute receiving waters.
In these circumstances, a possible novel solution is to chemically amend the pig slurry prior
to landspreading. This would mean that pig farmers may, in exceptional circumstances,
utilise the land in the vicinity of their farms for landspreading, without releasing excessive
nutrients and SS into receiving waters. However, knowledge gaps exist concerning the type
of amendments to be used, the characteristics of the soil on which they can be most
effectively used, and their impact on incidental (short-term) and chronic (long-term) losses of
nutrients, SS and greenhouse gas (GHG) to surface and subsurface water and the atmosphere.
Therefore, the aims of this project were to: (1) identify the most appropriate chemical
amendments, and their addition rates, to reduce P losses in runoff from pig slurry based on
effectiveness, cost and feasibility; (2) investigate the impacts of these chemical amendments
on nutrient losses in leachate, soil properties and GHG emissions; and (3) identify suitable
soil types on which to landspread chemically-amended pig slurry.
ii
Laboratory bench-scale experiments were designed to identify the amendments which had the
potential to reduce P in overland runoff and to quantify the stoichiometric rates at which to
add them to the slurry. Based on effectiveness, cost and feasibility, the amendments identified
were alum, which reduced dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) in overlying water by 86%,
poly-aluminium chloride (PAC) (73%) and ferric chloride (FeCl3) (71%). Following these
bench-scale experiments, rainfall simulation experiments were conducted to quantify the
impact of chemical amendments to slurry on surface runoff losses at various time intervals
from the time of application. Poly-aluminium chloride performed best in these experiments.
For the first time, the effect of these amendments on GHG emissions, soil properties and
leachate was also examined. Chemical amendment did not adversely affect GHG emissions,
soil properties or leachate from pig slurry, but FeCl3 increased nitrous oxide (N2O) and
carbon dioxide (CO2) losses. Finally, a 3-mo incubation experiment was conducted using a
range of soil types to examine the effect of amendments on the long-term plant availability of
P in soil and P solubility. Alum reduced more water extractable P than PAC, but also resulted
in less plant available P. Considering cost, surface runoff and subsurface leachate losses,
GHG emissions and impacts on soil chemistry, PAC was found to be the most suitable
amendment with which to chemically amend pig slurry.
There is the potential, in combination with existing programmes of measures, to employ
chemical amendment as a measure to mitigate the environmental impact arising from the
landspreading of pig slurry. This should be conducted in targeted areas of the CSA and
should take into account soil type and its chemical properties. Before implementation, these
tests must first be validated in long-term testing at field-scale over a wide variety of soil
types, and include repeated application and incorporation. At present, there is no provision in
legislation for chemical amendments to be used as a mitigation measure in the land
application of pig slurry, but if they are to be utilised, a regulatory framework will need to be
introduced by the relevant bodies.
iii
Declaration
This dissertation is the result of my own work, except where explicit reference is made to the
work of others, and has not been submitted for another qualification to this or any other
university.
Cornelius O’ Flynn
iv
Acknowledgements
I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to my research supervisors, Dr. Mark Healy
and Dr. Owen Fenton, for their invaluable support and guidance throughout this project.
Without their help, none of this would have been possible. I also wish to thank Prof. Padraic
O’ Donoghue and Dr. Stephen Nash for their help during this research study. I am also very
grateful to the Irish Research Council for providing me with the EMBARK scholarship to
fund this project.
This work would not have been possible without tremendous cooperation and help from
many people, in particular fellow post-grads and staff at NUI Galway. A special thanks to Joe
Lucid, Shane Troy, Ray Brennan, Liam Henry, Joanne Finnegan, John Regan, Maebh Grace,
Mary O’ Brien, Maja Drapiewska, Peter Fahy and Colm Walsh for their support and time. I
wish to thanks all my fellow post-grads and friends for supporting me and providing an ideal
work/life balance.
I would also like to thank my girlfriend, Kate, for her kindness and support. Finally, thanks to
my family, for their endless support and encouragement throughout.
v
Abbreviations
AAU
Agricultural Area Used
AD
Anaerobic digestion
AEOS
Agri-Environment Options Scheme
Al
Aluminium
AlCl3
Aluminium chloride
Al-WTR
Aluminium-based water treatment residuals
C
Carbon
Ca
Calcium
Ca(OH)2
Lime
CH4
Methane
Co
Cobalt
CO
Carbon monoxide
CO2
Carbon dioxide
CSA
Critical source area
Cu
Copper
CW
Constructed wetland
DM
Dry matter
DP
Dissolved phosphorus
DPS
Degree of phosphorus saturation
DRP
Dissolved reactive phosphorus
DUP
Dissolved un-reactive phosphorus
EC
European Commission
ECD
Electron capture detector
EPA
Environmental Protection Agency
EPC0
Equilibrium phosphorus concentration
EU
European Union
Fe
Iron
FeCl3
Ferric chloride
FGD
Flue gas desulphurization by-product
FID
Flame ionisation detector
FWMC
Flow-weighted mean concentration
FWS
Free water surface
vi
GHG
Greenhouse gas
H2
Hydrogen gas
H2 S
Hydrogen sulphide
ICP
Inductively-coupled plasma
ICW
Integrated Constructed Wetland
IPCC
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
K
Potassium
LOI
Loss on ignition
M3
Mehlich 3
Mg
Magnesium
Mn
Manganese
MRP
Molybdate reactive phosphorus
N
Nitrogen
N2
Di-nitrogen
N2 O
Nitrous oxide
NAP
National Action Programme
Nr
Reactive nitrogen
NH3+
NH4
+
Ammonia
Ammonium
NO2-
Nitrite
NO3-
Nitrate
OM
Organic matter
P
Phosphorus
PAC
Poly-aluminium chloride
Pm
Morgan’s P
POM
Programmes of Measures
PP
Particulate phosphorus
RE
Rainfall event
REPS
Rural Environmental Protection Scheme
SRP
Soluble reactive phosphorus
SS
Suspended sediment
SSF
Subsurface flow
STP
Soil test phosphorus
vii
TC
Total carbon
TCD
Thermal conductivity detector
TDP
Total dissolved phosphorus
TI
Time interval
TIC
Total inorganic carbon
TK
Total potassium
TN
Total nitrogen
TOC
Total organic carbon
TON
Total oxidized nitrogen
TP
Total phosphorus
WC
Water content
WEP
Water extractable phosphorus
WFD
Water Framework Directive
WFPS
Water-filled pore space
WHC
Water holding capacity
Zn
Zinc
viii
Table of contents
Abstract .....................................................................................................................................ii
Declaration............................................................................................................................... iv
Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................. v
Abbreviations .......................................................................................................................... vi
List of Figures ........................................................................................................................ xiv
List of Tables ......................................................................................................................... xvi
Chapter 1 Introduction............................................................................................................ 1
1.1 Pig industry in Europe and Ireland ................................................................................. 1
1.2 Legislation........................................................................................................................... 2
1.3 Water quality in Ireland .................................................................................................... 4
1.3.1 Surface water quality .................................................................................................... 4
1.3.2 Water quality of groundwater ....................................................................................... 5
1.4 Phosphorus mitigation from pig slurry............................................................................ 5
1.4.1 Slurry separation ........................................................................................................... 5
1.4.1.1 Liquid Fraction....................................................................................................... 6
1.4.1.1.1 Constructed Wetlands ..................................................................................... 6
1.4.1.1.2 Woodchip biofilters ........................................................................................ 7
1.4.1.2 Solid Fraction ......................................................................................................... 8
1.4.1.2.1 Composting ..................................................................................................... 8
1.4.1.2.2 Biochar ............................................................................................................ 9
1.4.2 Anaerobic digestion .................................................................................................... 10
1.4.3 Buffer strips ................................................................................................................ 11
1.4.4 Use of P sorbing amendments..................................................................................... 11
1.4.4.1 Amendments applied directly to soil ................................................................... 11
1.4.4.2 Amendments to slurry .......................................................................................... 12
1.5 Knowledge gaps and project aims .................................................................................. 13
1.6 Structure of dissertation .................................................................................................. 14
1.7 Research Output .............................................................................................................. 16
References ............................................................................................................................... 18
ix
Chapter 2 Evaluation of amendments to control phosphorus losses in runoff from pig
slurry applications to land..................................................................................................... 26
Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 26
Abstract ................................................................................................................................... 27
2.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 27
2.2 Materials and Methods .................................................................................................... 29
2.2.1 Slurry collection and characterisation ......................................................................... 29
2.2.2 Soil preparation and analysis ...................................................................................... 29
2.2.3 Batch study to determine potential amendments ........................................................ 30
2.2.4 Agitator Test ............................................................................................................... 32
2.2.5 Cost ............................................................................................................................. 33
2.3 Results ............................................................................................................................... 33
2.3.1 Batch study.................................................................................................................. 33
2.3.2 Agitator test ................................................................................................................. 35
2.3.3 Cost ............................................................................................................................. 35
2.4 Discussion.......................................................................................................................... 38
2.5 Conclusions ....................................................................................................................... 40
2.6 Acknowledgements .......................................................................................................... 41
References ............................................................................................................................... 42
Chapter 3 Impact of pig slurry amendments on phosphorus, suspended sediment and
metal losses in laboratory runoff boxes under simulated rainfall ..................................... 45
Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 45
Abstract ................................................................................................................................... 46
3.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 47
3.2 Materials and Methods .................................................................................................... 51
3.2.1 Slurry collection and characterisation ......................................................................... 51
3.2.2 Soil collection and analysis ......................................................................................... 51
3.2.3 Slurry amendment ....................................................................................................... 52
3.2.4 Rainfall simulation study ............................................................................................ 52
3.2.5 Runoff collection and analysis .................................................................................... 54
3.2.6 Statistical analysis ....................................................................................................... 55
3.3 Results and Discussion..................................................................................................... 56
x
3.3.1 Phosphorus in runoff ................................................................................................... 56
3.3.2 Suspended sediment, metals and pH in runoff............................................................ 60
3.3.3 Outlook for use of amendments as a mitigation measure ........................................... 62
3.4 Conclusions ....................................................................................................................... 63
3.5 Acknowledgements .......................................................................................................... 64
References ............................................................................................................................... 65
Chapter 4 Chemical amendment of pig slurry: control of runoff related risks due to
episodic rainfall events up to 48 h after application ........................................................... 69
Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 69
Abstract ................................................................................................................................... 70
4.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 71
4.2 Materials and Methods .................................................................................................... 72
4.2.1 Slurry collection and characterisation ......................................................................... 72
4.2.2 Pig slurry amendment ................................................................................................. 73
4.2.3 Soil collection and analysis ......................................................................................... 74
4.2.4 Rainfall simulation study ............................................................................................ 74
4.2.5 Statistical analysis ....................................................................................................... 77
4.3 Results ............................................................................................................................... 77
4.3.1 Phosphorus in runoff ................................................................................................... 77
4.3.2 Suspended solids and pH in runoff ............................................................................. 79
4.4 Discussion.......................................................................................................................... 80
4.4.1 Phosphorus in runoff from soil-only ........................................................................... 80
4.4.2 Phosphorus in runoff from unamended slurry ............................................................ 80
4.4.3 The effect of slurry amendment on P losses ............................................................... 81
4.4.4 Suspended solids and pH in runoff ............................................................................. 82
4.4.5 Targeted use of amendments ...................................................................................... 83
4.6 Conclusions ....................................................................................................................... 83
4.7 Acknowledgments ............................................................................................................ 84
References ............................................................................................................................... 86
Chapter 5 Impact of chemically amended pig slurry on greenhouse gas emissions, soil
properties and leachate.......................................................................................................... 91
xi
Introduction ............................................................................................................................ 91
Abstract ................................................................................................................................... 92
5.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................................... 93
5.2 Materials and Methods .................................................................................................... 95
5.2.1 Slurry collection and characterization ........................................................................ 95
5.2.2 Pig slurry amendment ................................................................................................. 96
5.2.3 Soil collection and analysis ......................................................................................... 97
5.2.4 Experimental columns ................................................................................................ 99
5.2.5 Leachate collection and analysis ............................................................................... 100
5.2.6 Destructive soil sampling .......................................................................................... 100
5.2.7 Greenhouse gas emissions ........................................................................................ 101
5.2.8 Statistical analysis ..................................................................................................... 102
5.3 Results ............................................................................................................................. 103
5.3.1 Water content, organic matter and soil pH ............................................................... 103
5.3.2 Nitrogen leachate and soil properties ........................................................................ 103
5.3.3 Nitrous oxide emissions ............................................................................................ 106
5.3.4 Phosphorus leachate and soil properties ................................................................... 106
5.3.5 Carbon leachate ......................................................................................................... 106
5.3.6 Carbon emissions ...................................................................................................... 107
5.4 Discussion........................................................................................................................ 110
5.4.1 Nitrogen leachate and soil properties ........................................................................ 110
5.4.2 Nitrous oxide emissions ............................................................................................ 111
5.4.3 Phosphorus leachate and soil properties ................................................................... 112
5.4.4 Carbon leachate and emissions ................................................................................. 113
5.5 Outlook for use of chemical amendment as a mitigation measure ............................ 113
5.6 Conclusions ..................................................................................................................... 115
5.7 Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................ 115
References ............................................................................................................................. 116
Chapter 6 Changes in soil chemistry following application of chemically amended pig
slurry ..................................................................................................................................... 124
Introduction .......................................................................................................................... 124
Abstract ................................................................................................................................. 125
xii
6.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 126
6.2 Materials and Methods .................................................................................................. 128
6.2.1 Slurry collection and characterisation ....................................................................... 128
6.2.2 Pig slurry amendment ............................................................................................... 130
6.2.3 Soil collection and analysis ....................................................................................... 130
6.2.4 Incubation experiment .............................................................................................. 132
6.2.5 Statistical Analysis .................................................................................................... 133
6.3 Results and Discussion................................................................................................... 134
6.3.1 Water extractable phosphorus ................................................................................... 134
6.3.2 Soil pH ...................................................................................................................... 135
6.3.3 Morgan’s and Mehlich-3 phosphorus ....................................................................... 135
6.3.4 Metals analysis .......................................................................................................... 136
6.3.5 Relationship between soil water extractable phosphorus and Mehlich-3 phosphorus
and degree of phosphorus saturation.................................................................................. 136
6.4 Conclusions ..................................................................................................................... 137
6.5 Acknowledgements ........................................................................................................ 138
References ............................................................................................................................. 139
Chapter 7 Conclusions and Recommendations................................................................. 142
7.1 Overview and context .................................................................................................... 142
7.2 Conclusions ..................................................................................................................... 142
7.3 Future work and recommendations ............................................................................. 145
xiii
List of Figures
Figure 1.1 Suspected causes of pollution in Irish rivers from the period 2007-2009 (EPA,
2012). ......................................................................................................................................... 4 Figure 1.2 A woodchip biofilter in operation (Carney et al., 2011). ........................................ 8 Figure 2.1 The agitator experimental setup. ........................................................................... 33 Figure 2.2 Concentration of water extractable P (± standard deviation) in pig slurry (mg L-1)
as a function of stoichiometric ratio of Al added as alum and poly-Al chloride (PAC); Fe
added as ferric chloride and ferric sulphate; and Ca as lime to total P in pig slurry (a), and
mass of flyash, flue gas desulphurization by-product (FGD), bottom ash, gypsum, and Albased water treatment residuals sieved to less than 2 mm (Al-WTR-1) and homogenized
sludge (Al-WTR-2) added per dry matter of pig slurry (b). .................................................... 34 Figure 2.3 The mass of dissolved reactive P (DRP) (mg m-2) and DRP concentration (mg L-1)
in water overlying grassed sod-only treatment; grassed sod with unamended slurry; and
grassed sod with slurry amended with alum, poly-Al chloride (PAC), ferric chloride, lime,
flyash and flue gas desulphurization by-product (FGD), each applied at three different rates,
plotted over the 30 h of the test. ............................................................................................... 36 Figure 2.4 Total cost of amendment (€ tonne-1) of pig slurry plotted against the reduction in
dissolved reactive P (DRP) lost to overlying water (kg ha-1) and the percentage reduction in
DRP release to overlying water from slurry amended with alum, poly-Al chloride (PAC),
ferric chloride, lime, flyash and flue gas desulphurization by-product (FGD), each applied at
three different rates. ................................................................................................................. 39 Figure 3.1 The rainfall simulator experimental setup. ............................................................ 53 Figure 3.2 Rainfall Simulator (isometric drawing and photo of underside). .......................... 54 Figure 3.3 Histogram of flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) for dissolved reactive
phosphorus (DRP), dissolved unreactive phosphorus (DUP) and particulate phosphorus (PP)
in runoff at time intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h (denoted as 1, 2 and 3) after land application of
pig slurry. Hatched line = 30 µg P L-1 standard (Clabby et al., 2008). .................................... 59 Figure 3.4 Histogram of average flow-weighted mean concentration of suspended sediment
(SS) (mg L-1) in runoff at time intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h (denoted as 1, 2 and 3) after land
application of pig slurry. Hatched line = 35 mg L-1 standard (S.I. No 419 of 1994)............... 60 xiv
Figure 3.5 Histogram of average flow-weighted mean concentration of metals (mg L-1) in
runoff at time intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h (denoted as 1, 2 and 3) after land application of
pig slurry. ................................................................................................................................. 61 Figure 4.1 Histogram of flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) for dissolved reactive
phosphorus (DRP), dissolved un-reactive phosphorus (DUP) and particulate phosphorus (PP)
in runoff at time intervals of 12, 24 and 48 h after land application of pig slurry. .................. 78 Figure 4.2 Histogram of average flow-weighted mean concentration of suspended solids (SS)
(mg L-1) in runoff at time intervals of 12, 24 and 48 h after land application of pig slurry. ... 79 Figure 5.1 PVC column with rubber stopper. ....................................................................... 101 Figure 5.2 Average weekly loads (± standard deviation) of ammonium a) nitrite b) and
nitrate c) leached column-1. .................................................................................................... 105 Figure 5.3 Cumulative gaseous emissions (± standard deviation) of N2O-N (a) CO2-C (b) and
CH4-C (c) from columns at each sampling period. ................................................................ 108 Figure 5.4 Cumulative loads of total organic carbon (TOC) and total inorganic carbon (TIC)
leached over the duration of the experiment a) and weekly loads of total carbon leached from
columns b) (± standard deviation). ........................................................................................ 109 Figure 6.1 Soil particle size distributions.............................................................................. 132 Figure 6.2 Soil water extractable P (mg L-1; ± standard deviation) for each soil type and
treatment after incubation. ..................................................................................................... 133 Figure 6.3 Soil pH for each soil treatment. ........................................................................... 135 Figure 6.4 Water extractable P (mg L-1) versus M3P (mg kg-1) a), and versus degree of P
saturation (%) b). ................................................................................................................... 137 xv
List of Tables
Table 1.1 Phosphorus index system for Irish grassland (Schulte et al., 2010; Coulter and
Lalor, 2008)................................................................................................................................ 3 Table 1.2 Amount by which regulations may be exceeded over time. ..................................... 4 Table 2.1 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland and internationally................. 29 Table 2.2 Characterisation of amendments used in the batch and agitator tests (mean ±
standard deviation) tests carried out in triplicate. .................................................................... 31 Table 2.3 Table showing amendments in order of feasibility score, breakdown of costs,
cost/m3 slurry, cost for 500 sow integrated unit, percentage reduction in DRP in overlying
water at 30 h. ............................................................................................................................ 37 Table 3.1 Amount by which regulations may be exceeded over time. ................................... 48 Table 3.2 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland. ............................................... 51 Table 3.3 Characterisation of amendments used in this study. ............................................... 55 Table 3.4 Flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) averaged over three rainfall events,
and removals (%) for dissolved reactive P (DRP), dissolved un-reactive P (DUP), total
dissolved P (TDP), particulate P (PP), total P (TP), and suspended sediment (SS). ............... 58 Table 4.1 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland. ............................................... 73 Table 4.2 Flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) averaged over three time intervals,
application costs per tonne, metal application rate (kg ha-1), and removals (%) for dissolved
reactive P (DRP), dissolved un-reactive P (DUP), total dissolved P (TDP), particulate P (PP),
total P (TP) and suspended solids (SS). ................................................................................... 75 Table 4.3 Comparison of flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) of TP in runoff from
two different soils with identical amendments, spreading rates and TIs ................................. 82 Table 5.1 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland. ............................................... 95 Table 5.2 Characterisation of amendments used in this study (Chapters 2 and 3). ................ 96 Table 5.3 Average soil phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon contents by sampling time and
depth. ...................................................................................................................................... 104 xvi
Table 6.1 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland. ............................................. 129 Table 6.2 Characterisation of amendments used in this study. ............................................. 129 Table 6.3 Soil physical and chemical properties. .................................................................. 131 xvii
Chapter 1
Introduction
1.1 Pig industry in Europe and Ireland
There are approximately 149 million pigs in the European Union (EU) (Eurostat, 2013) and,
in 2011, the pig industry accounted for 8.7% (€33 billion) of the EU’s overall agricultural
output (Eurostat, 2012). There are approximately 1.57 million pigs in the Republic of Ireland
(CSO, 2012 a), including 145,700 breeding pigs, which produce almost 3 million tonnes of
liquid pig manure annually. Agriculture is an important industry in the Republic of Ireland,
where 65% of land use is devoted to agricultural enterprises (CSO, 2012 b). The total number
of people employed in the pig sector in the Republic of Ireland is thought to be in the region
of 7,500, with more than 1,200 employed directly at farm level (Teagasc, 2008). The pig
industry had outputs with an estimated value of €432.7 million in 2012 - an increase of 9.8%
(€39 million) on 2011 figures (CSO, 2012 c), and, in 2011, it made up over 0.2% of Ireland’s
Gross Domestic Product (CSO, 2012 d).
The Republic of Ireland’s overall density of pig production, expressed as Agricultural Area
Used (AAU), is 25.7 ha sow-1, which is low compared with other EU states e.g. the
Netherlands at 1.9 ha sow-1, Denmark at 2.0 ha sow-1 and Belgium at 2.2 ha sow-1 (Teagasc,
2008). Pig farming in Ireland is concentrated in a small number of counties, with 52% of the
national sow herd located in counties Cavan, Cork and Tipperary (Teagasc, 2008). At 3.5 ha
sow-1, the density of pig farming in County Cavan is the densest in the country (Teagasc,
2008).
Landspreading is currently the most cost-effective method of utilizing pig slurry in Ireland
(Nolan et al., 2012). Pig slurry is a nutrient-rich fertilizer, with typical values in Ireland taken
as 0.8 kg total phosphorus (TP) and 4.2 kg total nitrogen (TN) m-3 (The European
Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2010;
hereafter referred to as S.I. No. 610 of 2010). Expressed in terms of cost of chemical
fertilisers, these nutrient values would equate to roughly €1.75 and €2.44 m-3 for their
available TP and TN, respectively, which provides an obvious necessity for farmers to use
1
pig slurry in a strategic manner so as to lessen costs by reducing the requirement for chemical
fertilisers. Phosphorus (P; the different forms of P are detailed in Appendix A) losses occur in
runoff from two sources: (1) ‘incidental P losses’ take place when a rainfall event occurs
shortly after slurry application and before slurry infiltrates the soil, while (2) ‘chronic P
losses’ is a long-term loss of P from soil as a result of a build-up in soil test phosphorus
(STP) caused by application of inorganic fertilisers and manure (Buda et al., 2009; Schulte et
al., 2010). The application of slurry in excess of crop requirements can give rise to elevated
STP concentrations, which may take years to decades to be reduced to agronomically
optimum levels (Schulte et al., 2010). In addition, critical losses of P in runoff can lead to
eutrophication of receiving waters (Carpenter et al., 1998). In Ireland, empirical comparison
of in-stream phosphate levels and biological quality has demonstrated that once median
phosphate concentrations exceed 30 μg P L–1, significant deterioration may be seen in river
ecosystems (Clabby et al., 2008).
1.2 Legislation
The EU Water Framework Directive (EU WFD) (European Commission (EC), 2000) aims to
achieve ‘at least’ good water quality status in all water bodies of member states by 2015 by
implementing a number of Programmes of Measures (POM) in each state. Taking Ireland as
an example, S.I. No. 610 of 2010 is Ireland’s POM, which satisfies both the WFD and the
Nitrates Directive (EEC, 1991). The Nitrates Directive aims to protect water quality across
Europe by preventing nutrients from agricultural sources polluting ground and surface waters
by promoting the use of good farming practices. As part of the WFD, all POM implemented
must also be a cost-effective means of improving water quality.
Statutory Instrument No. 610 of 2010 (which is due to be reviewed during 2013) puts a limit
on the timing, magnitude and placement of inorganic fertilizer and organic manure
applications to land. Landspreading of slurry is prohibited during a winter closed period (15th
of October to 12-31st of January). Slurry spreading is also prohibited when heavy rainfall is
forecast within 48 h of application. This is to allow for increased interaction time between
slurry and soil before rainfall, so as to reduce nutrient losses in runoff. Therefore, slurry
spreading opportunities may be limited, especially in years with above average rainfall,
which can be especially challenging for farmers with insufficient slurry storage capacity. The
2
maximum amount of livestock manure that may be spread on land, together with manure
deposited by the livestock, cannot exceed 170 kg nitrogen (N) ha-1 yr-1 and 49 kg P ha-1 yr-1.
This limit is dependent on grassland stocking rate and STP (based on plant available
Morgan’s P (Pm)). Soil P index categories of 1 (deficient) to 4 (excessive) are used to
classify STP concentrations in Ireland (Schulte et al., 2010) (Table 1.1).
Table 1.1 Phosphorus index system for Irish grassland (Schulte et al., 2010; Coulter and
Lalor, 2008).
Soil P index Morgan’s soil
Interpretation
-1
P range (mg L )
1
0.0–3.0
Soil is P deficient; build-up of soil P required.
Insignificant risk of P loss to water.
2
3.1–5.0
Low soil P status: build-up of soil P is required for
productive agriculture.
Very low risk of P loss to water.
3
5.1–8.0
Target soil P status: only maintenance rates of P required.
Low risk of P loss to water
4
Excess soil P status: no agronomic response to P
>8.0
applications.
Risk of P loss to water increases within this index
The soil P index is based on the Morgan’s extraction (Morgan, 1941), with a STP of > 8mg
L-1 (>10 mg L-1 in the case of tillage land) classified as P index 4 (S.I. No. 610 of 2010).
Soils at soil P index 4 show no agronomic response to P applications and have a higher risk
of P loss in runoff (Tunney, 2000). Currently, limits on slurry spreading may only be
exceeded: (1) when spreading spent mushroom compost, poultry manure, or pig slurry (2) if
the size of a holding has not increased since 1st August 2006 and (3) if the N application limit
is not exceeded (S.I. No. 610 of 2010). The amount by which these limits can be exceeded
will be reduced gradually to zero by 1st January, 2017 (Table 1.2). As a result, it is estimated
that pig farmers will require approximately 50% more spreadlands for manure application in
2017 than was the case in 2012 (Nolan et al., 2012). It may also lead to the need for pig slurry
export. Increased chemical fertiliser costs in recent years and farmer changeover from the
Rural Environmental Protection Scheme (REPS) to the Agri-Environment Options Scheme
(AEOS) has led to increased demand for pig slurry. However, pig slurry export still becomes
energetically questionable at distances over 50 km (Fealy and Schroder, 2008). These new
regulations will have an impact on the pig industry, in particular, as it is focused in relatively
3
small areas of Ireland. In order to ensure that P loss is minimised and water quality is
improved, supplementary measures are still needed.
Table 1.2 Amount by which regulations may be exceeded over time.
Date
Amount by which regulations can be exceeded
(kg P ha-1)
To January 1, 2013a
Not limited
January 1, 2013 – January 1, 2015
5
January 1, 2015 – January 1, 2017
3
January 1, 2017 onwards
0
a
Up to 1st January 2013, the regulation limits can be exceeded when spreading spent mushroom compost, poultry
manure, or pig slurry. This can only happen if the activities which produce this on a holding have not increased in
scale since 1 August 2006, and the N application limit is not exceeded (S.I. No. 610 of 2010).
1.3 Water quality in Ireland
1.3.1 Surface water quality
Over 13,000 km of river channel is assessed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
on an ongoing basis at over 2,500 sample points. In the period 2007-2011, approximately
71% of channel length was in an unpolluted condition (EPA, 2012). However, 29% was
deemed to be polluted to some degree, with 0.1% classified as being seriously polluted.
Diffuse sources were the cause of pollution in roughly half of the sites classified as
‘polluted’, with agriculture deemed to be the likely cause in 47% of polluted sites (Fig. 1.1).
Of 208 lakes and 332 km of canals monitored, 53% and 13%, respectively, were at less than
‘good status’ (EPA, 2012).
Figure 1.1 Suspected causes of pollution in Irish rivers from the period 2007-2009 (EPA,
2012).
4
1.3.2 Water quality of groundwater
In the Republic of Ireland, approximately 26% of drinking water supply is taken from
groundwater sources, but in some counties (e.g. Co. Roscommon) this figure can be as much
as 75% (Lucey, 2009). More than 30% of the annual average flow of water in most rivers in
the Republic of Ireland is derived from groundwater (McGarrigle et al., 2010), and in karst
limestone areas, groundwater may provide 60 to 80% of the river flow (Lucey et al., 2009).
This contribution can increase to greater than 90% during periods of low flow (McGarrigle et
al., 2010). Therefore, any change to groundwater quality can have a detrimental effect on
river water quality. The EPA found that 15.3% of waterbodies (in over 200 monitoring sites)
were classified as being of ‘poor status’ (EPA, 2012). Although groundwater nitrates (NO3-)
and P may contribute to nutrient enrichment in receptors such as lakes, rivers and wetlands in
vulnerable areas, NO3- was the cause of just 0.3% of ‘poor’ statuses in Ireland compared to
13.3% arising from P, with P concentrations highest in karst aquifers (McGarrigle et al.,
2010). Nutrient pressures from agricultural activities (including livestock farming, arable
activities and intensive enterprises) and the use of dangerous substances, e.g. agrochemicals,
are the most widespread and nationally significant anthropogenic pressure on groundwater
quality (McGarrigle et al., 2010).
1.4 Phosphorus mitigation from pig slurry
Whilst pig slurry is almost universally landspread, other options are available. Slurry
separation is one alternative. However, this does not treat the slurry; rather, it produces solid
and liquid fractions, which are subsequently treated separately.
1.4.1 Slurry separation
Mechanical separation of animal slurry produces an N-rich liquid fraction with a lower dry matter
(DM) concentration than the input slurry and a P-rich solid fraction with a higher DM
concentration than the input slurry (Gilkinson and Frost, 2007). There are two main types of
separator: screen separator and decanting separator. In a screen separator, slurry flows over a
metal screen and the liquid fraction passes down through the screen, while the solids are held.
Decanting centrifuges use centrifugal forces to increase the settling velocity of suspended
5
particles, causing the heavier solids to move to the outside wall of the cylinder, where they are
removed. Transportation costs can be reduced by reducing the water content of slurry, since the
volume of pig slurry is the most important factor influencing transportation costs (Nolan et al.,
2012). The solid fraction, due to its higher DM and higher P concentration, is cheaper to transport
per unit volume of nutrient. This could be transported for application on tillage land, where there
is a requirement for plant available P (Nolan et al., 2012). The N-rich liquid fraction can be
applied to land in the proximity of the pig farm, where the soil P status is likely to be adequate or
in excess of crop requirements. The liquid fraction could also be treated by, for example,
constructed wetlands (CWs) or woodchip biofilters, whilst the solid fraction can be treated by
composting or used as a feedstock for pyrolysis.
1.4.1.1 Liquid Fraction
1.4.1.1.1 Constructed Wetlands
The use of CWs for the treatment of domestic, municipal (Healy and Cawley, 2002) and
agricultural wastewaters (Harrington and McInnes, 2009; Healy et al., 2007) is gaining in
popularity, with currently over 140 CWs in existence in Ireland (Babatunde et al., 2008).
Constructed wetlands operate in two forms: free water surface (FWS) and subsurface flow
(SSF). Free water surface CWs, wherein a shallow layer of wastewater flows over a soil
substrate, is the more common design. In SSF CWs, the wastewater flows through a sand or
gravel below the surface. Either type of CW may be planted with a mixture of submerged,
emergent, and, in the case of FWS CWs, floating vegetation (Healy et al., 2007; Healy and
O’ Flynn, 2011). Integrated Constructed Wetlands (ICWs) have also become popular in
Ireland (Harrington and McInnes, 2009). This is essentially a traditional CW, but is designed
with an ecosystem approach that promotes nature conservation and an integrated
management of land, water and living resources (Harrington and McInnes, 2009).
The ability of CWs to remove and retain organic matter, sediment and nutrients is dependent
on the organic, hydraulic, sediment and nutrient loading rate, media type, vegetation and
duration of operation (Healy et al., 2007). Phosphorus can be removed through short-term or
long-term storage, with most removal often occurring near the inlet initially, before extending
throughout the wetland over time as those sites become P-saturated (Jamieson et al., 2002).
6
Uptake by bacteria, algae, duckweed and macrophytes provides an initial removal
mechanism. However, this is only a short-term P storage, as 35-75% of P stored is eventually
released back into the water upon dieback of algae, microbes and plant residues. The only
long-term P storage in the wetland is via peat accumulation and substrate fixation. The
efficiency of long-term peat storage is a function of the loading rate, and also depends on the
amount of native iron (Fe), calcium (Ca), aluminium (Al), and organic matter in the substrate.
Harrington and Scholz (2010) investigated the treatment of the separated liquid fraction of
anaerobically digested pig manure in meso-scale ICWs and found that ICWs require
relatively large footprints in terms of land requirement, and that they were effective in
removing total organic N, ammonium (NH4+), NO3- and molybdate reactive P (MRP) at
loading rates of less than 12 g MRP m-2 yr-1. However, in Belgium, Meers et al. (2008)
reported removal rates of over 99% when treating pig wastewater at loading rates of 64 g TP
m-2 yr-1. McDowell and Nash (2012) found that the ability of wetlands to remove dissolved P
(DP) was much less than their ability to remove particulate P (PP), and that with time, their
ability to remove PP decreased. Moreover, in an economic analysis, Nolan et al. (2012) found
that the treatment of the separated liquid fraction of pig manure by ICWs, added a cost of
€4.60 m-3 manure, in addition to separation costs, and was not cost-effective in Ireland in
2012.
1.4.1.1.2 Woodchip biofilters
Woodchip biofilters (Fig 1.2) can be used to treat dilute wastewaters such as dairy soiled water
(DSW) or the N-rich, low DM liquid fraction of separated pig slurry. Wastewater passes through
the woodchip biofilters and is treated by a combination of physical, chemical and biological
processes (Carney et al., 2011). While woodchip filters have been shown to be effective at
reducing N concentrations from agricultural wastewaters (Greenan et al., 2009; Robertson et al.,
2009; Carney et al., 2011), they do not reduce P concentrations sufficiently to allow release of
wastewaters to waterways (Carney et al., 2013).
7
Figure 1.2 A woodchip biofilter in operation (Carney et al., 2011).
1.4.1.2 Solid Fraction
1.4.1.2.1 Composting
Composting is a natural process by which microorganisms decompose organic matter into
simpler compounds and nutrients. Aerobic composting, which takes place in the presence of
oxygen, is the quickest way to produce high quality compost (Liang et al., 2003). Composting
can only be performed after the pig manure has been separated into its solid and liquid
fractions. The process destroys pathogens and weed seeds found in untreated manures, which
gives it an advantage over the direct application of untreated manure (Larney and Hao, 2007).
It can also reduce its odour and volume, making it cheaper and easier to transport (Bernal et
al., 2009). Studies have found that the solid fraction from mechanically-separated pig slurry is
too wet to be composted alone and, therefore, requires the use of low-moisture bulking agents
(Georgacakis et al., 1996; Nolan et al., 2011), although the addition of bulking agents may lead to
an increase in cost. Controlling the temperature, moisture, pH, and oxygen and nutrient
conditions during the process is important in ensuring the effectiveness of the composting process.
8
Composting of the solid fraction of manure has the potential to stabilise the organic N
fraction; however, it does not sequester P. Nolan et al. (2012) found that composting the solid
fraction of pig manure costs approximately €2.80 m-3, and was not cost-effective compared to
landspreading.
1.4.1.2.2 Biochar
The solid fraction of pig manure may be used to produce biochar. Biochar is created by
pyrolysis, which is the heating of biomass at high temperatures in the absence of oxygen.
During pyrolysis, the organic portion is converted to char and volatile gases. The volatile
gases contain condensable tars and incondensable gases, both of which can be burned to
produce energy. The tars, when condensed, form combustible pyrolysis oil. The
incondensable gases contain a mixture of hydrogen gas (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon
monoxide (CO), nitrogen gas (N2), and hydrocarbon gases (Bridgewater and Peacocke, 2000;
Cantrell et al., 2007). The char produced through pyrolysis may also be used as a fuel and can
be applied to soil as a soil conditioner, where it has been shown to result in carbon (C)
sequestration and altered soil properties, including soil pH, porosity, bulk density, pore-size
distribution and water holding capacity (Glaser et al., 2002; Chan et al., 2007; Laird et al,
2010). When char is produced with intent to use as a soil conditioner, it is known as biochar.
There are many advantages of using a thermochemical process such as pyrolysis over
common biological treatments (e.g. anaerobic digestion (AD) or composting) for the
treatment of animal manures (Cantrell et al., 2007): (1) reactors can be sized to suit the
intended application, making them more compact (2) conversion occurs in a matter of minutes
(3) pathogens and most pharmaceutically-active compounds are destroyed by the high
temperatures (4) the process can use a variety of blended crop residues and animal manure
feedstocks (5) the process generates no fugitive gas emissions; and (6) more efficient nutrient
recovery is achievable. The effect of amending soil with biochar is dependent on the properties of
the specific biochar, including the feedstock and pyrolysis conditions used to produce it
(Atkinson et al., 2010), and the properties of the soil (Lehmann and Rondon, 2006). The
amendment of soil and landspread pig slurry with biochar has also been shown to reduce nutrient
leaching due to its high sorption capacity (Novak et al., 2009; Singh et al., 2010; Troy et al., 2013
a).
9
The generation of renewable energy through pyrolysis has been shown to result in net reductions
in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions compared to fossil fuel combustion (Gaunt and Lehmann,
2008). However, the net energy generation from the drying and pyrolysis of manure has been
shown to be negative due to the high water content (WC) of manures (Ro et al., 2010), creating
the need for a bulking agent such as sawdust, which would incur an extra cost, and which can
also lead to a reduced yield of biochar (Troy et al., 2013 b).
1.4.2 Anaerobic digestion
Anaerobic digestion is a series of processes in which microorganisms break down
biodegradable material, in the absence of oxygen, into a bio-gas, which can be used for both
electricity and heat generation. The residue of AD, called digestate, can also be used as a
fertiliser. Anaerobic digestion of pig slurry has a number of advantages over landspreading,
such as: (1) methane production, which is a renewable fuel that can be used to displace fossil
fuels (2) improvement of the fertiliser value due to enhanced nutrient availability and
improved flow characteristics (Ward et al., 2008) (3) reduction of pathogens (Massé et al.,
2010; Côté et al., 2006) (4) destruction of many weed seeds, reducing the need for herbicides
(Frost and Gilkinson, 2010); and (5) reduction in foul odours.
Anaerobic digestors are much more popular in Europe, with approximately 5,900 agricultural
biogas plants in operation in the EU in 2010 (Xie et al., 2011). In Germany, more than 4,000
on-farm AD units are in existence (Wilkinson, 2011). The German government intends to
increase this number to between 10,000 and 12,000 by 2020 to meet renewable energy targets
(Wilkinson, 2011). However, the price available in Germany per kW of electricity produced
in AD plants is much more than in Ireland (Blokhina et al., 2011; Nolan et al., 2012).
Moreover, AD does not reduce the overall P and N concentration. As pig slurry is generally
co-digested with other feedstocks, the N and P content of the digestate may be even higher
than that of the raw pig slurry. Therefore, the problem of manure treatment is only replaced
with that of digestate treatment. Furthermore, in an economic analysis, Nolan et al. (2012)
found that a pig farm-based AD plant in Ireland, co-digesting manure generated by 500 sows
with grass silage, would have an annual cost of €54,619 (€5.20 m-3 manure) and would not be
a financially feasible treatment option.
10
1.4.3 Buffer strips
Buffer strips and riparian buffer strips (buffer strips beside a water body) are areas of land at
the edge of farmland that borders watercourses, maintained in permanent vegetation that
intercept P and N loss in runoff. They can also act as a refuge for wildlife, promoting
biodiversity. However, they are not effective at preventing losses of DP (McDowell et al.,
2004). They work primarily by promoting sedimentation and, therefore, are effective at
removing PP, and improving soil structure and infiltration (Lyons et al., 2000). However,
there have been mixed results in their performances. McDowell et al. (2004) found that
measures such as buffer strips have a limited lifespan and can later serve as a P source. Their
effectiveness depends on width, vegetation type and density, soil characteristics (e.g., water
infiltration rate and P sorption capacity), placement within the landscape and slope (Fennessy
and Cronk, 1997), and it is probably due to this reliance on so many variable factors that their
performance has had such mixed results.
1.4.4 Use of P sorbing amendments
1.4.4.1 Amendments applied directly to soil
A potential solution to the possibility of P loss from land-applied pig slurry would be to
modify the soil with a P sorbing material. The use of ochre, when mixed to soil in pellet
form, may give the soil structure, along with the possibility of the mitigation of chronic P
loss, but may give rise to potentially dangerous levels of heavy metals (Fenton et al., 2009).
The use of alum or ferric chloride (FeCl3), when mixed with soil, may be advantageous for
the mitigation of chronic P losses. Whilst no previous work has been conducted on the
application of chemical amendments to soil prior to land application of pig slurry, in a plot
study, McFarland et al. (2003) applied dairy wastewater at 20 mm in one dose to three 2.44m × 3.05-m plots (tested without replication): a control plot, a plot amended with alum (alum
dosage, 5.22 kg per plot), and a plot amended with gypsum (CaSO4·2H2O) (gypsum dosage,
5.76 kg per plot). The applied rainfall had an intensity of 76.2 mm h-1, and lasted for 30 min
after runoff began. Large decreases in total dissolved phosphorus (TDP) in runoff were
observed from the alum-amended plot compared to the control plot, but not in the gypsumamended plot. The alum-amended plot had a maximum post-application TDP concentration
11
in surface runoff of 0.02 mg L-1 compared to a pre-application surface runoff concentration of
0.22 mg L-1. The maximum post-application TDP concentration from the gypsum-amended
plot was 0.25 mg L-1 compared to a pre-application concentration of 0.18 mg TDP L-1. These
compared to the control plot, having a pre-application runoff TDP concentration of 0.13 mg
L-1 and a maximum post-application of 0.22 mg TDP L-1. Although results are favourable,
this method employs a ‘double pass’ system, whereby a farmer has to travel on land to
initially spread the amendment, and then follow a second time to landspread the slurry. This
doubles fuel costs and time requirements, and may also lead to increased trafficking and field
damage through compaction. In addition, when amendments are spread on land prior to slurry
application, they may not adequately mix with slurry, thereby compromising their
effectiveness. Any rainfall events in the interim would also lead to amendment being washed
away before interacting with slurry.
1.4.4.2 Amendments to slurry
Whilst all of the above mentioned P mitigation measures are effective to a certain degree, all
have mitigating characteristics, which, in many cases, is their associated cost. A possible
novel alternative is the chemical amendment of pig slurry prior to landspreading.
Landspreading is currently the most cost effective treatment option for pig slurry in Ireland
(Nolan et al., 2012) and, to date, chemical amendment of pig slurry has never been
researched in Ireland. This measure would also improve upon the application of amendment
directly to soil so as to more precisely target interaction with the slurry, and also reduce
application time and costs. The addition of an amendment to slurry will incur extra costs, and
so any recommendations made for the chemical amendment of pig slurry must be mindful of
these. Previous research involving dairy cattle slurry (Brennan et al., 2013) has shown the
necessity to investigate the occurrence of pollution swapping (the increase in one pollutant as
a result of a measure introduced to reduce another pollutant (Healy et al., 2012)), in particular,
changes to GHG emissions. It is also possible that soil type may have an impact on the
efficacy of amendments.
Chemical amendment of slurry is possible for the control of P, because the negatively
charged P, present as orthophosphate (PO4-3), reacts readily with positively charged Fe+3 and
aluminum Al+3 ions to form relatively insoluble substances.
12
The reactions are:
Al+3 + PO4-3 = AlPO4
[1.1]
Fe+3 + PO4-3 = FePO4
[1.2]
These reactions form the basis for other compounds, such as alum (Al2(SO4)3.nH2O), polyaluminium chloride (AlCl3.6H2O) or ferric chloride (FeCl3):
Al2(SO4)3.nH2O + PO4-3 = 2AlPO4 + 3SO42- + nH2O
[1.3]
AlCl3.nH2O + PO4-3 = AlPO4 + 3Cl- + nH2O
[1.4]
FeCl3 + PO4-3 = FePO4 + 3Cl-
[1.5]
1.5 Knowledge gaps and project aims
The following knowledge gaps were identified prior to commencing the present study:
1. There has been no research carried out into the effectiveness and feasibility of
potential chemical amendments of pig slurry in Ireland to reduce P losses in runoff.
2. Appropriate amendments and suitable rates of addition must be identified within an
Irish context.
3. The effectiveness of such amendments on P and metal losses in runoff must be
investigated.
4. The effect of chemical amendment of pig slurry on pollution swapping needs to be
examined.
5. There is a need to investigate the effects of chemical amendment on P losses in runoff
at time intervals between slurry application and rainfall of less than 48 h (currently the
13
minimum period of time that has to elapse between land application and the
occurrence of the first rainfall event (S.I. 610 of 2010)).
6. The effects of soil characteristics, such as buffering capacity, on runoff from
chemically-amended slurry must be ascertained.
7. The effect of chemical amendment of pig slurry on STP and soil water extractable P
must be assessed.
The hypothesis of this study was that chemical amendment of pig slurry will reduce runoff
losses of P, to allow spreading of pig slurry in certain circumstances, and enable WFD targets
to be met. Therefore, the objectives of this study were:
1. To select the most appropriate chemical amendments, and their addition rates, to
reduce incidental P losses in runoff from pig slurry based on effectiveness, cost and
feasibility.
2. To determine the effect of these amendments on suspended sediment, chronic and
incidental P and metal losses from land-applied pig slurry.
3. To assess the effectiveness of these amendments at reducing P losses from pig slurry
when subjected to rainfall at varying time intervals after land application.
4. To investigate the changes from these chemical amendments on leachate nutrient
losses, soil properties and GHG emissions.
5. To identify suitable soil types on which to landspread chemically-amended pig slurry.
1.6 Structure of dissertation
The remainder of the PhD thesis structure is as follows:
Chapter 2 comprises a published paper entitled “Evaluation of amendments to control
phosphorus losses in runoff from pig slurry applications to land” (Clean – Soil, Air, Water 40
14
(2), 164 - 170). This chapter evaluates various chemical amendments, applied at different
rates, and identifies the most suitable amendments to add to pig slurry prior to land
application. This chapter addresses the first objective of this study.
Chapter 3 comprises a published paper: “Impact of pig slurry amendments on phosphorus,
suspended sediment and metal losses in laboratory runoff boxes under simulated rainfall”
(Journal of Environmental Management 113, 78 – 84). Selecting the most suitable
amendments from Chapter 2, their effect at reducing losses from soil sods following
landspreading with amended pig slurry is assessed. This chapter addresses the second
objective of this study.
In Chapter 4, the findings of the published paper, “Chemical amendment of pig slurry:
control of runoff related risks due to episodic rainfall events up to 48 h after application”
(Environmental Science and Pollution Research 20, 6019-6027) are presented. This chapter,
which investigates the effectiveness of different amendments at reducing losses from rainfall
events at varying intervals up to 48 h following landspreading, addresses the third objective
of this study.
In Chapter 5, the findings of the published paper “Impact of chemically amended pig slurry
on soil phosphorus, carbon and reactive nitrogen emissions” (Journal of Environmental
Management 128, 690-698) are presented. In this chapter, the impacts of using chemically
amended pig slurry on leachate nutrient losses, soil properties and GHG emissions are
assessed. This chapter addresses the fourth objective of this study.
Chapter 6 assesses which soil types are most suitable to receive chemically amended pig
slurry. This chapter, “Changes in soil chemistry following application of chemically amended
pig slurry”, has been submitted to Soil Biology and Biochemistry for review, and addresses
the fifth objective of this study.
Finally, Chapter 7 details the conclusions and recommendations arising from this research.
15
1.7 Research Output
Peer reviewed journal papers
O’ Flynn, C.J., Fenton, O., Healy, M.G., 2012. Evaluation of amendments to control
phosphorus losses in runoff from pig slurry applications to land. Clean – Soil, Air, Wat. 40,
164–170. (Appendix B)
O’ Flynn, C.J., Fenton, O., Wilson, P., Healy, M.G., 2012. Impact of pig slurry amendments
on phosphorus, suspended sediment and metal losses in laboratory runoff boxes under
simulated rainfall. J. Environ. Man. 113, 78-84. (Appendix C)
O’ Flynn, C.J., Healy, M.G., Wilson, P., Hoekstra, N.J., Troy, S.M., Fenton, O., 2013.
Chemical amendment of pig slurry: control of runoff related risks due to episodic rainfall
events up to 48 h after application. Environ. Sci. Poll. Res. 20, 6019-6027. (Appendix D)
O’ Flynn, C.J., Healy, M.G., Lanigan, G.J., Troy, S.M., Somers, C. Fenton, O., 2013. Impact
of chemically amended pig slurry on greenhouse gas emissions, soil properties and leachate. J.
Environ. Man. 128, 690-698. (Appendix E)
O’ Flynn, C.J., Healy, M.G., Wall, D., Fenton, O. Changes in soil chemistry following
application of chemically amended pig slurry. Soil. Biol. Biochem. Submitted May 2013.
International/national conference presentations
O’ Flynn, C.J., Fenton, O., Wilson, P., Healy, M.G., 2012. Impact of slurry amendments to
control phosphorus losses in laboratory runoff boxes under simulated rainfall. 22nd ESAI
Colloquium, University College Dublin, 8-10 March, 2012 (Oral presentation).
O’ Flynn, C.J., Fenton, O., Wilson, P., Healy, M.G., 2012. Impact of pig slurry amendments
to control phosphorus losses in laboratory runoff boxes under simulated rainfall. Agricultural
Research Forum. March 12-13. Tullamore, Co. Offaly (Oral presentation).
16
O’ Flynn, C.J., Fenton, O., Lanigan, G.J., Troy, S.M., Somers, C., Healy, M.G., 2013.
Chemical amendment of pig slurry prevents P loss in runoff – but don’t forget to examine
gaseous emissions! 23rd ESAI Colloquium, National University of Ireland, Galway. , 30
January-February, 2013 (Oral presentation).
Healy, M.G., Fenton, O., Lanigan, G.J., Grant, J., O’ Flynn, C.J., Brennan, R.B. Slurry
amendments reduce incidental P losses but what about N and GHG losses? 15th international
RAMIRAN conference, Versailles, France. To be held 3-5 June, 2013 (Poster presentation).
Healy, M.G., Fenton, O., Lanigan, G.J., Grant, J., Brennan, R.B, O’ Flynn, C.J., Serrenho, A.
Chemical amendments for the treatment of various types of agricultural effluent. 3rd
International conference on pollution and remediation, Toronto, Canada. To be held 15-17
July, 2013 (Oral presentation).
17
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25
Chapter 2
Evaluation of amendments to control phosphorus losses in runoff from pig
slurry applications to land
Introduction
This chapter identifies the most suitable chemical amendments, and their application rates, to
add to pig slurry prior to land application. It has been published in the journal, Clean – Soil,
Air, Water (O’ Flynn et al., 2012. Evaluation of amendments to control phosphorus losses in
runoff from pig slurry applications to land, 40 (2), 164 - 170). Cornelius O’ Flynn collected,
analyzed, interpreted and synthesized slurry and overlying water data, and is the primary
author of this article. Drs. Mark Healy and Owen Fenton contributed to the research design
and paper writing.
26
Evaluation of amendments to control phosphorus losses in
runoff from pig slurry applications to land
Cornelius J. O’ Flynn1, Owen Fenton2, Mark G. Healy 1*
1
Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway, Rep. of Ireland.
2
Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, Environmental Research Centre, Co Wexford, Rep. of Ireland
*Corresponding author. Tel: +353 91 495364; fax: +353 91 494507. E-mail address:
[email protected]
Abstract
If spread in excess of crop requirements, incidental phosphorus (P) losses from agriculture
can lead to eutrophication of receiving waters. The use of amendments in targeted areas may
help reduce the possibility of surface runoff of nutrients. The aim of this study was to identify
amendments which may be effective in reducing incidental dissolved reactive phosphorus
(DRP) losses in surface runoff from land-applied pig slurry. For this purpose, the DRP losses
under simulated conditions across the surface of intact grassland soil cores, loaded with
unamended and amended slurry at a rate equivalent to 19 kg P ha-1, were determined over a
30-h period. The effectiveness of the amendments at reducing DRP in overlying water were
(in decreasing order): alum (86%), flue gas desulphurization by-product (FGD) (74 %), polyaluminium chloride (PAC) (73%), ferric chloride (71 %), flyash (58%) and lime (54%). Flue
gas desulphurization by-product was the most costly of all the treatments (€7.64/m3 for 74%
removal). Ranked from best to worst in terms of feasibility, which takes into account
effectiveness, cost and other potential impediments to use, they were: alum, ferric chloride,
PAC, flyash, lime and FGD.
2.1 Introduction
The application of slurry in excess of crop requirements can give rise to elevated soil test
phosphorus (P) concentrations, which may take years to decades to be reduced to
27
agronomically optimum levels [1]. In addition, it can lead to eutrophication of receiving
waters [2]. Phosphorus losses occur in runoff from two sources: (1) ‘incidental P losses’ take
place when a rainfall event occurs shortly after slurry application and before slurry infiltrates
the soil, while (2) ‘chronic P losses’ is a long-term loss of P from soil as a result of a build-up
in soil test P caused by application of inorganic fertilisers and manure [1, 3]. The use of
amendments may allow the application of manure to soil in intensive farm systems, such as
pig farms, while reducing incidental and chronic P losses. This paper proposes a novel and
relatively realistic way to identify such amendments.
Alum, aluminium chloride (AlCl3), lime and ferric chloride are commonly used as coagulants
in slurry and wastewater separation operations. Smith et al. [4] found in a field-based study
that AlCl3, added at 0.75% of final manure volume to pig slurry, could reduce DRP by up to
84%. Smith et al. [5] found that alum and AlCl3, added in a field-based study to pig slurry at
430 mg Al L-1, reduced DRP in runoff water by 84% and DRP in manure by over 99%. In an
incubation study, Dou et al. [6] found that technical-grade alum, added to pig slurry at 0.25
kg kg-1 of manure dry matter, and flue gas desulpherization by-product (FGD), added at 0.15
kg kg-1, each reduced DRP by 80%. Dao [7] amended stockpiled cattle manure with caliche,
alum and flyash in an incubation experiment, and reported water extractable P reductions in
amended manure compared to the control of 21, 60 and 85%, respectively.
Batch experiments, wherein an amendment and slurry are mixed, are a good way to
determine if the addition of a particular amendment is appropriate to reduce P in surface
runoff from land applied slurry, but do not account for the interaction between applied slurry
and soil, and the effect of infiltration and skin formation on the release of P to surface runoff.
An agitator test, wherein an intact soil core, placed in a beaker, is overlain with continuouslystirred water [8, 9], enables achievement of batch experiment results, but also simulates the
situation in which slurry is applied to soil, allowed to dry, and then subjected to overland
flow.
The aim of this study was to: (1) investigate the hypothesis that various pig slurry
amendments can control incidental P losses in runoff applied to grassland; (2) identify
optimum amendment application rates for each amendment; (3) estimate the cost of each
treatment; and (4) discuss the feasibility of using amendments in a real on-farm scenario.
28
2.2 Materials and Methods
2.2.1 Slurry collection and characterisation
Pig slurry was taken from an integrated pig unit in Teagasc Research Centre, Moorepark,
Fermoy, Co. Cork. The sampling point was a valve on an outflow pipe between two holding
tanks, which were sequentially placed after a holding tank under the slats. To ensure a
representative sample, this valve was turned on and left to run for a few minutes before
taking a sample. The entire sample used for both the batch study and agitator test was taken
as one sample. The slurry was stored in a 25 L drum in a cold room at 11oC prior to testing.
The total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) were determined using persulfate digestion
followed by colorimetric analysis. Ammonium-N (NH4-N) was determined by adding 50 mL
of slurry to 1L of 0.1M HCl, shaking, filtering through No. 2 Whatman filter paper, and
analysing using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland).
Slurry pH was determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany). Dry matter (DM) content
was determined by drying at 105oC for 24 hr. The physical and chemical characteristics of the
pig slurry used in this experiment and some characteristic values of pig slurry from other
farms in Ireland and internationally are presented in Table 2.1.
Table 2.1 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland and internationally.
Location
Ireland
Spain
U.S.A.
Total P
(mg L-1)
560
800
1630
900±7
820
707
Total N
(mg L-1)
2150±212
4200
6621
4600±21
3220
2037
Total K
(mg L-1)
2666
2600±10
1008
1412
NH4-N
(mg L-1)
1248 ±40
1860
1366
pH
8.9 ± 0.3
7.59
a) Values changed to mg L-1 assuming densities of 1 kg L-1.
Dry matter
(%)
3.5± 0.2
5.77
3.2±2.3
3.2
2
Reference
The present study
S.I. No. 610 of 2010
18a
19a
20
21
2.2.2 Soil preparation and analysis
Grassed soil samples were collected from a local dry stock farm in Athenry, Co. Galway.
Aluminium (Al) coring rings, 120-mm-high, 100-mm-diameter were used to collect
undisturbed soil core samples (n=60). Soil samples (n=3) – taken from upper 100 mm from
the same location - were air dried at 40 °C for 72 hr, crushed to pass a 2 mm sieve and
29
analysed for soil test P using Morgan’s extracting solution [10]. Soil pH (n=3) was
determined using a pH probe and a 2:1 ratio of deionised water-to-soil. The particle size
distribution was determined using a sieving and pipette method [11], and the organic content
of the soil was determined using the loss of ignition test [12]. The soil used was a poorlydrained, sandy loam textured topsoil (58% sand, 27% silt, 15% clay) with a soil test P of
16.72±3.58 mg L-1, total potassium of 127.39±14.94 mg L-1, a pH of 7.65±0.06, and an
organic matter content of 13±0.1%.
2.2.3 Batch study to determine potential amendments
A batch study was carried out to identify appropriate amendments for the agitator test and the
rates at which they should be applied to pig manure to reduce water extractable P, an
environmental indicator of potential P loss in slurry. The following amendments were added
in the batch study: (1) commercial grade liquid alum (8% Al2O3) (2) commercial-grade liquid
poly-aluminium chloride (PAC) (10 % Al2O3) (3) commercial-grade liquid ferric chloride
(38% FeCl3) (4) analytical-grade ferric sulphate (FeSO4.7H2O) (5) analytical-grade lime
(Ca(OH)2) (6) flyash (7) flue gas desulphurization by-product (FGD) (8) bottom ash (9)
gypsum (10) aluminium-based water treatment residuals (Al-WTR), sieved to less than 2 mm
(Al-WTR-1), and (11) Al-WTR homogenised sludge (Al-WTR-2). Tests 1 – 5 were applied
based on a metal:TP stoichiometric ratio and 6 – 11 were applied based on a kg kg-1 weight
basis (slurry dry matter). The Al-WTR was provided by Galway City Water Treatment Plant.
Coal combustion by-products (flyash, FGD and bottom ash) were provided by the Electricity
Supply Board. The compositions of all the amendments used are shown in Table 2.2. Values
for amendments 1 – 5 are as per manufacturers specifications. The analysis of amendments 6
– 11 was conducted in Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford.
The pH of the amended slurry was measured after application of amendments at t = 0 h.
Amendments were added at 5 different rates to 50 g of slurry and mixed for 10 s. All tests
were carried out in triplicate (n=3). At t = 24 h, samples were tested for water extractable P
after Kleinman et al. [13]. An unamended sample was also used as a study control.
30
Table 2.2 Characterisation of amendments used in the batch and agitator tests (mean ± standard deviation) tests carried out in triplicate.
Amendment
pH
WEP
Al
Ca
mg kg
-1
%
Fe
Alum
Poly-Al chloride
Ferric Chloride
Ferric Sulphate
Lime
Al2(SO4)3.nH2O
AlCl3.6H2O
38% FeCl3
FeSO4.7H2O
Ca(OH)2
1.25
1.0 – 3.0
Flyash
Bottomash
Gypsum
Al-WTR-1
Al-WTR-2
(<2mm)
(sludge)
7.9± 0.1
6.9± 0.2
11.2± 0.04
8.6± 0.0
0
<0.01
<0.01
4.23
5.7± 0.2
0.1± 0.0
0.42
1.1
11± 0.0
5.3± 0.2
4.9± 0.2
20± 0.3
0.4
28
1.3± 0.1
0.11
2.2± 0.1
0.1± 0.0
1.6
0.5
0.2± 0.0
0.01
0.04
0.01
0.03± 0.0
<0.01
6.2±1.1
<0.01
<0.01
54.1
<0.01
38
20
K
<0.01
0.1
0.03
As
1
<1.0
<2.8
13± 0.6
<0.01
Cd
0.21
<0.2
<3.4
0.6± 0.0
0.2± 0.02
0.28
0.16± 0.0
33± 1
0.3± 0.1
0.43
0.5± 0.3
<0.01
2.1
<2.0
<48
88± 2
3± 0.1
14.3
3.8± 0.21
0.3± 0.02
<65
32.7±1.5
37± 13
8.1
31.7± 1.5
0.6± 0.03
12,200± 610
2,950± 58
2120
165± 33
3.2± 1.7
347± 160
31± 0.6
92
79± 1
6.9± 0.1
7.7± 0.5
0.73± 0.3
0.63
0.47± 0.2
<0.01
Co
Cr
Cu
mg kg-1
Mg
Mn
<1370
Mo
Na
Ni
1370± 610
660± 93
859
1.4
<1.0
<48
44± 1
11± 0.6
9.9
5460± 630
65± 20
171
2.8
<2.0
<14
30± 2
0.74± 0.4
3.9
P
Pb
12,061
371
218
611± 180
65± 14
4.8± 0.06
0.6±0.2
234± 5.3
18.7± 1.6
1.2± 0.8
<0.01
V
155± 5
49± 2
13.7
3± 0.2
0.2± 0.01
Zn
75± 31
9.4± 2
19.7
17
0.8± 0.1
Sb
<1.0
<2.8
Se
<1.0
<2.8
Hg
<0.2
<0.7
WEP-water extractable phosphorus; Al-WTR-alum-based water treatment residual; FGD-flue gas desulphurization product.
31
FGD
2.2.4 Agitator Test
The agitator test has been used to investigate the release of P from soil to surface waters [8]
and from amended dairy cattle slurry to soil [9]. This experiment replicates the way in which
slurry is applied to soil, allowed to dry, and then subjected to overland flow. Although no
validation of test results with actual runoff was undertaken, the test provided comparable
conditions for assessment of the effectiveness of the amendments at reducing the release of P
from land-applied slurry in a realistic way.
In the agitator test, the following treatments were examined in triplicate (n=3) within 21 d of
sample collection: (1) a grassed sod-only treatment with no slurry applied; (2) a grassed sod
with unamended slurry applied at a rate of 19 kg TP ha-1 (the control study); (3) grassed sods
receiving amended slurry applied at a rate of 19 kg TP ha-1. Six different amendments
(selected from the batch study above) were applied at three different rates (low, medium and
high; Table 2.3) based on the results obtained from the batch study. Amendments were added
to slurry in a 100-mL plastic cup and mixed for 10 s. Prior to the start of the agitator test, the
intact soil samples – at approximately field capacity (the water content held in the soil after
excess water has drained away) – were taken from their sampling cores and cut to a height of
45 mm; this was considered sufficient to include the full depth of influence on release of soil
P to overland flow [8]. They were then transferred into 1-L glass beakers. The slurry and
amended slurry was then applied to the soil cores (t = 0 h), and left to interact for 24 h prior
to the sample being saturated. At t = 24 h, the samples were gently saturated by adding
deionised water to the soil at intermittent time intervals over 24 h until water pooled on the
surface. Immediately after saturation (t = 48 h), 500 mL of deionised water was added to the
beaker. The agitator paddle was lowered to mid-depth in the water overlying the soil sample
and the paddle was set to rotate at 20 rpm for 30 h to simulate overland flow (Fig. 2.1). Water
samples (4 ml) were taken from mid-depth of the water overlying the soil at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4,
8, 12, 24 and 30 h after the start of each test (i.e. after the 500 ml was added). All samples
were filtered immediately after sample collection using 0.45-μm filters and prior to being
analysed colorimetrically for DRP using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical
Labsystems, Finland). Readings for pH were taken in the overlying water at 1 h and 30 h
after the start of each test. The agitator experiment was sufficient to compare treatments, but
concentrations do not represent actual values at field scale.
32
Figure 2.1 The agitator experimental setup.
2.2.5 Cost
The effects of amendments on slurry viscosity or handling were not considered in the cost
analysis. It was assumed that amendments would be added upon delivery, so storage cost on
site was excluded from the analyses. In the case of lime, the cost was estimated using
commercial grade lime. The calculated costs took into account the fixed and operational costs
for a 75 kW tractor and 2000 gal. splash-plate slurry tanker.
2.3 Results
2.3.1 Batch study
The most effective amendments at reducing water extractable P after 24 h were (in decreasing
order of effectiveness): alum (99%), lime (99%), ferric chloride (98%), PAC (95%), flyash
(87%), FGD (76%), gypsum (39%), ferric sulphate (27%), bottom ash (24%), Al-WTR-2
(15%) and Al-WTR-1 (0%) (Fig. 2.2).
33
25
20
15
10
5
0
Concentration of water extractable P in slurry (mg L-
a)
0
2
4
6
8
10
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
b)
Concentration of water extractable P in slurry (mg L-1)
Stoichiometric ratio of amendment to total P
0
2
4
6
8
kg of amendment added per kg of dry matter
Figure 2.2 Concentration of water extractable P (± standard deviation) in pig slurry (mg L-1) as a
function of stoichiometric ratio of Al added as alum and poly-Al chloride (PAC); Fe added as ferric
chloride and ferric sulphate; and Ca as lime to total P in pig slurry (a), and mass of flyash, flue gas
desulphurization by-product (FGD), bottom ash, gypsum, and Al-based water treatment residuals
sieved to less than 2 mm (Al-WTR-1) and homogenized sludge (Al-WTR-2) added per dry matter of
pig slurry (b).
34
For all solutions, there was a point beyond which further additions of amendments did not
significantly reduce water extractable P (Fig. 2.2). On the basis of inspection of the results,
the amendments and their application rates to be used in the agitator test were: (1) alum
(0.29:1, 0.58:1, 0.88:1 [Al:P]); (2) PAC (0.18:1, 0.36:1, 0.72:1 [Al:P]); (3) ferric chloride
(0.34:1, 0.62:1, 0.89:1 [Fe:P]); (4) lime (3.86:1, 5.79:1, 7.79:1 [Ca:P]); (5) flyash (0.857,
1.71, 3.43 kg kg-1 DM); and (6) FGD (2.7, 3.78, 4.86 kg kg-1 DM).
2.3.2 Agitator test
Figure 2.3 shows the mass of DRP in the overlying water and DRP concentrations over the
study duration. The percentage reduction in DRP for each treatment at each rate is shown in
Table 2.3. The unamended slurry had a DRP concentration of 17.8 mg L-1 in the overlying
water. The DRP concentrations in the overlying water, ranked from best to worst, were: alum,
2.5 mg L-1; FGD, 4.6 mg L-1; PAC, 4.7 mg L-1; ferric chloride, 5.2 mg L-1; flyash, 7.5 mg L-1;
and lime, 8.1 mg L-1. These compare to the water overlying the grassed sod-only treatment,
which had a DRP concentration of 2.0 mg L-1.
2.3.3 Cost
Table 2.3 shows the estimated cost of addition of amendments and estimations of spreading
and agitation costs as a result of their use. In order of increasing cost of use, per m3 of pig
slurry, they are: ferric chloride (€1.89); flyash (€2.00); PAC (€2.09); alum (€2.18); lime
(€2.84) and FGD (€4.10). Figure 2.4 shows the total cost of amendment (€ tonne-1) versus
percentage reduction in DRP release to overlying water (%) and the reduction in DRP
released from soil (kg ha-1). The addition of FGD led to dry matter contents of above 10%,
which would require water to be added to produce dry matter of a low enough consistency for
slurry spreading operations. Addition of water would require agitation and these, combined
with the high volume of addition per m3, significantly increased the total cost of FGD above
the other amendments. Alum, although clearly the best performing amendment, was still
competitively priced compared to the other amendments.
35
Grass
1200
18
900
15
12
9
6
3
0
600
300
Mass P released in overlying water at time t (mg m-2)
0
Alum
PAC
1200
18
15
12
9
6
3
0
900
600
300
0
Ferric Chloride
Lime
1200
18
15
12
9
6
3
0
900
600
300
0
Flyash
Concentration of dissolved reactive P in overlying water (mg L-1)
Slurry control
FGD
1200
18
15
12
9
6
3
0
900
600
300
0
0
4
8
12
24
0
30
4
8
12
24
30
Time from start of agitator test (hours)
Figure 2.3 The mass of dissolved reactive P (DRP) (mg m-2) and DRP concentration (mg L-1)
in water overlying grassed sod-only treatment; grassed sod with unamended slurry; and
grassed sod with slurry amended with alum, poly-Al chloride (PAC), ferric chloride, lime,
flyash and flue gas desulphurization by-product (FGD), each applied at three different rates,
plotted over the 30 h of the test.
36
Table 2.3 Table showing amendments in order of feasibility score, breakdown of costsa, cost/m3 slurryb, cost for 500 sow integrated unit,
percentage reduction in DRP in overlying water at 30 h.
Amendmentc
Feasibility
score
Addition rated
1
Ferric Chloride
2
Poly-Al chloride
3
Flyash
4
Ca(OH)2
(Lime)
5
FGD
6
0.29:1 Al: P
0.58:1 Al: P
0.88:1 Al: P
0.34:1 Fe: P
0.62:1 Fe: P
0.89:1 Fe: P
0.18:1 Al: P
0.36:1 Al: P
0.72:1 Al: P
0.030 kg/kg
0.060 kg/kg
0.120 kg/kg
3.86:1 Ca: P
5.79:1 Ca: P
7.71:1 Ca: P
0.095 kg/kg
DRP
Removal
€/m3
€/farm
%
Extra cost
per unit DRP
reduced in
runoff
€/kg DRP/ha
0.00
1.56
16,182
0
0
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
2.18
2.72
22,672
28,309
55
64
1.57
1.55
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
3.33
1.89
34,613
19,704
0.62
0.90
0.53
1.07
2.13
0.40
0.81
1.62
1.28
1.92
1.55
1.56
1.55
1.56
1.56
1.60
1.64
1.74
1.56
1.56
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
2.18
2.45
2.09
2.62
3.69
2.00
2.45
3.36
2.84
3.48
2.56
1.28
1.56
1.98
0.00
0.43
0.00
0.42
4.12
4.10
Rate
Cost of
amendment
Spreading
Agitation
Cost
waterf
Total
€/tonne
kg/m3
€/m3
€/m3
€/m3
€/m3
0.00
1.56
0.00
4
8
0.58
1.16
1.60
1.56
12
1
1.76
0.34
2
4
2
4
8
30
60
120
4
6
8
95
Control
Alum
500 sow
integrated
unitg
Coste
150
250
280
14
312
14
Spreading
rate of metal
Within max
allowable metal
spreading ratesh
kg/ha
Yes/No
1.71
2.78
5.51
11.02
No limit
86
48
3.14
1.08
16.72
6.46
22,655
25,500
21,689
27,258
38,396
20,815
25,488
34,910
29,511
36,206
52
71
43
42
73
43
48
58
30
53
1.81
1.92
1.85
3.86
4.42
1.58
2.85
4.75
6.41
5.48
11.78
16.91
3.42
6.84
13.68
42,866
42,634
54
66
7.25
5.80
No limit
No limit
Yes
73.34
110.01
No limit
146.49
Yes
0.132 kg/kg
132
1.79
2.49
0.54
1.09
5.91
61,467
67
9.82
0.170 kg/kg
170
2.30
2.98
0.64
1.73
7.64
79,474
74
12.52
DRP-dissolved reactive P; FGD-flue gas desulphurization product; a) Calculations based on an integrated pig unit with 500 sows, or equivalent stocking rate, indoors for 52 weeks; b) Slurry properties: Total P = 560 mg L-1
and 3.5% dry matter (DM); c) In the case of Ca(OH)2, cost was estimated using commercial grade lime; d) Addition rates for Flyash and FGD quoted as kg of ammendment/kg of slurry; e) Cost includes delivery of material
and addition of material to slurry in storage tank; f) Addition of some amendments resulted in DM >10%-water addition needed for spreading. In this case, agitation is required for process of adding water; g) Calculations
based on 0.4 m3 of slurry/sow/week; h) Max allowable metal application rates take from S.I. No. 267/2001-Waste Management (Use of Sewage sludge in Agriculture) (Amendment) Regulations, 2001
(www.irishstatutebook.ie ).
37
2.4 Discussion
In the batch study, Al-WTR-1 and Al-WTR-2 increased the water extractable P of the slurry
when added at some weights. This may be attributable to the fact that there were small
quantities of P within Al-WTR-1 and Al-WTR-2 (Table 2.2). There was also P present in
flyash and FGD, but these amendments contained much more calcium (Ca) and magnesium
(Mg), which are P sorbing elements. Lime required a much higher stoichiometric addition
rate to achieve significant water extractable P reduction; however, this is acceptable as lime is
often added to land by farmers and has widespread public acceptance. Ferric sulphate was not
tested above a stoichiometric rate of 0.332, as there was a poor response relative to the other
amendments at the same addition rate. The reduction in water extractable P compared
favourably to that of Dao et al. [7], who reported reductions of 60% and 85% in water
extractable P concentrations after adding alum and flyash, respectively, to stockpiled cattle
manure.
Taking into account costs, land application of metals and potential DRP reductions in
overlying water, the amendments, ranked in decreasing order of feasibility, were: alum, ferric
chloride, PAC, flyash, lime and FGD.
There was a high initial rise in DRP at the start of each test, with the rate of increase reducing
over time towards the end of the study (Fig. 2.3). It can be seen in almost all cases that the
higher the addition rate for each amendment, the lower the peak in DRP concentration. The
amendments used in the agitator test all reduced the DRP concentrations in the overlying
water. However, they did not reduce the concentrations to below that of the grassed sod-only
treatment, which itself was well above 30 μg P L–1, the median phosphate level above which
significant deterioration may be seen in river ecosystems [14]. The reason for this is the
amendments only reduce the contribution of the slurry to the overlying water DRP, and do
not affect the contribution of the soil to the overlying water DRP. The reductions in DRP
were broadly similar to those of Smith et al. [5], who achieved reductions in DRP of 84% in
runoff water when adding both alum and AlCl3 to pig slurry at 430 mg Al L-1 in a field-based
study.
38
Figure 2.4 Total cost of amendment (€ tonne-1) of pig slurry plotted against the reduction in
dissolved reactive P (DRP) lost to overlying water (kg ha-1) and the percentage reduction in
DRP release to overlying water from slurry amended with alum, poly-Al chloride (PAC),
ferric chloride, lime, flyash and flue gas desulphurization by-product (FGD), each applied at
three different rates.
The effect of amendments on slurry pH is a potential barrier to their implementation, as it
affects P sorbing ability [15] and ammonia (NH3) emissions from slurry [16]. The use of
acidifying amendments can lead to increased release of hydrogen sulphide gas (H2S) from
slurry, which is believed to be responsible for human and animal deaths when slurry is being
agitated on farms. However, the results from this experiment show the pH of the overlying
water not to be significantly affected by the use of amendment.
From the cost analysis, it can be seen that the use of amendments may only be worth pursuing
where focused application may be adopted. As legislation allows less slurry to be spread on
high P index soils, farmers with these soils have less land available on which to spread slurry.
The addition of amendment to pig slurry has the potential to relieve this problem. If a farmer
39
has more than one P index level on a farm, then a way to potentially reduce the cost
associated with amending the slurry would be to only amend the slurry that is applied to areas
of the farm with a higher soil test P. However, this will only reduce the impact of
landspreading on the potential loss of P in runoff and will not impact on the soil test P, which
will still be a potential pollution source.
Although this study did not investigate the release of metals due to the amendment of slurry,
previous studies that have found no added risk was posed by amending land applied pig [4] or
poultry [17] manure. Moore et al. [17] also investigated whether using alum as an amendment
affected Al concentrations in the soil or Al uptake by plants. They showed that use of alum
did not negatively affect either. The reason that Al availability was not affected is because Al
availability in soils is virtually independent of the level of total Al, but instead is controlled
by the geochemical conditions present, with pH being the major influencing factor. Acidic
conditions result in the dissolution of clay minerals and Al oxides, causing high
concentrations of exchangeable Al. The soil’s pH would be expected to increase, resulting in
decreased available Al. Moore et al. [17] also calculated that it would take 400 years of
annual application of alum-treated litter to increase the level of total Al in the soil from 7 to
8%, with alum already being the most abundant metal in most soils. However, available Al
would still theoretically decrease.
2.5 Conclusions
The findings of this study are:
1. All of the amendments trialled in the agitator test have the potential to reduce the
release of P in surface runoff from land-applied slurry.
2. Taking into account costs and land application of metals, suitable amendments which
may reduce the risk of surface runoff of P from land applied pig slurry are (in
decreasing order of feasibility): alum, ferric chloride, PAC, flyash, lime and FGD.
3. As there are significant costs associated with the use of these amendments, it is
recommended that they are used strategically in areas which are likely to have
potential nutrient loss problems. As land surrounding pig farms tend to have high soil
test phosphorus, the use of amendments may be deemed necessary. Although they
40
reduce the impact of nutrient loss from land application of pig slurry, they do not
prevent the loss of nutrients from soil of high nutrient content.
2.6 Acknowledgements
The first author gratefully acknowledges the award of the EMBARK scholarship from
IRCSET to support this study. The authors would like to thank Raymond Brennan, Stan
Lalor, Brendan Lynch, Michael Martin and Gerard McCutcheon.
Summary
This chapter showed that the amendments examined in the agitator test have the potential to
reduce the release of P in surface runoff from land-applied slurry. The next chapter focuses
on the removal of P in a more realistic setting, with slurry and amended slurry subjected to
actual runoff at a more representative scale.
41
References
[1] R.P.O. Schulte, A.R. Melland, O. Fenton, M. Herlihy, K.G. Richards, P. Jordan,
Modelling soil phosphorus decline: expectations of Water Frame Work Directive policies,
Env. Sci. and Pol. 2010, 13 (6), 472. DOI: 10.1016/j.envsci.2010.06.002
[2] S.R. Carpenter, N.F. Caraco, D.L. Correll, R.W. Howarth, A.N. Sharpley, V.H. Smith,
Nonpoint pollution of surface waters with phosphorus and nitrogen, Eco. Appl. 1998, 8 (3),
559. DOI: 10.1890/1051-0761
[3] A.R. Buda, P.J.A. Kleinman, M.S. Srinivasan, R.B. Bryant, G.W. Feyereisen, Effects of
hydrology and field management on phosphorus transport in surface runoff, J. Environ. Qual.
2009, 38 (6), 2273. DOI: 10.2134/jeq2008.0501
[4] D. R. Smith, P. A. Moore, Jr., C. V. Maxwell, B. E. Haggard, T. C. Daniel, Reducing
phosphorus runoff from swine manure with dietary phytase and aluminum chloride, J.
Environ. Qual. 2004, 33 (3), 1048.
[5] D. R. Smith, P. A. Moore, Jr., C. L. Griffis, T. C. Daniel, D. R. Edwards, D. L. Boothe,
Effects of alum and aluminum chloride on phosphorus runoff from swine manure, J. Environ.
Qual. 2001, 30 (3), 992.
[6] Z. Dou, G. Y. Zhang, W. L. Stout, J. D. Toth, J. D. Ferguson, Efficacy of alum and coal
combustion by-products in stabilizing manure phosphorus, J. Environ. Qual. 2003, 32 (4),
1490.
[7] T. H. Dao, Co-amendments to modify phosphorus extractability and nitrogen/phosphorus
ratio in feedlot manure and composted manure, J. Environ. Qual. 1999, 28 (4), 1114. DOI:
10.2134/jeq1999.00472425002800040008x
[8] J. Mulqueen, M. Rodgers, P. Scally, Phosphorus transfer from soil to surface waters, Agr.
Wat. Man. 2004, 68 (1), 91. DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2004.10.006
42
[9] R.B. Brennan, O. Fenton, M. Rodgers, M.G. Healy, Evaluation of chemical amendments
to control phosphorus losses from dairy slurry, Soil Use Manage. 2011, 27 (2), 238. DOI:
10.1111/j.1475-2743.2011.00326.x
[10] M.F. Morgan, Chemical soil diagnosis by the Universal Soil Testing System. Connecticut
agricultural Experimental Station Bulletin 450. Connecticut. New Haven. 1941.
[11] British Standards Institution, British standard methods of test for soils for civil
engineering purposes. Determination of particle size distribution. BS 1377:1990:2. BSI,
London. 1990a.
[12] British Standards Institution, Determination by mass-loss on ignition. British standard
methods of test for soils for civil engineering purposes. Chemical and electro-chemical tests.
BS 1377:1990:3. BSI, London. 1990b.
[13] P.J.A, Kleinman, D. Sullivan, A. Wolf, R. Brandt, Z. Dou, H. Elliott, J. Kovar, et al.
Selection of a water extractable phosphorus test for manures and biosolids as an indicator of
runoff loss potential, J. Environ. Qual. 2007, 36 (5), 1357. DOI: 10.2134/jeq2006.0450
[14] K.J. Clabby, C. Bradley, M. Craig, D. Daly, J. Lucey, M. McGarrigle, S. O’Boyle, et al.
Water quality in Ireland 2004–2006. 2008. EPA, County Wexford, Rep. of Ireland
[15] C.J. Penn, R.B. Bryant, M.A. Callahan, J.M. McGrath, Use of industrial byproducts to
sorb and retain phosphorus, Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 2011, 42 (6), 633.
[16] A. M. Lefcourt and J. J. Meisinger, Effect of adding alum or zeolite to dairy slurry on
ammonia volatilization and chemical composition, J. Dairy Sci. 2001, 84 (8), 1814.
[17] P. A. Moore, Jr. and D. R. Edwards, Long-term effects of poultry litter, alum-treated
litter, and ammonium nitrate on aluminium availability in soils, J. Environ. Qual. 2005, 34,
2104. DOI: 1 0.2134/jeq2004.0472
43
[18] G.A. McCutcheon. A study of the dry matter and nutrient value of pig slurry. M. Sc.
(Agriculture) thesis National University of Ireland, Dublin. 1997.
[19] C. O’Bric. A survey of the nutrient composition of cattle and pig slurries. M. Sc.
(Agriculture) thesis National University of Ireland, Dublin. 1991.
[20] M. Sánchez, J.L. González, The fertilizer value of pig slurry. I. Values depending
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10.1016/j.biortech.2004.10.002
[21] J.P. Chastain, J.J. Camberato, J.E. Albrecht, J. Adams III, Clemson University Swine
Training Manual. Chapter 3, Swine Manure Production and Nutrient Content. 2003.
44
Chapter 3
Impact of pig slurry amendments on phosphorus, suspended sediment and
metal losses in laboratory runoff boxes under simulated rainfall
Introduction
This chapter evaluates the effect of chemical amendment of pig slurry, prior to application on
soil sods, on runoff losses. It has been published in the Journal of Environmental
Management (O’ Flynn et al., 2012. Impact of pig slurry amendments on phosphorus,
suspended sediment and metal losses in laboratory runoff boxes under simulated rainfall, 113,
78 - 84). Cornelius O’ Flynn collected, analysed and interpreted slurry, soil and runoff water
experimental data, and is the primary author of this article. Drs. Mark Healy and Owen
Fenton contributed to the research design and paper writing. Dr. Paul Wilson conducted the
statistical analysis.
45
Impact of pig slurry amendments on phosphorus,
suspended sediment and metal losses in laboratory runoff
boxes under simulated rainfall
C.J. O’ Flynna, O. Fentonb, P. Wilsonc,d, M.G. Healy a*
a
Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland.
b
Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, Ireland
c
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland
d
School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, National University of Ireland,
Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland.
*Corresponding author. Tel: +353 91 495364; fax: +353 91 494507. E-mail address:
[email protected]
Abstract
Losses of phosphorus (P) when pig slurry applications to land are followed by a rainfall event
or losses from soils with high P contents can contribute to eutrophication of receiving waters.
The addition of amendments to pig slurry spread on high P Index soils may reduce P and
suspended sediment (SS) losses. This hypothesis was tested at laboratory-scale using runoff
boxes under simulated rainfall conditions. Intact grassed soil samples, 100 cm-long, 22.5 cmwide and 5 cm-deep, were placed in runoff boxes and pig slurry or amended pig slurry was
applied to the soil surface. The amendments examined were: (1) commercial grade liquid
alum (8% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al:total phosphorus (TP)] (2) commercial-grade
liquid ferric chloride (38% FeCl3) applied at a rate of 0.89:1 [Fe:TP] and (3) commercialgrade liquid poly-aluminium chloride (PAC) (10% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al:TP].
The grassed soil was then subjected to three rainfall events (10.3±0.15 mm h-1) at time
intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h following slurry application. Each sod received rainfall on 3
occasions. Results across three rainfall events showed that for the control treatment, the
average flow-weighted mean concentration (FWMC) of TP was 0.61 mg L-1, of which 31%
46
was particulate phosphorus (PP), and the average FWMC of SS was 38.1 mg L-1. For the
slurry treatment, there was an average FWMC of 2.2 mg TP L-1, 47% of which was PP, and
the average FWMC of SS was 71.5 mg L-1. Ranked in order of effectiveness from best to
worst, PAC reduced the average FWMC of TP to 0.64 mg L-1 (42% PP), FeCl3 reduced TP to
0.91 mg L-1 (52% PP) and alum reduced TP to 1.08 mg L-1 (56% PP). The amendments were
in the same order when ranked for effectiveness at reducing SS: PAC (74%), FeCl3 (66%) and
alum (39%). Total phosphorus levels in runoff plots receiving amended slurry remained
above those from soil only, indicating that, although incidental losses could be mitigated by
chemical amendment, chronic losses from the high P index soil in the current study could not
be reduced.
3.1 Introduction
The European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD) (EC, 2000) aims to achieve ‘at
least’ good ecological status for all water bodies in all member states by 2015 with the
implementation of Programmes of Measures (POM) by 2012. Taking Ireland as an example,
The European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters)
Regulations 2010 (hereafter referred to as S.I. No. 610 of 2010) is Ireland’s POM, which
satisfies both the WFD and the Nitrates Directive (EEC, 1991). The Nitrates Directive
promotes the use of good farming practices to protect water quality across Europe by
implementing measures to prevent nitrates from agricultural sources polluting a water body.
S.I. No. 610 of 2010 imposes a limit on the amount of livestock manure that can be applied to
land. As part of this, the maximum amount of livestock manure that may be spread on land,
together with manure deposited by the livestock, cannot exceed 170 kg of nitrogen (N) and
49 kg phosphorus (P) ha-1 year-1. This limit is dependent on grassland stocking rate and soil
test P (STP). Presently, these limits may only be exceeded: (1) when spreading spent
mushroom compost, poultry manure, or pig slurry (2) if the size of a holding has not
increased since 1st August 2006 and (3) if the N application limit is not exceeded (S.I. No.
610 of 2010). The amount by which these limits can be exceeded will be reduced gradually to
zero by 1st January, 2017 (Table 3.1). This will have the effect of reducing the amount of land
available for the application of pig slurry and may lead to the need for pig slurry export,
which itself becomes energetically questionable at distances over 50 km (Fealy and Schroder,
47
2008). These new regulations will have an impact on the pig industry, in particular, as it is
focused in relatively small areas of Ireland.
Table 3.1 Amount by which regulations may be exceeded over time.
Date
Amount by which regulations can be exceeded
(kg P ha-1)
To January 1, 2013a
Not limited
January 1, 2013 - January 1, 2015
5
January 1, 2015 - January 1, 2017
3
January 1, 2017 onwards
0
a
Up to 1 January 2013, the regulation limits can be exceeded when spreading spent mushroom compost, poultry
manure, or pig slurry (Anon 2010, www.teagasc.ie). This can only happen if the activities which produce this on a
holding have not increased in scale since 1 August 2006, and the N application limit is not exceeded (S.I. No. 610
of 2010).
At present, pig slurry in Ireland is almost entirely landspread (B. Lynch, pers. comm.). The
application of slurry in excess of crop requirements can give rise to elevated STP
concentrations, which may take years to decades to be reduced to agronomically optimum
levels (Schulte et al., 2010). Typically, fields neighbouring farm yards have highest soil P
index, as they receive preferential organic fertilizer application (Wall et al., 2011). Soil P
Index categories of 1 (deficient) to 4 (excessive) are used to classify STP concentrations in
Ireland (Schulte et al., 2010). The soil P Index is based on the Morgan’s extraction, with a
STP of > 8mg L-1 classified as P index 4 (S.I. No. 610 of 2010). Soils at soil P Index 4 show
no agronomic response to P applications and have a higher risk of P loss in runoff (Tunney,
2000). Phosphorus losses from such a high P Index soil have the potential to become
exported along the nutrient transfer continuum within a catchment, and may adversely affect
water quality (Wall et al., 2011).
Pig farming in Ireland is concentrated in a small number of counties, with 52% of the
national sow herd located in counties Cavan, Cork and Tipperary (Anon, 2008). At 3.5 ha per
sow, the density of pig farming in County Cavan is the densest in the country (Anon, 2008).
Due to the high concentrations of pig farming in certain areas, the constant application of pig
slurry results in the local land becoming high in STP, which leads to an increased long-term
danger of P losses (which are known as chronic losses). In addition, due to regulations such
48
as S.I. No. 610 of 2010, the amount of slurry that may be spread on these lands will be
reduced, which will lead to a shortage of locally available land on which to spread slurry.
Alternative treatment methods for Irish pig slurry, such as constructed wetlands (CWs),
composting and anaerobic digestion (AD), were investigated by Nolan et al. (2012), but
landspreading was found to be the most cost-effective treatment option. Land being used for
other farming practices, such as tillage, which may have a lower STP and would be more
suitable for the landspreading of slurry, is still often so far removed from the slurry source as
to make transportation of slurry to those locations extremely costly (Nolan et al., 2012).
A possible novel alternative, not explored by Nolan et al. (2012), is the chemical amendment
of pig slurry. Based on a laboratory scale experiment, it was suggested in Chapter 2 that
chemical amendment of pig slurry should be explored further, with flow dimensions added,
to examine nutrient speciation losses in runoff on a high P Index soil.
Alum, aluminium chloride (AlCl3), lime and ferric chloride are commonly used as coagulants
in slurry and wastewater separation operations. Smith et al. (2004) found in a field-based
study that AlCl3, added at 0.75% of final slurry volume to slurry from pigs on a phytaseamended diet, could reduce slurry dissolved reactive P (DRP) by 84% and runoff DRP by
73%. In a field study, Smith et al. (2001) found that alum and AlCl3, added at a
stoichiometric ratio of 0.5:1 Al:total phosphorus (TP) to pig slurry, achieved reductions of
33% and 45%, respectively, in runoff water, and reductions of 84% in runoff water when
adding both alum and AlCl3 at 1:1 Al:TP. In an incubation study, Dou et al. (2003) found that
technical-grade alum, added to pig slurry at 0.25 kg kg-1 of slurry dry matter (DM), and flue
gas desulfurization by-product (FGD), added at 0.15 kg kg-1, each reduced DRP by 80%. Dao
(1999) amended stockpiled cattle manure with caliche, alum and flyash in an incubation
experiment, and reported water extractable P (WEP) reductions in amended manure,
compared to the study control, of 21, 60 and 85%, respectively.
Chapter 2 examined the effectiveness and feasibility of six different amendments, added to
pig slurry, at reducing DRP concentration in overlying water in an experiment which
attempted to simulate a contact mechanism between slurry and soil. Slurry and amended
slurry were applied to intact 100-mm-diameter soil cores, positioned in glass beakers. The
49
slurry was left for 24 h and the soil was gently saturated over a further 24 h. 500 mL of water
was then added to the beaker. A rectangular paddle, positioned at mid-height in the overlying
water, was set to rotate at 20 rpm for 30 h to simulate overland flow, and water samples were
taken over the duration of the study and tested for DRP. The effectiveness of the amendments
at reducing DRP in overlying water were (in decreasing order): alum (86%), FGD (74%),
poly-aluminium chloride (PAC) (73%), ferric chloride (71%), flyash (58%) and lime (54%).
Ranked in terms of feasibility, which took into account effectiveness, cost and other potential
impediments to use, they were: alum, ferric chloride, PAC, flyash, lime and FGD.
However, whilst allowing comparison between different amendments at reducing P in
overlying water, the agitator test did not simulate surface runoff of nutrients under conditions
which attempted to replicate on-farm scenarios. In the present study, a laboratory runoff box
study was chosen over a field study as it was less expensive and conditions such as surface
slope, soil conditions, and rainfall intensity can be standardized for testing. The expensive
nature of field experiments and inherent variability in natural rainfall has made rainfall
simulators a widely used tool in P transport research (Hart et al., 2004). The runoff box
experiment was sufficient to compare treatments and no effort was made to extrapolate fieldscale coefficients using this experiment. Unlike previous studies, which used a much higher
rainfall intensity of 50 mm h-1 (Smith et al., 2001; Smith et al., 2004), the present study
examined surface runoff of nutrients under a calibrated rainfall intensity of 10.3±0.15 mm h1
, which has a much shorter return period and is more common in North Western Europe. It is
also high enough so as to produce runoff in a reasonable period of time. The present study
provides the first comparison of the effects on runoff concentrations and loads following the
addition of amendments to Irish pig slurry.
The aim of this laboratory study was to investigate P and SS losses during three consecutive
simulated rainfall events and to:
1) Elucidate if amendment of pig slurry controls incidental (losses which take place when a
rainfall event occurs shortly after slurry application and before slurry infiltrates into the
soil) and chronic P losses over time to below that of the soil control, and
2) Compare how amendment of pig slurry affects P speciation and metal losses in runoff
when compared with control and slurry-only treatments.
50
3.2 Materials and Methods
3.2.1 Slurry collection and characterisation
Pig slurry was taken from an integrated pig unit in Teagasc Research Centre, Moorepark,
Fermoy, Co. Cork, Republic of Ireland in March 2011. The sampling point was a valve on an
outflow pipe between two holding tanks, which were sequentially placed after a holding tank
under the slats. To ensure a representative sample, this valve was turned on and left to run for
a few minutes before taking a sample. The slurry was stored in a 25-L drum inside a fridge at
4oC prior to testing. The TP and total nitrogen (TN) were determined using persulphate
digestion. Ammonium N (NH4-N) was determined by adding 50 mL of slurry to 1 L of 0.1M
HCl, shaking for 30 min at 200 rpm, filtering through Whatman No. 2 filter paper, and
analysing using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland).
Slurry pH was determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany). Dry matter (DM) content
was determined by drying at 105oC for 24 h. The physical and chemical characteristics of the
pig slurry used in this experiment and characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in
Ireland are presented in Table 3.2.
Table 3.2 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland.
TP
TN
TK
NH4-N
pH
(mg L-1)
DM
Reference
(%)
613±40
2800±212
800
4200
1630
6621
2666
5.77
McCutcheon, 1997a
900±7
4600±21
2600±10
3.2±2.3
O’ Bric, 1991a
2290 ±39
7.85 ± 0.03
3.41± 0.08
The present study
S.I. No. 610 of 2010
a
Values changed to mg L-1 assuming densities of 1 kg L-1, ± standard deviation
3.2.2 Soil collection and analysis
Intact grassed soil samples (n=15), 120-cm long, 30-cm wide, 10-cm deep, were collected
from a local dry stock farm in Galway, Republic of Ireland. Soil samples (n=3) – taken from
the upper 10 cm from the same location were air dried at 40 °C for 72 h, crushed to pass a 2
mm sieve and analysed for Morgan’s P (the national test used for the determination of plant
51
available P in Ireland) using Morgan’s extracting solution (Morgan, 1941). Soil pH (n=3) was
determined using a pH probe and a 2:1 ratio of deionised water-to-soil. The particle size
distribution was determined using a sieving and pipette method (B.S.1377-2; BSI, 1990a) and
the organic content of the soil was determined using the loss on ignition (LOI) test
(B.S.1377-3; BSI, 1990b). The soil used was a poorly-drained, sandy loam textured topsoil
(58% sand, 27% silt, 15% clay) with a STP of 16.72±3.58 mg L-1 (making it a P index 4 soil
according to S.I. No. 610 of 2010, on which P may not be spread, except in those
circumstances mentioned in Table 3.1), total potassium (TK) of 127.39±14.94 mg L-1, a pH
of 7.65±0.06 and an organic matter content of 13±0.1%.
3.2.3 Slurry amendment
The results of a laboratory micro-scale study in Chapter 2 were used to select amendments
and their application rates to be used in the present study. The amendments, which were
applied on a stoichiometric basis, were: (1) commercial grade liquid alum (8% Al2O3) applied
at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al:TP]; (2) commercial-grade liquid ferric chloride (38% FeCl3) applied at
a rate of 0.89:1 [Fe:TP]; and (3) commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminium chloride (PAC)
(10% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al:TP]. The other amendments used in Chapter 2
(FGD, flyash and lime) were unexamined in the present study on the basis of effectiveness
and feasibility. The amendments were added to the slurry in a 2-L plastic container, mixed
for 10 s, and then applied evenly to the grassed sods. The compositions of the amendments
used are shown in Table 3.3.
3.2.4 Rainfall simulation study
Stainless steel laboratory runoff boxes, 100 cm-long, 22.5 cm-wide and 7.5 cm-deep with
side-walls 2.5 cm higher than the grassed sods, were used in this experiment. The runoff
boxes were positioned under a rainfall simulator. The rainfall simulator (Fig. 3.1) consisted of
a single 1/4HH-SS14SQW nozzle (Spraying Systems Co., Wheaton, IL) attached to a 4.5-mhigh metal frame, and calibrated to achieve an intensity of 10.3±0.15 mm h-1 and a droplet
impact energy of 260 kJ mm-1 ha-1 at 85% uniformity after Regan et al. (2010). The source for
the water used in the rainfall simulations had a DRP concentration of less than 0.005 mg L-1,
a pH of 7.7±0.2 and an electrical conductivity (EC) of 0.435 dS m-1. Each runoff box had 552
mm diameter drainage holes, spaced at distances of 0.3 m centre to centre, positioned in a
line and spanning the length of the base, after Regan et al. (2010). Muslin cloth was placed at
the base of each runoff box before packing the sods to prevent soil loss. Immediately prior to
the start of each experiment, the sods were trimmed and packed in the runoff boxes. To
prevent cracking, sods were first trimmed into two 0.5-m lengths and then placed in the
runoff box. Each sod was then butted against its adjacent sod to form a continuous surface.
Molten candle wax was used to seal any gaps between the soil and the sides of the runoff
box, while the joints between adjacent soil samples did not require molten wax. The packed
sods were then saturated using a rotating disc, variable-intensity rainfall simulator (Fig. 3.2,
after Williams et al., 1997), and left to drain for 24 h by opening the 5-mm-diameter drainage
holes before continuing with the experiment. At this point (t = 24 h), when the soil was at
approximately field capacity (the water content held in the soil after excess water has drained
away), slurry and amended slurry were spread on the packed sods and the drainage holes
were sealed. They remained sealed for the duration of the experiment. They were then left for
48 h in accordance with S.I. No. 610 of 2010. At t = 72 h, 96 h and 120 h (Rainfall Event
(RE) 1, RE 2 and RE 3), rainfall was applied (to the same sods), and each event lasted for a
duration of 30 min after runoff began. Surface runoff samples for each event were collected
in 5-min intervals over this 30-min period. The laboratory runoff box experiment was
sufficient to compare treatments and no effort was made to extrapolate field-scale coefficients
using this experiment.
Figure 3.1 The rainfall simulator experimental setup.
53
3.2.5 Runoff collection and analysis
The following treatments were examined in triplicate (n=3) within 21 d of sample collection:
(1) a grassed sod-only treatment with no slurry applied (2) a grassed sod with unamended
slurry (the slurry control) applied at a rate of 19 kg TP ha-1, and (3) grassed sods receiving
amended slurry applied at a rate of 19 kg TP ha-1.
After each 5-min interval, runoff water samples were tested for pH. A subsample was passed
through a 0.45-µm filter and analysed colorimetrically for DRP using a nutrient analyser
(Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Filtered (passed through a 0.45-µm
filter) and unfiltered subsamples, collected at 10, 20 and 30 min after runoff began, were
tested for total dissolved P (TDP) and TP using acid persulphate digestion. Particulate
phosphorus was calculated by subtracting TDP from TP. Dissolved un-reactive phosphorus
(DUP) was calculated by subtracting DRP from TDP. Suspended sediment was tested by
vacuum filtration of a well-mixed (previously unfiltered) subsample through Whatman GF/C
(pore size: 1.2 µm) filter paper. As the amendments used contain metals, namely Al and Fe,
filtered subsamples collected at 10, 20 and 30 min after runoff began, were analysed using an
ICP (inductively-coupled plasma) VISTA-MPX (Varian, California). The limit of detection
was 0.01 mg L−1.
Figure 3.2 Rainfall Simulator (isometric drawing and photo of underside).
54
Table 3.3 Characterisation of amendments used in this study.
Amendment
Alum
8% Al2O3
pH
Ferric
Chloride
38% FeCl3
1.25
-1
WEP
mg kg
0
4.23
Al
%
Ca
%
Fe
%
K
%
As
mg kg-1
Cd
-1
mg kg
Co
mg kg-1
Cr
mg kg-1
-1
Cu
mg kg
Mg
mg kg-1
Mn
mg kg-1
Mo
-1
mg kg
Na
mg kg-1
Ni
mg kg-1
PAC
10 % Al2O3
1.0 – 3.0
<0.01
38
1
<2.8
<1.0
0.21
<3.4
<0.2
2.1
<48
<2.0
<65
<1370
1.4
<48
<1.0
2.8
<14
<2.0
-1
P
mg kg
Pb
mg kg-1
V
-1
mg kg
Zn
mg kg-1
Sb
mg kg-1
<2.8
<1.0
Se
-1
<2.8
<1.0
-1
<0.7
<0.2
Hg
mg kg
mg kg
3.2.6 Statistical analysis
This experiment analysed the pairwise comparisons of the mean concentrations of DRP,
DUP, TDP, PP, TP, SS, Al and Fe in the runoff when slurry only (slurry control), no slurry,
and slurry that was treated with alum, PAC and FeCl3, was applied. The significances of the
pairwise comparisons were based upon the results of an analysis of the data by a multivariate
linear model in SPSS 19 (IBM, 2011). Covariance structures and interactions were
investigated, but found not to be of significance with respect to the pairwise comparisons.
Probability values of p>0.05 were deemed not to be significant.
55
3.3 Results and Discussion
3.3.1 Phosphorus in runoff
The vast majority of the Irish landscape has rolling topography and is highly dissected with
surface water or drainage systems. The present laboratory experiment mimics a field
neighbouring such a landscape. The high drainage density, high annual rainfall and low
annual potential evapotranspiration (20–50% of rainfall) facilitate the hydrological pathways
for transfers of P (Wall et al., 2011). However, the losses from the runoff boxes in the present
study may be buffered further by the landscape before reaching an export continuum.
The flow-weighted mean concentrations (FWMC) of P in runoff from the soil-only treatment
were constant for all REs, with TP and TDP decreasing from 0.62 and 0.42 mg L-1
(corresponding to loads of 3.6 and 2.5 mg m-2), respectively, during RE 1 to 0.60 and 0.41
mg L-1 (3.4 and 2.3 mg m-2) during RE 3 (Fig. 3.3). These concentrations of TP were above
0.03 mg P L–1, the median phosphate level above which significant deterioration in water
quality may be seen in rivers (Clabby et al., 2008). These high losses were as expected as the
soil used was a P index 4 soil, which carries the risk of increased P loss in runoff (Tunney,
2000) and may not normally have P spread on it (S.I. No. 610 of 2010). Although the
buffering capacity of water ensures that the concentration of the water in a stream or lake will
not be as high as the concentration of runoff, chronic losses of P are a major issue in water
quality.
Phosphorus losses of all types increased with slurry application (Fig. 3.3). The FWMC of
DRP for the runoff from the slurry control, averaged over the three rainfall events, was 0.89
mg L-1 (4.47 mg m-2), which was significantly different to, and over twice as high as the soilonly treatment (p=0.00) (Table 3.4). Although the concentration of TDP in runoff from the
slurry control decreased slightly during each event (Fig. 3.3), the TDP fraction of TP
increased from 45% during RE1 to 55% during RE2, and 66% during RE3. This was due to
the level of PP in runoff reducing, albeit not significantly (p>0.05), between each event. A
similar trend was replicated across all amended slurry treatments. As PP is generally bound to
the minerals (particularly Fe, Al, and Ca) and organic compounds contained in soil, and
constitutes a long-term P reserve of low bioavailability (Regan et al., 2010), it may provide a
56
variable, but long-term, source of P in lakes as it is associated with sediment and organic
material in agricultural runoff (Sharpley et al., 1992). The average FWMC of 0.89 mg DRP
L-1 (4.47 mg m-2) from the slurry control was relatively consistent with the results of Smith et
al. (2001), who obtained DRP concentrations of 5.5 mg L-1 in surface runoff following slurry
application to grassland at 44.9 kg TP ha-1 and subjected to a rainfall intensity of 50 mm h-1, 1
day after application.
Poly-aluminium chloride was the best performing amendment, and significantly reduced all P
to concentrations not significantly different (p>0.05) to soil-only. Across all treatments, no
form of P changed significantly between REs (p>0.05). Within each treatment and each
event, there were certain variances between replications expressed as standard deviations
from the average. These may be attributable to the inherent variability within soils and slurry,
such as differing chemical and physical properties, from two very non-homogeneous
materials.
The amendments used in this study all significantly reduced DRP, DUP, TDP, PP and TP
concentrations in the runoff water compared to the slurry control, but resulted in DRP
concentrations which were not significantly different (p>0.05) to the soil-only treatment. No
statistical relationship was found between the runoff P concentrations and pH, or volume of
runoff water measured during each test. Dissolved un-reactive phosphorus concentrations
from all amendments were not significantly different to each other (p>0.05) and were
significantly higher than the soil-only, but lower than the slurry control. Similarly, the
addition of amendments reduced the PP, TP and TDP losses below the slurry control (Table
3.4); however, they were still higher than the soil-only. This indicates that even after
chemical amendment, slurry spread on high STP soil still poses an environmental danger.
This is because chemical amendment of slurry will only affect the contribution of the slurry
to runoff P, but will not affect the contribution of the soil itself which, for high STP soils,
may still pose the danger of chronic P losses.
57
Table 3.4 Flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) averaged over three rainfall events, and removals (%) for dissolved reactive P (DRP),
dissolved un-reactive P (DUP), total dissolved P (TDP), particulate P (PP), total P (TP), and suspended sediment (SS).
Soil Only
Slurry Only
DRP
Removal DUP
mg L-1
%
ab
0.34
0.89
c
Alum
a
0.33
FeCl3
0.32b
PAC
0.26
abcd
ab
-
mg L-1
a
0.08
b
0.27
63
c
0.15
64
71
0.12
Removal TDP
%
-
mg L-1
a
0.42
b
1.17
Removal PP
mg L-1
%
a
0.19
-
b
1.01
-
46
a
0.48
59
0.60
0.11c
59
0.43c
63
0.47c
c
56
0.37
68
0.27
ac
cd
ad
Means in a column, which do not share a superscript, were significantly different (p< 0.05)
58
Removal TP
%
-
mg L-1
a
0.61
b
2.17
cd
40
1.08
53
0.91c
73
0.64
ad
Removal
SS
Removal
%
mg L-1
%
38.06
ab
-
71.52
b
-
50
43.82
ab
39
58
24.27 ab
66
70
18.61 a
74
-
Flow-weighted mean concentration (mg L-1) for TP in runoff
Figure 3.3 Histogram of flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) for dissolved reactive
phosphorus (DRP), dissolved unreactive phosphorus (DUP) and particulate phosphorus (PP)
in runoff at time intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h (denoted as 1, 2 and 3) after land application of
pig slurry. Hatched line = 30 µg P L-1 standard (Clabby et al., 2008).
The average FWMC of DRP and TDP in runoff from the amended slurry treatments were
approximately half of that in the runoff from the slurry control. This may be due to the
amendments reducing the DRP of the slurry itself, similar to what Smith et al. (2001)
experienced. Smith et al. (2001) added alum and AlCl3, each at 0.5:1 and 1:1 Al:TP, to pig
slurry. Each reduced DRP in pig slurry by roughly 77% at 0.5:1 and 99% at 1:1. At the low
rate of application (0.5:1), DRP in runoff water was reduced by 33 and 45% when adding
alum and AlCl3, respectively. At the high rate of application (1:1), each amendment reduced
runoff DRP by 84%. These were similar to the results obtained from the present study, which
59
ranged from 63% for alum added at 0.88:1 Al:TP to 71% for PAC added at 0.72:1 (Table
3.4).
Flow-weighted mean concentration (mg L-1) for SS in runoff
3.3.2 Suspended sediment, metals and pH in runoff
Figure 3.4 Histogram of average flow-weighted mean concentration of suspended sediment
(SS) (mg L-1) in runoff at time intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h (denoted as 1, 2 and 3) after land
application of pig slurry. Hatched line = 35 mg L-1 standard (S.I. No 419 of 1994).
The SS concentration in runoff reduced during each RE, apart from the soil-only treatment,
which was more constant. The amendments all reduced the SS concentration to below that of
the slurry control (Fig. 3.4) and, in the case of FeCl3 and PAC, the average FWMC was
below 35 mg L-1, the treatment standard necessary for discharge to receiving waters (S.I. No
419 of 1994). However, the concentration of SS in the soil-only treatment and the slurry
control were highly variable. The SS concentrations in runoff were not significantly different
between treatments, apart from PAC, which was significantly different to the slurry control
(p=0.024).
60
The order of effectiveness of removal was the same as for P, i.e. from best to worst, they are:
PAC, FeCl3 and alum. The removals of SS for alum (39%), FeCl3 (66%) and PAC (74%) were
not as high as those reported by Brennan et al. (2011), who reported SS removals of 88%,
65% and 83% in runoff when adding alum, FeCl3 and PAC, respectively, to dairy cattle
slurry. However, the DM of the dairy cattle slurry used by Brennan et al. (2011) was 10.5%,
compared to 3.41% in this study, and all treatments resulted in average FWMCs well above
for metals in runoff
Flow-weighted mean concentration (µg L-1)
the slurry-only treatment of the present study.
Figure 3.5 Histogram of average flow-weighted mean concentration of metals (mg L-1) in
runoff at time intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h (denoted as 1, 2 and 3) after land application of
pig slurry.
Figure 3.5 shows the average FWMCs of Al and Fe in runoff water. As expected, alum and
PAC resulted in increased levels of Al, with Al levels in runoff from alum significantly
different to all other treatments (p<0.05). This agrees with Edwards et al. (1999), who
reported increased levels of Al in runoff water from alum-amended horse manure and
municipal sludge, compared to the slurry control, in a plot study. Edwards et al. (1999) added
alum at 10% by dry manure and dry sludge mass. Horse manure and municipal sludge were
spread at 9.3 and 7.8 Mg ha-1, respectively, with rainfall applied within 1 h of application at
64 mm h-1 for 30 min after runoff began. The FWMC of Al in runoff increased from 1.22 and
0.61 mg L-1 from unamended horse manure and municipal sludge, respectively, to 1.80 and
1.01 mg L-1 for alum-amended horse manure and municipal sludge. In the present study, Al
61
from PAC was significantly lower than from alum (p=0.00), significantly higher than from
FeCl3 (p=0.036), but not significantly different to the soil-only or slurry control (p>0.05).
Ferric chloride resulted in increased levels of Fe, significantly different (p<0.05) to all other
treatments. Alum reduced Fe levels in runoff compared to the slurry control. This result was
in agreement with Moore et al. (1998) and Edwards et al. (1999). Moore et al. (1998) added
alum at 10% by weight in a plot study to poultry litter, which was spread at varying land
application rates up to 8.98 Mg ha-1. Rainfall was applied immediately after slurry application
(RE1), and 7 days later (RE2) at 50 mm h-1 for 27.5 min after runoff began. At the highest
land application rate, Fe loads in runoff were reduced from 94.2 and 31.1 g ha-1 from the
slurry control for RE1 and RE2 to 37.8 and 12.1 g ha-1 from the alum-amended litter.
Edwards et al. (1999) reported a FWMC of 0.17 mg Fe L-1 in runoff from alum-amended
horse manure, compared to 0.44 mg L-1 from unamended slurry, and 0.10 mg L-1 from soilonly. There are no limits for levels of Al in surface water intended for the abstraction of
drinking water, but the concentrations of Fe measured in the runoff were well within the
mandatory limit of 0.3 mg L-1(EEC, 1975).
The effect of amendments on slurry pH is a potential barrier to their implementation as it
affects P sorbing ability (Penn et al., 2011) and ammonia (NH3) emissions from slurry
(Lefcourt and Messinger, 2001). The use of acidifying amendments can lead to an increased
release of hydrogen sulphide gas (H2S) from slurry, which is believed to be responsible for
human and animal deaths when slurry is agitated on farms. However, the results from this
laboratory experiment showed the pH of the runoff water not to be significantly affected by
the use of amendments (p>0.05). However, further investigation would need to be undertaken
to confirm that pollution swapping (the increase in one pollutant as a result of a measure
introduced to reduce another pollutant (Healy et al., 2012)) does not occur.
3.3.3 Outlook for use of amendments as a mitigation measure
In this laboratory study, amendments to pig slurry significantly reduced runoff P from runoff
boxes compared to the slurry control. However, the DRP concentration in runoff remained at
or above the DRP concentration in runoff from soil-only, indicating that, although incidental
losses can be mitigated by chemical amendment, chronic losses cannot be reduced. Future
research must examine the effect of amendments on P loss to runoff at field-scale under real62
life conditions with conditions which laboratory testing cannot mimic, such as the presence of
drainage, flow dynamics and a watertable. Other research which must also be carried out
includes the effect of amendments on leachate, gaseous emissions and plant available P.
The use of amendments also incurs the extra cost of purchasing amendments. In Chapter 2, it
was estimated that the cost of spreading amended slurry at the stoichiometric rates used in
this study would be €3.33, €2.45, and €3.69 m-3 for alum, FeCl3, and PAC, respectively. This
would be in comparison to €1.56 m-3 to spread unamended slurry.
Increased regulation of pig slurry management will accentuate the problem of chronic P
losses. A possible solution, not examined in the present study, would be to modify the soil
with a P sorbing material.
3.4 Conclusions
The findings of this study were:
1. On the high STP soil tested, P losses from the grassed soil-only were high and were
further increased following slurry application. All amendments tested reduced all
types of P losses, but did not reduce them significantly to below that of the soil-only
treatment, the average FWMC of TP of which was 0.61 mg L-1 and which comprised
31% as PP. For the slurry control, the average FWMC of the surface runoff was 2.17
mg TP L-1, 47% of which was PP. In decreasing order of effectiveness at removal of
P, the most successful amendments were: PAC, which reduced the average FWMC of
TP to 0.64 mg L-1 (42% PP); FeCl3, which reduced TP to 0.91 mg L-1 (52% PP); and
alum, which reduced TP to 1.08 mg L-1 (56% PP).
2. For each treatment, TP and TDP concentrations in runoff decreased after each RE.
However, the fraction of TDP within runoff increased, due to large, although not
significant, decreases in PP between events.
3. The amendments all reduced the SS to below that of the slurry control, and in the case
of FeCl3 and PAC, to below that of the soil only. These two treatments also reduced
the average FWMC of SS to below 35 mg L-1, the treatment standard necessary for
discharge to receiving waters.
63
4. Although encouraging, the effectiveness of the amendments trialed in this study
should be validated at field scale.
3.5 Acknowledgements
The first author gratefully acknowledges the award of the EMBARK scholarship from
IRCSET to support this study. The authors would like to thank Raymond Brennan and Liam
Henry.
Summary
This chapter showed that chemical amendment of pig slurry led to decreased losses of P and
SS in runoff at events 48 h and more after application. The next chapter will investigate the
effect of amendments during rainfall at time intervals between application and rainfall of less
than 48 h, to see if chemical amendment can make slurry spreading operations more flexible
for farmers.
64
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68
Chapter 4
Chemical amendment of pig slurry: control of runoff related risks
due to episodic rainfall events up to 48 h after application
Introduction
This chapter examines the effect of chemical amendments on runoff losses from rainfall
events at varying intervals up to 48 h following landspreading, and has been published in
Environmental Science and Pollution Research (O’ Flynn et al., 2013. Chemical amendment
of pig slurry: control of runoff related risks due to episodic rainfall events up to 48 h after
application, 20, 6019-6027). Cornelius O’ Flynn collected analysed and interpreted slurry,
soil and runoff water data, and is the primary author of this article. Drs. Mark Healy, Owen
Fenton, Nyncke Hoekstra and Shane Troy contributed to the research design and paper
writing. Dr. Paul Wilson conducted the statistical analysis.
69
Chemical amendment of pig slurry: control of runoff
related risks due to episodic rainfall events up to 48 h after
application
Cornelius J. O’ Flynna, Mark G. Healy a*, Paul Wilsonc, Nyncke J. Hoekstrab, Shane M.
Troyd, Owen Fentonb
a
Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, County Galway, Ireland.
b
Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, County Wexford, Ireland.
c
School of Technology, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK.
d
Scottish Rural College, Roslin Institute Building, Edinburgh, UK.
*Corresponding author. Tel: +353 91 495364; fax: +353 91 494507. E-mail address:
[email protected]
Abstract
Losses of phosphorus (P) from soil and slurry during episodic rainfall events can contribute
to eutrophication of surface water. However, chemical amendments have the potential to
decrease P and suspended solids (SS) losses from land application of slurry. Current
legislation attempts to avoid losses to a water body by prohibiting slurry spreading when
heavy rainfall is forecast within 48 h. Therefore, in some climatic regions, slurry spreading
opportunities may be limited. The current study examined the impact of three time intervals
(TIs; 12, 24 and 48 h) between pig slurry application and simulated rainfall with an intensity
of 11.0±0.59 mm h-1. Intact grassed soil samples, 1 m-long, 0.225 m-wide and 0.05 m-deep,
were placed in runoff boxes and pig slurry or amended pig slurry was applied to the soil
surface. The amendments examined were: (1) commercial-grade liquid alum (8% Al2O3)
applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al/total phosphorus (TP)] (2) commercial-grade liquid ferric
chloride (38% FeCl3) applied at a rate of 0.89:1 [Fe/TP] and (3) commercial-grade liquid
poly-aluminium chloride (10 % Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al/TP]. Results showed
that an increased TI between slurry application and rainfall led to decreased P and SS losses
70
in runoff, confirming that the prohibition of land-spreading slurry if heavy rain is forecast in
the next 48 h is justified. Averaged over the three TIs, the addition of amendment reduced all
types of P losses to concentrations significantly different (p<0.05) to those from unamended
slurry, with no significant difference between treatments. Losses from amended slurry with a
TI of 12 h were less than from unamended slurry with a TI of 48 h, indicating that chemical
amendment of slurry may be more effective at ameliorating P loss in runoff than current TIbased legislation. Due to the high cost of amendments, their incorporation into existing
management practices can only be justified on a targeted basis where inherent soil
characteristics deem their usage suitable to receive amended slurry.
Keywords: pig slurry, runoff, P sorbing amendments, Nitrates Directive, Water Framework
Directive, phosphorus, suspended solids
4.1 Introduction
During episodic rainfall events, phosphorus (P) and reactive nitrogen (Nr) fluxes from critical
(soil) and incidental (e.g. slurry or fertiliser application) sources can contribute to
anthropogenic eutrophication of surface water (Preedy et al. 2001; Kleinmann et al. 2006;
Wall et al. 2011). European Union (EU) legislation attempts to optimise nutrient use on
agricultural land and to avoid losses to water bodies. The Nitrates Directive (OJEC 1991;
Monteney 2001) has been ratified into national legislation in Ireland and limits the
magnitude, timing and placement of inorganic and organic fertilizer applications (Jordan et
al. 2012). Specifically, it stipulates a mandatory closed period for slurry spreading during
winter. Slurry application is limited on soils with a high soil test P (e.g. Morgan’s P > 8 mg
L-1), thereby restricting the available land for application (Nolan et al. 2012). Additionally,
slurry spreading is prohibited when heavy rainfall is forecast within 48 h of application.
Therefore, slurry spreading opportunities may be limited, especially in wet years or in areas
where soil trafficability is limited due to wet or saturated soil conditions.
Even though there is very clear evidence that P losses in runoff are reduced with increasing
time interval (TI) between slurry application and the occurrence of a rainfall-runoff event
(Daverede et al. 2004; Hart et al. 2004), most studies have investigated the effect of
cumulative rainfall events. Only a few studies have looked at the effect of the TI between
71
slurry application and the first rainfall event (Sharpley 1997; Smith et al. 2007; Allen and
Mallarino 2008). Moreover, none of these studies assessed a range of TIs shorter than 48 h,
which is the limit set by Irish and UK regulations. Assessing the risk of runoff at TIs within
these 48 h is highly relevant, as the occurrence of heavy rain can often not be ruled out in the
highly unpredictable North Atlantic climate (McDonald et al. 2007; Creamer et al. 2010). In
addition, this would provide evidence that a 48-h limit does not unnecessarily restrict the
opportunity of farmers to apply slurry. To the best of our knowledge, there are no studies that
address the validity of adhering to a 48-h dry period between application and the first heavy
rainfall event, apart from work by Serrenho et al. (2012), who found that adherence to a
minimum TI of 48 h between application of dairy soiled water and rainfall was prudent to
reduce incidental P losses in runoff. Investigating the development of P losses during first
rainfall events within 48 h after application can shed more light on the validity and
effectiveness of this measure.
Measures to effectively control agricultural P transfer from soil to water include chemical
amendment of slurry. Alum, aluminium chloride (AlCl3), lime and ferric chloride (FeCl3)
have been shown to significantly reduce P losses in surface runoff arising from the land
application of dairy cattle slurry (Brennan et al. 2011, 2012), dairy soiled water (Serrenho et
al. 2012), poultry litter (Moore et al. 1999, 2000) and pig slurry (Dao 1999; Dou et al. 2003;
Smith et al. 2001, 2004; Chapter 2; Chapter 3). In particular, Chapter 3 showed that the
runoff losses from amended pig slurry 48 h after application could be reduced to levels
similar to the soil-only treatment. This warrants the effort of assessing the effectiveness of
these additives at TIs of less than 48 h between application and first rainfall event.
Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of TI (12, 24 and 48 h) between
pig slurry application and first rainfall event on the losses of P and suspended solids (SS) in
runoff, and to assess the hypothesis that adding chemical amendments may be more effective
than current TI-based legislation.
4.2 Materials and Methods
4.2.1 Slurry collection and characterisation
72
Pig slurry was taken from an integrated pig unit in Teagasc Research Centre, Moorepark,
Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland in April 2012. The sampling point was a valve on an outflow pipe
between two holding tanks, which were sequentially placed after a holding tank under slats
on which no bedding materials were used. To ensure a representative sample, this valve was
turned on and left to run for a few minutes before taking a sample. The slurry was stored
inside a cold-room fridge at 10oC prior to testing. Total P (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) were
determined using persulfate digestion. Ammonium-N (NH4+-N) was determined by adding 50
ml of slurry to 1 L of 0.1M HCl, shaking for 30 min at 200 rpm, filtering through no. 2
Whatman filter paper, and analysing using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical
Labsystems, Finland). Slurry pH was determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany). Dry
matter content was determined by drying at 105oC for 24 h. The physical and chemical
characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and characteristic values of pig slurry
from other farms in Ireland are presented in Table 4.1.
Table 4.1 Physical and chemical characteristicsa of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland.
TP
TN
TK
NH4+-N
pH
-1
(mg L )
DM
Reference
(%)
482±37
3,850±20
800
4,200
1630
6,621
2,666
5.77
McCutcheon 1997b
900±7
4,600±21
2,600±10
3.2±2.3
O’ Bric 1991b
2250 ±72
7.37 ± 0.07
3.22± 0.15
The present study
S.I. No. 610 of 2010
a
TP total P; TN total N; TK total K; DM dry matter. bValues changed to mg L-1 assuming densities of 1 kg L-
1
.
4.2.2 Pig slurry amendment
Amendments for the present study were chosen based on effectiveness of P sequestration and
feasibility criteria (cost and potential for metals release to the environment; Table 4.2) as
determined in Chapters 2 and 3. The amendment rates, which were applied on a
stoichiometric basis were: (1) commercial grade liquid alum (8% Al2O3) applied at a rate of
0.88:1 [Al/TP] (2) commercial-grade liquid ferric chloride (38% FeCl3) applied at a rate of
0.89:1 [Fe/TP]; and (3) commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminium chloride (PAC) (10%
73
Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al/TP]. The compositions of the amendments used are the
same as those used in Chapters 2 and 3.
4.2.3 Soil collection and analysis
Intact grassed soil samples 120 cm-long, 30 cm-wide, 10 cm-deep (n=45) were collected
from permanent grassland, which had not received fertiliser applications for more than 10 yr,
in Galway City, Ireland (53°16′N, -9°02′E). Samples were cut out of the ground with a spade
and, to avoid cracking, placed carefully on 1.5 m-long, 0.5 m-wide timber boards. Between
collection and use, soil samples were stored externally to prevent drying. Soil samples (n=3),
taken from the upper 0.1 m from the same location, were oven dried at 40 °C for 72 h,
crushed to pass a 2-mm sieve and analysed for Morgan’s P (the national test used for the
determination of plant available P in Ireland) using Morgan’s extracting solution (Morgan
1941). Soil pH (n=3) was determined using a pH probe and a 2:1 ratio of deionised water to
soil. The particle size distribution was determined using a sieving and pipette method (British
Standards Institution 1990a) and the organic content of the soil was determined using the loss
on ignition test (British Standards Institution 1990b). The soil used was a well-drained, sandy
loam textured, acid brown earth (WRB classification: Cambisol) (58% sand, 29% silt, 14%
clay) with a soil test P of 2.8±0.5 mg L-1, making it a P index 1 soil according to The
European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations
2010 (hereafter referred to as S.I. No. 610 of 2010); total potassium of 203 mg L-1, a pH of
6.4±0.3 and an organic matter content of 5±2%.
4.2.4 Rainfall simulation study
The following treatments were examined within 21 days of sample collection: (1) a grassed
sod-only treatment with no slurry applied, (2) a grassed sod with unamended slurry (the
slurry control) applied at a rate of 19 kg TP ha-1 and (3) grassed sods receiving amended
slurry applied at a rate of 19 kg TP ha-1. Three replications of each treatment were subject to
rainfall at a TI between application and rainfall of either 12 (TI 1), 24 (TI 2) or 48 h (TI 3).
74
Table 4.2 Flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) averaged over three time intervals, application costs per tonne, metal application rate (kg
ha-1), and removals (%) for dissolved reactive P (DRP), dissolved un-reactive P (DUP), total dissolved P (TDP), particulate P (PP), total P (TP)
and suspended solids (SS).
DRP
-1
Removal
DUP
-1
Removal
TDP
mg L
%
mg L
%
mg L
Soil Only
0.10a
-
0.11a
-
Slurry Only
1.34b
-
0.60c
Alum
0.21a
84
FeCl3
0.21a
PAC
0.22a
-1
Removal
PP
Removal
-1
TP
Removal
SS
15.98a
-
-
-
-
377.60c
-
-
-
2.27b
61
101.30b
73
150
16.72a
61
1.88b
67
139.94b
63
250
16.91b
48
2.49b
57
135.68b
64
280
13.68a
mg L
%
mg L
0.21a
-
0.14a
-
0.35a
-
-
1.94c
-
3.85c
-
5.78c
0.28b
53
0.49b
74
1.78b
54
84
0.19b
69
0.40b
80
1.48b
84
0.26b
56
0.48b
75
2.01b
Means in a column, which do not share a letter, were significantly different (p< 0.05). aSpreading rate of Al. bSpreading rate of Fe.
Metals
kg ha-1
%
-1
Costs
€ tonne
mg L
75
Removal
%
%
-1
-1
Stainless steel laboratory runoff boxes, 1 m-long, 0.225 m-wide and 0.075 m-deep, with side
walls of 0.025 m higher than the grassed sods, were used in this experiment. The runoff
boxes were positioned under a rainfall simulator. The rainfall simulator consisted of a single
1/4HH-SS14SQW nozzle (Spraying Systems Co., Wheaton, IL, USA) attached to a 4.5 m
high metal frame, and calibrated to achieve an intensity of 11.0±0.59 mm h-1 and a droplet
impact energy of 260 kJ mm-1 ha-1 at 85% uniformity after Regan et al. (2010). The source for
the water used in the rainfall simulations had a dissolved reactive P (DRP) concentration of
less than 0.005 mg L-1, a pH of 7.7±0.2 and an electrical conductivity of 0.44 dS m-1. Each
runoff box had 5-mm diameter drainage holes, spaced at distances of 0.3 m centre to centre,
positioned in a line and spanning the length of the base, after Regan et al. (2010). Muslin
cloth was placed at the base of each runoff box before packing the sods to prevent soil loss.
Immediately prior to the start of each experiment, the sods were trimmed and packed in the
runoff boxes. To prevent cracking, sods were first trimmed into two 0.5-m lengths and then
placed in the runoff box. Each sod was then butted against its adjacent sod to form a
continuous surface. Molten candle wax was used to seal any gaps between the soil and the
sides of the runoff box, while the joints between adjacent soil samples did not require molten
wax. The packed sods were then saturated using a rotating disc, variable-intensity rainfall
simulator (after Williams et al. 1997), and left to drain for 24 h by opening the 5-mm
diameter drainage holes before continuing with the experiment. At this point, when the soil
was at approximately field capacity, slurry and amended slurry were spread on the packed
sods and the drainage holes were sealed. They remained sealed for the duration of the
experiment. At t = 12, 24 or 48 h, the sods were subjected to a rainfall event, and each event
lasted for a duration of 30 min after runoff began. Different sods were used for each rainfall
event. Surface runoff samples were collected in 5-min intervals over the 30-min period and in
the time period subsequent to when the rainfall simulator was turned off, until no further
runoff samples were available.
Runoff water samples were tested for pH. A subsample was passed through a 0.45-µm filter
and analysed colorimetrically for DRP using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo
Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Filtered (passed through a 0.45-µm filter) and unfiltered
subsamples, collected at 10, 20 and 30 min after runoff began and any subsequent runoff
once rainfall ceased, underwent acid persulfate digestion and were analysed colorimetrically
for total dissolved P (TDP) and TP using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical
76
Labsystems, Finland. Particulate phosphorus (PP) was calculated by subtracting TDP from
TP. Dissolved unreactive P was calculated by subtracting DRP from TDP. Suspended solids
were tested by vacuum filtration of a well-mixed (previously unfiltered) subsample through
Whatman GF/C (pore size, 1.2 µm) filter paper. Prior to filtration, the filter paper was
weighed. After filtration, the filter paper was dried at 105oC for 24 h and reweighed.
4.2.5 Statistical analysis
The data was analysed in R (version 2.15.1, 32 bit) and IBM SPSS 20 using analysis of
variance implemented via a general linear model. There were five levels of treatment (soilonly, slurry-only (the study control), and slurry treated with alum, PAC and FeCl3) and three
levels of the time factor (12, 24 and 48 h). Diagnostic plots indicated that a logarithmic
transformation of the response variable was desirable when analysing the effects of the
predictor variables on the flow-weighted mean concentrations (FWMCs, calculated by
dividing the total load over a rainfall event by the total flow) of DRP, dissolved unreactive P,
TDP, PP and TP, if the normal distributional assumptions of the analysis were to be met. No
transformation was performed for the analysis of SS. Probability values of p>0.05 were
deemed not to be significant.
4.3 Results
4.3.1 Phosphorus in runoff
The FWMC of P in runoff from the soil-only treatment showed no statistically significant
differences between TIs, with average TP and TDP FWMCs of 0.35 and 0.21 mg L-1
(corresponding to loads of 2.48 and 1.49 mg m-2), respectively (Fig. 4.1, Table 4.2). At all
TIs, P losses of all forms increased significantly (p<0.05) with slurry application compared
with the soil only treatment (Fig. 4.1). The increase in losses was particularly high for PP,
and averaged over the three TIs, the PP in runoff from the soil-only contributed 40% of the
TP (Table 4.2) compared to 67% of the runoff from slurry-only. For the slurry-only
treatment, losses of P in runoff significantly (p<0.05) decreased with increasing TI between
application and rainfall. The FWMC of TP and TDP decreased from 8.2 and 3.4 mg L-1
77
(corresponding to loads of 45.7 and 18.9 mg m-2), respectively, at TI 1 to 3.6 and 1.1 mg L-1
Flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) for TP in runoff
(23.5 and 7.5 mg m-2) at TI 3 (Fig. 4.1).
Figure 4.1 Histogram of flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) for dissolved reactive
phosphorus (DRP), dissolved un-reactive phosphorus (DUP) and particulate phosphorus (PP)
in runoff at time intervals of 12, 24 and 48 h after land application of pig slurry.
In general, the addition of chemical amendment significantly (p<0.05) reduced concentrations
of all forms of P lost in runoff at each TI to below the lowest losses from slurry-only, i.e. at a
TI of 48 h (Fig. 4.1). However, with the exception of DRP, all forms of P losses in runoff
from amended slurry were significantly (p<0.05) different to those from soil-only (Table 4.2).
78
There were generally no significant differences between amendments for P losses in runoff.
Time interval had no significant effect on P losses from amended slurry. There was no
Flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) for SS in runoff
evidence of any significant interaction between time and treatment type.
Figure 4.2 Histogram of average flow-weighted mean concentration of suspended solids (SS)
(mg L-1) in runoff at time intervals of 12, 24 and 48 h after land application of pig slurry.
4.3.2 Suspended solids and pH in runoff
Losses of SS in runoff from soil-only did not change significantly with TI, with FWMCs of
15.5, 16.9 and 15.6 mg L-1 (corresponding to loads of 134, 116 and 118 mg m-2) after TIs 1, 2
and 3, respectively (Fig. 4.2). Application of slurry increased SS losses significantly
(p<0.001) to levels over 30 times that of soil-only at TI 1 (482 mg L-1 or 2780 mg m-2).
Similar to the trends observed in P losses for the slurry-only treatment, losses of SS in runoff
decreased with increasing TI between slurry application and rainfall, with statistically
significant differences (p<0.05) between each TI. Similar to the P observations, losses of SS
in runoff from amended slurry at all TIs were less than the lowest losses from unamended
slurry at TI 3 (p<0.05). Whilst diagnostic plots were not entirely satisfactory for SS, all
results were extremely clear-cut and there can be no doubt concerning the significance, or
otherwise, of the results reported. The variable pH proved to be insignificant in all cases.
79
4.4 Discussion
4.4.1 Phosphorus in runoff from soil-only
The soil used in the present study was P deficient (P index 1), which would not normally be
expected to pose a danger of P losses to the environment (Schulte et al. 2010) as such a soil
requires additional nutrients to build up soil P reserves. Phosphorus concentrations in runoff
from the soil-only treatment were often above the Irish surface water regulation of 0.035 mg
reactive P L-1 (S.I. No. 272 of 2009), but overall loads were small and therefore any
deleterious effects to a greater scale cannot be inferred. In the field, rainfall would typically
be less intense, and the soil would have the capacity for vertical drainage. As a result, the
experiment replicated a worst-case scenario in terms of potential P loss from this soil.
Therefore, while P losses from the runoff boxes may be used to compare the effects of
chemical amendments and TI, they are not an accurate measure of P-loss concentration, or
load, to a surface water body that might be expected at field-scale.
4.4.2 Phosphorus in runoff from unamended slurry
Decreased losses of P in runoff with increasing TI between application and rainfall have also
been found in previous research–but at TIs significantly greater than those examined in the
present study. In a plot study, Smith et al. (2007) spread pig slurry at 35 kg P ha-1 and found
that at 30 min rainfall events, each with an intensity of 100 mm h-1, DRP concentrations in
runoff reduced from 8.4 mg DRP L-1 at a TI of 1 day to 2.6 mg DRP L-1 at a TI of 29 days.
Allen and Mallarino (2008) spread pig slurry in a plot study at varying rates up to 108 kg P
ha-1 and found that during 30-min rainfall events, each with an intensity of 76 mm h-1, DRP
and TP loads in runoff were 3.8 and 1.6 times lower at a TI of 10-16 days than at a TI of less
than 24 h. The trend of an initial peak followed by a gradual reduction may be due to the
interaction of the applied P and the conversion from soluble to increasingly recalcitrant forms
over time (Edwards and Daniel 1993). The current study indicates that this process already
starts within 24 h after application, and confirms that the prohibition of the land-spreading of
slurry, if heavy rain is forecast in the next 48 h (S.I. No. 610 of 2010), is justified.
80
The extra PP lost in runoff from unamended slurry, associated with sediment and organic
material in agricultural runoff, may provide a variable, but long-term, source of P in lakes
(Sharpley et al. 1992), and as it is generally bound to the minerals (particularly iron (Fe), Al,
and calcium (Ca)) and organic compounds contained in soil, it constitutes a long-term P
reserve of low bioavailability (Regan et al. 2010).
4.4.3 The effect of slurry amendment on P losses
The use of amendment resulted in reduced P losses in runoff compared to unamended slurry,
with losses reduced at each TI to below the lowest losses from slurry-only. There appeared to
be little difference in runoff losses of P between the different amendments (Table 4.2).
Higher losses in runoff from amended slurry than soil-only is because chemical amendment
of slurry will only reduce the incidental P losses to the environment, but will not reduce
chronic (long-term) P losses from the soil. In a field-based study, Smith et al. (2004) found
that AlCl3, added at 0.75% of final slurry volume to slurry from pigs on a phytase-amended
diet, could reduce runoff DRP by 73%. In another field-based study, Smith et al. (2001)
found that alum and AlCl3, added at a stoichiometric ratio of 0.5:1 Al/TP to pig slurry,
achieved reductions of 33 and 45%, respectively, in runoff water, and reductions of 84% in
runoff water when adding both alum and AlCl3 at 1:1 Al/TP.
Investigation of chemical amendment effectiveness on two soils using identical amendments,
spreading rate and TI (Table 4.3) produced varied results due to differing soil characteristics.
Both soils were of a similar texture but have different levels of soil organic carbon. Even
though the current study was conducted on a P index 1 soil and had a lower chronic TP loss
than measured in Chapter 3, incidental losses from slurry were higher, but not significantly
so. Additionally, the effectiveness of the amendments (PAC, in particular) was much lower
than reported in Chapter 3 (Table 4.3). This may be explained by differences in soil
characteristics between the two experiments: the soil used in Chapter 3 had a higher buffering
capacity (i.e. more binding sites to retain added P) than that of the current study, due to
differences in soil composition, including pH and organic matter. This reduction in
effectiveness may also be the cause for little difference in P losses between the different
amendments (Table 4.2). The effectiveness of slurry amendments is, hence, soil specific and
should therefore be examined in future studies.
81
Table 4.3 Comparison of flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) of TP in runoff from
two different soils with identical amendments, spreading rates and TIsa
Soil 1
Soil 2
Study
Current study
Chapter 3
Soil texture
Sandy loam
Sandy loam
Organic matter (%)
5±2
13±0.1
Soil organic carbon (%)
2.8
7.4
Soil pH
6.4±0.3
7.65±0.06
Parent material
Granite
Limestone
1
4
Morgan’s P (mg L )
2.8±0.5
16.72±3.58
Runoff results
TP
P index
-1
Removal
-1
mg L
(%)
TP
mg L
Removal
-1
(%)
Soil-only
0.36
0.62
Slurry-only
3.65
2.68
PAC
2.77
24%
0.79
71%
Alum
2.08
43%
1.39
48%
FeCl3
2.17
41%
1.14
57%
a
Runoff results are from rainfall events at TIs of 48 h, which occurred in both studies.
Based on the results from this study, runoff from amended slurry will have reduced P losses
regardless of TI between landspreading and the occurrence of rainfall, indicating that
chemical amendment may be more effective in reducing P losses than the current TI-based
legislation.
4.4.4 Suspended solids and pH in runoff
As is the case with P, the reduction of SS was also related to the flocculating properties of the
amendments. As well as removing PP from suspension, they also aid in adhesion of slurry
particles, making them less prone to loss in runoff (Brennan et al. 2011). Apart from soilonly, losses of SS in runoff were all well above 35 mg L-1, the treatment standard necessary
for discharge to receiving waters (S.I. No 419 of 1994). However, whilst the results from this
82
laboratory study may be used to compare the effects of chemical amendments and TI, they
are not intended as a measure of actual losses to surface water bodies at field-scale.
The effect of amendments on slurry pH is a potential barrier to their implementation as it
affects P sorbing ability (Penn et al. 2011) and ammonia (NH3) emissions from slurry
(Lefcourt and Messinger 2001). However, the results from this laboratory experiment, similar
to previous studies (Smith et al. 2004; Chapter 3), showed that there was no effect on the pH
of the runoff water due to the use of amendments. However, further investigation would need
to be undertaken to confirm that pollution swapping (the increase in one pollutant as a result
of a measure introduced to reduce another pollutant (Healy et al. 2012)) does not occur.
4.4.5 Targeted use of amendments
Due to high costs involved (Chapter 2), use of chemical amendments in slurry for land
application can only be justified on a targeted basis, in particular: (1) soils with high
mobilisation potential, soil test P and hydrological transfer potential to surface water, i.e. a
critical source area and (2) at times when storage capacity becomes the critical factor, i.e.
towards the end of the open period when unpredictable weather conditions would normally
prohibit slurry spreading. In these cases, the adoption of the use of chemical amendment of
slurry as part of a programme of measures would be justified. However, chemical
amendments should only be used on soils that have been extensively tested for suitability.
The difference in removals experienced in the current study and in Chapter 3 (Table 4.3)
demonstrates the impact that soil type has on the efficacy of chemical amendment of pig
slurry. The future uptake of such a mitigation strategy is dependent on the additional cost
being considered a worthwhile expense, based on weather conditions and regulatory
constraints at the time. If climatic conditions and legislation results in inadequate periods
during which to spread slurry, and exerts pressure on slurry storage facilities, then chemical
amendment may be seen as the most cost-effective and feasible option.
4.6 Conclusions
The excessively high losses of P in runoff at TIs of less than 48 h after slurry application,
combined with the strong decrease of P losses within this time frame, confirm that the
83
prohibition of land-spreading slurry if heavy rain is forecast in the next 48 h (S.I. No. 610 of
2010) is justified. Chemical amendment of pig slurry was effective at decreasing P and SS
losses from the slurry. Runoff P losses from amended slurry were lower than from
unamended slurry regardless of TI between land application and the occurrence of rainfall,
indicating that chemical amendment may be more effective at reducing P losses than current
TI-based legislation. The cumulative deposition of slurry over time, coupled with
unpredictable weather patterns, increases the need for amendment, as leaching and overland
flow are all possible vectors for pollution. The tightening of environmental legislation or the
rigorous enforcement of current Water Framework Directive (European Commission 2000)
legislation means that investment in P reduction will become justified. Due to the high cost of
amendments, their incorporation into existing management practices can only be justified on
a targeted basis, in particular: (1) critical source areas and (2) towards the end of the open
period when unpredictable weather conditions would normally prohibit slurry spreading.
However, chemical amendments should only be used on soils that are suitable. There is a
pervading difficulty in gaining acceptance for new technologies by farmers, and so strategies
such as those suggested by this study may never be implemented at farm-scale. Future work
must be carried out on the refinement of spreading lands within critical source areas based on
soil suitability to receive amended slurry.
Chemical amendment has also been used for the poultry and dairy industries, but may also
have the potential to be used in the treatment of wastes from other agricultural industries and
sludge from wastewater treatment. If chemical amendment becomes a more prevalent
practice, then the cost of employing it as a mitigation measure may decrease, making it an
even more attractive option. Although encouraging, the effectiveness of the amendments
examined in this study must be validated at field-scale.
4.7 Acknowledgments
The first author gratefully acknowledges the award of the EMBARK scholarship from the
Irish Research Council to support this study. The authors would like to thank Dr. David Wall,
Malika Sidibe and Perinne Rutkowski.
84
Summary
This chapter investigated the performance of chemical amendments for pig slurry at time
intervals of less than 48 h and showed that chemical amendment may be more effective than
current time interval-based legislation at reducing incidental P losses. The next chapter
attempts to investigate the effect of using chemically amended slurry on leachate, soil
properties and greenhouse gas emissions.
85
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90
Chapter 5
Impact of chemically amended pig slurry on greenhouse gas
emissions, soil properties and leachate
Introduction
This chapter assesses the impacts of chemically amended pig slurry on leachate nutrient
losses, soil properties and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and has been published in the
Journal of Environmental Management (O’ Flynn et al., 2013. Impact of chemically amended
pig slurry on greenhouse gas emissions, soil properties and leachate, 128, 690-698).
Cornelius O’ Flynn developed the experimental design and collected, analyzed and
interpreted the leachate, soil and GHG experimental data. He is the primary author of this
article. Drs. Mark Healy, Owen Fenton, Gary Lanigan and Shane Troy contributed to the
research design and paper writing. Cathal Somers aided in gas sample analysis.
91
Impact of chemically amended pig slurry on greenhouse
gas emissions, soil properties and leachate
Cornelius J. O’ Flynna, Mark G. Healy a*, Gary J. Laniganb, Shane M. Troyc, Cathal Somersb,
Owen Fentonb
a
Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland.
b
Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, Ireland.
c
Scottish Rural College, Roslin Institute Building, Edinburgh, UK.
*Corresponding author. Tel: +353 91 495364; fax: +353 91 494507. E-mail address:
[email protected]
Abstract
The effectiveness of chemical amendment of pig slurry to ameliorate phosphorus (P) losses in
runoff is well studied, but research mainly has concentrated only on the runoff pathway. The
aims of this study were to investigate changes to leachate nutrient losses, soil properties and
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to the chemical amendment of pig slurry spread at 19
kg total phosphorus (TP), 90 kg total nitrogen (TN), and 180 kg total carbon (TC) ha-1. The
amendments examined were: (1) commercial grade liquid alum (8% Al2O3) applied at a rate
of 0.88:1 [Al:TP] (2) commercial-grade liquid ferric chloride (38% FeCl3) applied at a rate of
0.89:1 [Fe:TP] and (3) commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminium chloride (PAC) (10% Al2O3)
applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al:TP]. Columns filled with sieved soil were incubated for 8 mo at
10oC and were leached with 160 ml (19 mm) distilled water wk-1. All amendments reduced
the Morgan’s phosphorus and water extractable P content of the soil to that of the soil-only
treatment, indicating that they have the ability to reduce P loss in leachate following slurry
application. There were no significant differences between treatments for nitrogen (N) or
carbon (C) in leachate or soil, indicating no deleterious impact on reactive N emissions or soil
C cycling. Chemical amendment posed no significant change to GHG emissions from pig
slurry, and in the cases of alum and PAC, reduced cumulative N2O and CO2 losses. Chemical
amendment of land applied pig slurry can reduce P in runoff without any negative impact on
92
nutrient leaching and GHG emissions. Future work must be conducted to ascertain if more
significant reductions in GHG emissions are possible with chemical amendments
Keywords: pig slurry; P sorbing amendments; Water Framework Directive; nitrate
5.1 Introduction
The European Union Water Framework Directive (EU WFD) (European Commission (EC),
2000) aims to achieve ‘at least’ good ecological status for all water bodies, including rivers,
lakes, groundwater, estuaries and coastal waters, in all member states by 2015. To meet this
objective, Programmes of Measures (POM) must be implemented in all EU member states. In
Ireland, POM are enacted by the Nitrates Directive (European Economic Community, 1991),
which, amongst other measures, limits the magnitude, timing and placement of inorganic
fertilizer and organic manure applications to land.
In Ireland, as part of the National Action Programme (NAP) to address the requirements of
the EU WFD, the maximum amount of livestock manure that may be spread on land, together
with manure deposited by the livestock, cannot exceed 170 kg nitrogen (N) ha-1 yr-1 and 49
kg phosphorus (P) ha-1 yr-1. This limit is dependent on grassland stocking rate and soil test
phosphorus (STP; based on plant available Morgan’s P (Pm)). Soil P Index categories of 1
(deficient) to 4 (excessive) are used to classify STP concentrations in Ireland (Schulte et al.,
2010). Phosphorus losses from P Index 4 soils have the potential to become exported along
the transfer continuum within a catchment, and may adversely affect surface and groundwater
quality (Wall et al., 2011). The amount by which these limits can be exceeded will be
reduced gradually to zero by January 1, 2017. These new regulations will have an impact on
the pig industry in particular, as it is focused in relatively small areas of Ireland, and will, in
effect, reduce the amount of land available for the application of pig slurry. This may lead to
the need for pig slurry export, which is energetically questionable at distances over 50 km
(Fealy and Schroder, 2008).
Landspreading is currently the most cost effective treatment option for pig slurry in Ireland
(Nolan et al., 2012). Due to the high concentrations of pig farming in certain areas, in the
midlands and south of the country especially, the constant application of pig slurry results in
93
certain fields (those nearest the farm or the most suitable areas for spreading (Wall et al.,
2011)) becoming high in STP, which may take years-to-decades to be reduced to
agronomically optimum levels (Schulte et al., 2010).
When applications of pig slurry are followed by rainfall events, incidental (short-term),
diffuse transfers of P and N may occur in runoff. Losses of both P and N may also occur
through leaching, which ultimately could have adverse consequences for water bodies
(McDowell and Sharpley, 2001; Fenton et al., 2011; Sophocleous, 2011). Karstified aquifers,
which are overlain by free-draining soils, are particularly susceptible to groundwater
pollution, as they have less attenuation potential than surface runoff pathways and there is a
high potential for macropore flow of dissolved and particulate forms of P (Kramers et al.,
2012). In Ireland, karstified limestone covers approximately 20% of the area of the country
(Daly, 2005), and much pig farming is conducted in karst-covered areas.
Chemical amendment of pig slurry has been shown to be an effective means of reducing
surface runoff of P and suspended sediment (SS) by numerous researchers (Smith et al.,
2001, 2004; Dou et al, 2003), but as yet, the role pig slurry amendments have to play in
controlling leached losses has not been investigated. Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 examined the
effectiveness and feasibility of different chemical amendments, added to pig slurry, in
reducing P, SS and metal concentrations in a series of laboratory studies, conducted first at
bench scale (Chapter 2) and then using a laboratory rainfall simulator (Chapter 3). In the
latter study (Chapter 3), found additions of alum, ferric chloride (FeCl3) and poly-aluminium
chloride (PAC) reduced total phosphorus (TP) and SS losses in surface runoff, without posing
a significant risk of metal losses.
Although there has been much work done on the chemical amendment of surface applied pig
slurry, there is an absence of work investigating any potential negative impact that this may
have on N and carbon (C) losses and on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Brennan et al.
(2012) found in a plot study that chemical amendment of dairy cattle slurry with PAC
reduced ammonium-N (NH4+-N) runoff losses, but alum and lime led to increased NH4+-N
losses. All amendments reduced P losses in runoff, but had no effect on nitrate (NO3--N)
runoff losses. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (2007) estimates that
agricultural activities, including land application of animal manures, account for about 20%
94
of the anthropogenic global warming budget, with emissions principally comprised of
methane (CH4) from enteric fermentation and manure management and nitrous oxide (N2O)
from N application to soils. The EU 2020 Climate and Energy Package and its associated
Effort-Sharing Decision (Decision No 406/2009/EC) envisages reducing GHG emissions by
20% by 2020 across the whole of the EU. Whilst previous work has investigated the impact
of chemical amendments to pig slurry to reduce P in runoff (Chapter 2; Chapter 3), no study
has investigated the impact of chemical amendment of pig slurry on GHG emissions.
Therefore, the aims of this laboratory study were to investigate if, due to changes in slurry
chemistry and pH, chemical amendment of pig slurry: (1) reduced leached losses of N, P and
carbon (C) from a low P index soil (2) resulted in changes to soil properties at different time
intervals during the study period and (3) led to a reduction in GHG emissions over 28 d.
5.2 Materials and Methods
5.2.1 Slurry collection and characterization
Table 5.1 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland.
TP
TN
TC
NH4+-N
pH
(mg L-1)
620±32
2940±156 5860±80
DM
Reference
(%)
1739 ±8
7.51 ± 0.08
3.02± 0.24
The present study
800
4200
S.I. No. 610 of 2010
1630
6621
5.77
McCutcheon, 1997a
900±7
4600±21
3.2±2.3
O’ Bric, 1991a
TP, total P; TN, total N; TK, total K; DM, dry matter. aValues changed to mg L-1 assuming densities of 1 kg L-1.
Pig slurry was taken from an integrated pig unit in Teagasc Research Centre, Moorepark,
Fermoy, Co. Cork, Rep. of Ireland in September 2011. The sampling point was a valve on an
outflow pipe between two holding tanks. To ensure a representative sample, this valve was
turned on and left to run for a few minutes before taking a sample. The slurry was stored in a
25-L drum inside a cold-room fridge at 10oC prior to testing. The TP and total nitrogen (TN)
were determined using persulfate digestion. Ammonium-N (NH4+-N) was determined by
adding 50 ml of slurry to 1L of 0.1M HCl, shaking for 30 min at 200 rpm, filtering through
95
Whatman No. 2 filter paper, and analysing using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo
Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Total carbon was measured using a nutrient analyser
(Biotector, BioTector Analytical Systems Ltd, Ireland). Slurry pH was determined using a pH
probe (WTW, Germany). Dry matter (DM) content was determined by drying at 105oC for 24
h. The physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland are presented in Table 5.1.
5.2.2 Pig slurry amendment
Amendments for the present study were chosen based on effectiveness of P sequestration and
feasibility criterion (cost and potential environmental impediments) determined by Chapters 2
and 3. The amendment rates, which were applied on a stoichiometric basis, were: (1)
commercial grade liquid alum (8% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al:TP] (2) commercialgrade liquid ferric chloride (38% FeCl3) applied at a rate of 0.89:1 [Fe:TP], and (3)
commercial-grade liquid PAC (10% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al:TP]. Amendments
were added to slurry in a 100-ml plastic cup and mixed for 10 s. The compositions of the
amendments used are shown in Table 5.2.
Table 5.2 Characterisation of amendments used in this study (Chapters 2 and 3).
Amendment
Alum
8% Al2O3
pH
Ferric
Chloride
38% FeCl3
1.25
-1
WEP
mg kg
0
Al
%
4.23
10 % Al2O3
1.0 – 3.0
Fe
%
<0.01
38
As
mg kg-1
1
<2.8
<1.0
Cd
-1
0.21
<3.4
<0.2
-1
2.1
<48
<2.0
mg kg
Cr
mg kg
Cu
mg kg-1
<65
Mn
mg kg-1
<1370
Ni
-1
mg kg
1.4
<48
<1.0
Pb
mg kg-1
2.8
<14
<2.0
Sb
-1
<2.8
<1.0
Se
-1
mg kg
<2.8
<1.0
Hg
mg kg-1
<0.7
<0.2
mg kg
96
PAC
5.2.3 Soil collection and analysis
A sample of the plough layer (top 0.2 m) of an acid brown earth soil was collected from a
tillage farm in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Republic of Ireland. The site is typical of a free draining
soil, underlain by a karstified limestone aquifer. Tillage soil was chosen, as this type of soil is
often of a lower P index and is more suitable for the landspreading of pig manure. The soil
was air-dried, sieved (<2 mm) and thoroughly mixed. Soil samples (n=3) were oven dried at
40 °C for 72 h, crushed to pass a 2-mm sieve and analysed for Morgan’s P (Pm, the national
test used for the determination of plant available P in Ireland) using Morgan’s extracting
solution (Morgan, 1941). Soil total carbon (TC) and TN were determined by high
temperature combustion using a LECO Truspec CN analyser (LECO Corporation, St. Joseph,
MI, USA). Soil pH (n=3) was determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany) and a 2:1 ratio
of deionised water-to-soil. The STP of the sample used in the column and batch experiments
was 3.21±0.29 mg L-1 (making it a P index 2 soil according to S.I. No. 610 of 2010), total
potassium (TK) of 41.8±3.00 mg L-1, TC of 1.84±0.05 %, TN of 0.19±0.00 %, C:N ratio of
9.87±0.22, a pH of 6.26±0.13, an organic matter (OM) content of 4.68±0.14%. A low range
STP tillage soil was chosen for this experiment to avoid the risk of background P from a high
range STP soil ‘masking’ the effect of each treatment. A low range STP tillage soil was also
chosen, as present and future regulations will have the effect of making this type of land more
preferable for pig slurry spreading in the future.
The particle size distribution was determined using a sieving and pipette method (B.S.1377-2;
British Standards Institution (BSI), 1990a) and the organic content of the soil was determined
using the loss on ignition (LOI) test (B.S.1377-3; BSI, 1990b). The unstructured soil in the
column and batch experiments consisted of 57% sand, 29% silt and 14% clay, giving it a
sandy loam texture.
During any interaction with chemically amended slurry, the background soil P adsorption rate
must also be considered and can be assessed in a batch experiment following the procedure
outlined by Fenton et al. (2009). Ortho-phosphorus (PO43--P) solutions (90 ml), synthesised
using dissolved potassium phosphate (KH2PO4) in distilled water, ranging in concentration
from 4.1 to 28.9 mg P L-1, were added to 5 g samples of soil and shaken for 24 h using an
end-over-end shaker. Samples were passed through 0.45-µm syringe filters prior to being
97
analysed colorimetrically for DRP using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical
Labsystems, Finland). A Langmuir isotherm was used to estimate the mass of P adsorbed per
mass of the soil (McBride, 2000):
Ce
1 Ce


x
ab b
m
[5.1]
where Ce is the concentration of P in solution at equilibrium (mg L-1), x/m is the mass of P
adsorbed per unit dry weight of soil (g kg-1), a is a constant related to the binding strength of
molecules onto the soil, and b is the maximum adsorption capacity of the soil (g kg-1). In
conjunction with the P adsorption capacity of the soil, the equilibrium P concentration of the
soil (EPC0) (i.e. the point where no net desorption or sorption occurs) was derived using
(Olsen and Watanabe, 1957):
S′= kdC−S0
[5.2]
where S′ is the mass of P adsorbed from solution (mg kg-1), C is the final P concentration of
the solution, kd is the slope of the relationship between S′ and C, and S0 is the amount of P
originally sorbed to the soil (mg L-1). The mass of P adsorbed per unit dry weight of soil was
0.224 g P kg-1 and the soil’s EPC0 was 0.513 mg L-1.
Soil water holding capacity (WHC) was determined according to Cassel and Nielsen (1986).
Soil was placed on a funnel whose sides were covered with Whatman No. 2 filter paper, and
distilled water was added to the soil until it became completely saturated. Saturated soil was
weighed, oven-dried overnight at 105oC, and weighed again.
Water-filled pore space, which can impact on rates of denitrification in soil, was estimated in
accordance with Haney and Haney (2010):
WFPS 
WC *  b
n
[5.3]
98
where ρb is bulk density and n is total porosity (mineral density was taken as 2.65 g cm-3).
Mineral N in soil (NH4+-N, NO3--N and nitrite-N (NO2--N)) was determined at 0, 7 and 28 d
after land application of pig slurry by adding 20 g of soil to 2 M KCl, shaking for 1 h,
filtering through Whatman No. 2 filter paper, and testing using a nutrient analyser (Konelab
20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Extra soil columns (n=3 for each treatment) were
set up to allow sampling after 7 d for soil mineral N.
5.2.4 Experimental columns
The experiment was conducted in 0.3-m-deep and 0.104-m-internal diameter columns with a
perforated stop-end inserted at the base to ensure that the soil remained free draining. A 0.05m layer of gravel, with a grain size of 5 – 10 mm, was placed at the base of each column.
Sieved soil (< 2 mm), previously mixed with distilled water to achieve a water content (WC)
of 26% (to replicate the average in situ field condition of the soil), was placed in 0.05 m-deep
increments in each column, so as the average bulk density was approximately 1.1 g cm-3
(equivalent to field conditions) and the total depth of soil was 0.2 m. At each depth
increment, soil was pressed along the wall of the column to avoid preferential flow
(Bhupinder Singh, pers. comm.).
The following treatments were examined: (1) soil-only with no slurry applied (2) soil with
unamended slurry applied (the study control) and (3) soil receiving amended slurry. Slurry
was spread at 19 kg TP, 90 kg TN, and 180 kg TC ha-1. Columns were stored in a controlled
environment for 8 mo at 10o C at 75% humidity, based on typical climatic conditions in
Ireland (Walsh, 2012). All columns received 160 ml of distilled water per wk, applied twice
weekly in two 80-ml increments over 2 h. This is equivalent to 980 mm of rainfall yr-1, or 19
mm wk-1, which would be in the mid-range of average annual rainfall amounts in Ireland
(Walsh, 2012). This application rate remained constant for the duration of the study;
however, actual rainfall rates will vary considerably over the course of a year. Drainage water
leachate was collected in plastic containers via funnels positioned under the perforated stopend of each column.
99
5.2.5 Leachate collection and analysis
The leachate from each column was collected and sampled weekly from week 0. Upon
collection, samples were weighed and a subsample was passed through a 0.45-µm filter and
analysed colorimetrically for DRP, NO2-, NH4+ and total oxidized nitrogen (TON) using a
nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Nitrate was calculated
by subtracting NO2- from TON. Filtered and unfiltered subsamples were tested for total
dissolved phosphorus (TDP) and TP using acid persulfate digestion and analysed
colorimetrically using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20). Particulate phosphorus (PP) was
calculated by subtracting TDP from TP. Dissolved un-reactive phosphorus (DUP) was
calculated by subtracting DRP from TDP. Total nitrogen, total organic carbon (TOC) and
total inorganic carbon (TIC) were measured using a nutrient analyser (Biotector, BioTector
Analytical Systems Ltd, Ireland). Total carbon was calculated by adding TIC and TOC.
Leachate pH was determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany). This addressed the first
aim of the study.
5.2.6 Destructive soil sampling
Soil columns were destructed after 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8 mo (n=3 for each treatment, at each time
period) and tested for WC, OM, pH, water extractable P (WEP), Pm, TN and TC. Before
analyses, each column was divided into 3 layers (0 to 0.05 m, 0.05 to 0.1 m, and 0.1 to 0.2 m
from the surface). Organic matter content of the soil was determined using the LOI test
(B.S.1377-3; BSI, 1990b). Soil pH was determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany) and a
2:1 ratio of deionised water-to-soil. Water extractable P was measured by shaking 5 g of soil
in 25 ml of distilled water for 30 min, filtering through a 0.45-μm syringe filter, prior to being
analysed colorimetrically for DRP (McDowell and Sharpley, 2001) using a nutrient analyser
(Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Morgan’s P was determined using
Morgan’s extracting solution (Morgan, 1941). Soil TC and TN were determined for the
middle layer only in each column (0.05 to 0.1-m-depth) by high temperature combustion
using a LECO Truspec CN analyser (LECO Corporation, St. Joseph, MI, USA). This
addressed the second aim of the study.
100
Figure 5.1 PVC column with rubber stopper.
5.2.7 Greenhouse gas emissions
Direct GHG emissions (N2O, carbon dioxide (CO2) and CH4) were analysed over a 28-d
period in accordance with Troy et al. (2013). Samples were taken on the day of slurry
application (day 1) and subsequently on days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 19, 23 and 28. The
tops of the PVC columns were sealed using rubber stoppers (Fig. 5.1). A sample of the air in
the headspace above the columns was taken through a rubber septum using a polypropylene
syringe with a hypodermic needle. The sample was immediately transferred into a preevacuated 7-ml screw cap septum vial. Samples were taken at 0, 5, 10 and 20 min after the
sealing of columns with a rubber stopper. After this period, the rubber stopper was removed.
Nitrous oxide, CO2 and CH4 concentrations were analysed using a gas chromatograph
(Varian CP 3800 GC, Varian, USA) fitted with a 63Ni electron capture detector (ECD) for
N2O analysis, a thermal conductivity detector (TCD) for CO2 analysis, and a flame ionization
detector (FID) for CH4 analysis. During the analysis, 0.7 ml of a sub-sample from each vial
was drawn and injected first into a magnesium perchlorite (14-22 mesh) packed pre-column
to remove any moisture, followed by a 3-m-long, 3-mm-outside diameter stainless steel
column packed with Poropak Q (80/100 mesh). The column oven and injector temperature
were both 60°C and the detector temperature was 350°C. Argon (BOC Gases, Ireland),
flowing at 35 ml min-1, was used as a carrier gas. Samples were fed into the system by a
Combi-Pal automatic sampler (CTC Analysis, Switzerland) controlled by computer software.
101
Two-thirds of the injected sample was split to the ECD detector and one-third to the TCD and
FID in series. This allowed the simultaneous measurement of all three gases from the one
sample. Areas under the peaks were integrated using Star Chromatography Workstation
(Varian, USA). Fluxes were calculated from the change in headspace concentration over
measured period using:
V
 p  100  MW
1
dGas
 10 y 
 10 x  chamber
dt
R T
A
[5.4]
where: dGas is measured in ppm or ppb to get concentration at a certain point in time or ppm
h-1 or ppb h-1 to get the change in concentration over time; 10x is a recalculation (10-6 if
starting from ppm or 10-9 if starting from ppb); Vchamber is the volume of the chamber used; p
is atmospheric pressure; MW is the molecular weight either of N or N2O, depending on which
compound in which the emissions are expressed; R is a gas constant, 8314 J mol-1 K-1; T is
temperature in Kelvin; 10y is a recalculation (103 if the results are expressed in mg or 106 if in
µg); and A is the area of the chamber. The fluxes were then converted into mg m-2 d-1. Mean
daily emissions rates were calculated for each replicate by interpolation of values in between
the measurement days using arithmetic means (Velthof and Oenema, 1995; Flechard et al.,
2007). This addressed the third aim of the study.
5.2.8 Statistical analysis
The data was analysed in SPSS 20 (IBM, 2011) using a general linear model. Mean values of:
WC; OM; soil P, N and C species; soil pH; leachate P, N and C species; leachate pH; and
GHGs were analysed in a multivariate Tukey analysis when soil-only, slurry-only (the study
control), and slurry treated with alum, PAC and FeCl3 were applied. Data met the normal
distributional assumptions required. Probability values of p>0.05 were deemed not to be
significant.
102
5.3 Results
5.3.1 Water content, organic matter and soil pH
The WHC of the soil was found to equate to a WC of 53%. In general, there were no
significant differences observed in WC between treatments, apart from at 1 mo in the top soil
layer, where the soil-only treatment had a WC of 30.33±0.24% (data not shown).
Comparatively, at the same time, slurry-only, alum, FeCl3 and PAC treatments had WCs of
31.76±0.44%, 32.45±0.35%, 31.89±0.78%, and 32.13±0.39%. Water contents increased with
depth: WCs in the top soil layer were generally between 30 and 33%, between 31 and 34% in
the middle layer, and between 35 and 38% in the bottom layer. These equated to water-filled
pore space (WFPS) values of between 56 and 62% in the top layer, between 58 and 64% in
the middle layer, and between 65 and 72% in the bottom layer. Organic matter (generally
between 4.3 and 4.7%) and soil pH (between 6 and 6.5) were not significantly affected by
treatment, depth or time.
5.3.2 Nitrogen leachate and soil properties
There were no statistically significant differences between treatments for TN in soil (Table
5.3). No significant differences between treatments were observed for the N in leachate
water, which mainly comprised NO3-. The amount of NO3- leached increased rapidly until wk
2, before it reduced gradually thereafter (Fig. 5.2 c). Approximately 95% of TN leached from
the columns over the duration of the studies was in the form of NO3-, with roughly 0.2% in
the form of NO2- and 0.3% in the form of NH4+. The C:N ratio for all treatments at all
destructive periods was between 9 and 10 (Table 5.3). Nitrite loads peaked between wks 10
and 26 (Fig. 5.2 b).
At all times, mineral N in soil comprised less than 2% of soil TN. Seven days after
application, soil NH4+ was observed to be highest for the alum and FeCl3 treatments (83.7
and 79.3 g NH4+-N kg-1 soil, respectively). This compared with values of 44.0 and 48.9 g
NH4+-N kg-1 soil for soil-only and slurry-only, respectively.
103
Table 5.3 Average soil phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon contents by sampling time and
depth.
Treatment
Month Depth (m)
Soil Only Slurry Alum
FeCl3
PAC
Morgan's P
1
0-0.05
3.53 a
7.79 c
4.19 ab
4.64 b
4.40 ab
a
a
a
a
-1
0.05-0.1
3.69
3.80
3.75
3.69
3.68 a
(mg L ) a
a
a
a
0.1-0.2
3.53
3.99
3.79
3.95
3.84 a
a
b
a
a
2
0-0.05
3.84
6.12
4.41
4.61
4.52 a
a
a
a
a
0.05-0.1
4.02
4.03
3.85
3.80
3.99 a
0.1-0.2
4.14 a
4.31 a
3.88 a
3.86 a
4.08 a
a
c
b
b
3
0-0.05
3.19
6.28
4.22
4.55
4.28 b
a
a
a
a
0.05-0.1
3.14
3.17
3.50
3.60
3.39 a
a
a
a
a
0.1-0.2
3.35
3.55
3.71
3.78
3.67 a
a
c
ab
bc
6
0-0.05
2.69
4.60
3.44
4.18
3.52 ab
0.05-0.1
3.22 a
3.41 a
3.21 a
3.62 a
3.10 a
a
a
a
a
0.1-0.2
3.51
3.67
3.65
3.61
3.28 a
a
c
ab
bc
8
0-0.05
2.17
3.42
2.63
3.00
3.38 c
a
ab
ab
ab
0.05-0.1
2.44
2.39
2.67
2.95
3.16 b
a
a
a
a
0.1-0.2
2.66
3.14
3.01
3.38
3.66 a
WEP
1
0-0.05
0.54 a
1.13 b
0.49 a
0.57 a
0.59 a
a
a
a
a
-1
0.05-0.1
0.56
0.58
0.54
0.58
0.57 a
(mg kg ) a
a
a
a
0.1-0.2
0.64
0.56
0.57
0.60
0.54 a
a
b
a
a
2
0-0.05
0.51
0.99
0.57
0.57
0.55 a
a
a
a
a
0.05-0.1
0.49
0.47
0.49
0.45
0.50 a
0.1-0.2
0.50 a
0.46 ab
0.39 b
0.43 ab 0.45 ab
a
b
a
3
0-0.05
0.62
1.06
0.69
0.71 a
0.73 a
a
a
a
a
0.05-0.1
0.65
0.66
0.61
0.67
0.62 a
a
a
a
a
0.1-0.2
0.64
0.70
0.65
0.63
0.62 a
a
b
a
a
6
0-0.05
0.54
0.87
0.60
0.63
0.52 a
0.05-0.1
0.54 a
0.55 a
0.50 a
0.52 a
0.49 a
a
a
a
a
0.1-0.2
0.49
0.51
0.47
0.47
0.44 a
a
b
a
a
8
0-0.05
0.58
0.79
0.55
0.56
0.62 ab
a
a
a
a
0.05-0.1
0.58
0.62
0.55
0.53
0.57 a
a
a
a
a
0.1-0.2
0.55
0.61
0.58
0.57
0.56 a
TC
1
0.05-0.1
1.70 a
1.73 a
1.86 a
1.69 a
1.74 a
a
a
a
a
2
0.05-0.1
1.78
1.73
1.77
1.76
1.68 a
(%) a
a
a
a
3
0.05-0.1
1.72
1.73
1.74
1.84
1.68 a
a
a
a
a
6
0.05-0.1
1.81
1.78
1.74
1.79
1.66 a
a
a
a
a
8
0.05-0.1
1.75
1.73
1.73
1.79
1.75 a
TN
1
0.05-0.1
0.18 a
0.18 a
0.20 a
0.19 a
0.19 a
a
a
a
a
2
0.05-0.1
0.18
0.18
0.18
0.19
0.18 a
(%) a
a
a
a
3
0.05-0.1
0.18
0.18
0.18
0.19
0.18 a
a
a
a
a
6
0.05-0.1
0.19
0.19
0.18
0.18
0.18 a
a
a
a
a
8
0.05-0.1
0.19
0.19
0.18
0.18
0.18 a
C:N Ratio
1
0.05-0.1
9.53 a
9.39 a
9.32 a
9.07 a
9.30 a
a
a
a
a
2
0.05-0.1
9.73
9.89
9.69
9.41
9.30 a
a
a
a
a
3
0.05-0.1
9.54
9.61
9.51
9.80
9.39 a
a
a
a
a
6
0.05-0.1
9.38
9.43
9.78
9.78
9.32 a
a
a
a
a
8
0.05-0.1
9.31
9.35
9.79
10.04
9.76 a
abc
Means in a row, which do not share a superscript, were significantly different (p< 0.05)
104
Ammonium(mg)
a)
0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0.00
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Week
b)
Nitrite (mg)
0.05
0.04
0.03
0.02
0.01
0.00
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
20
25
30
35
Week
Nitrate (mg )
c)
25
20
15
10
5
0
0
5
10
15
Week
Figure 5.2 Average weekly loads (± standard deviation) of ammonium a) nitrite b) and
nitrate c) leached column-1.
105
5.3.3 Nitrous oxide emissions
Nitrous oxide emissions from the soil-only treatment remained fairly constant throughout the
28-d study (Fig. 5.3 a), with cumulative emissions of 22±8 mg N2O-N m-2. Application of pig
slurry led to an increased cumulative release of N2O. Cumulative emissions across all Napplied treatments were high, ranging approximately from 60 to 200 mg N2O-N m-2. The
highest cumulative losses of 188±86 mg N2O-N m-2 was observed for FeCl3-amended slurry
and this was the only treatment statistically significantly different (p=0.008) to soil-only, but
was not statistically significantly different to any other treatment. Cumulative emissions from
all treatments remained relatively constant between 4 and 7 d after application of slurry, at
which point they increased more rapidly, although not significantly, and continued to rise
until the end of the study. However, N2O losses from FeCl3–amended slurry were at all times
greater than all other treatments. Alum and PAC-amended slurries both had less, but not
statistically significantly different, N2O losses than unamended slurry, but more than soilonly.
5.3.4 Phosphorus leachate and soil properties
There were no significant differences in the quantity of P leached between treatments (data
not shown), with the majority of TP made up of TDP for all treatments. Particulate
phosphorus comprised approximately 30% of the TP load in all cases.
In general, there were no significant differences in levels of Pm and WEP between treatments
in the bottom two soil layers (Table 5.3). However, in the top soil layer, application of
unamended slurry resulted in increased Pm and WEP, which were significantly different
(p<0.05) to the soil-only columns at all destructive periods (Table 5.3). Levels of Pm and
WEP in the top soil layer were both reduced by the application of amended slurry to levels
not significantly different to soil-only columns (Table 5.3).
5.3.5 Carbon leachate
The average cumulative amount of TOC and TIC leached is shown in Fig. 5.4 a. The average
TC leached from the soil-only columns was 217.3 mg. This increased to 253 mg from
106
columns with unamended slurry, with reduced amounts of TC leached from columns treated
with amended slurry. However, there were no statistically significant differences for TC loads
between treatments. There was an increase in loads of TC leached from wk 1 to wk 2 (Fig.
5.4 b); however, this was due to lower leachate volumes during wk 1 than wk 2, rather than
any changes in concentration. The loads of TC leached then decreased after wk 2 until the
end of the study, during which time there was no significant change in flows.
5.3.6 Carbon emissions
Emissions of CO2 followed a similar trend to N2O emissions (Fig. 5.3 b). The soil-only
treatment had the lowest emissions, with cumulative losses of 36±4 g CO2-C m-2. Losses
increased upon application of slurry, but were only statistically significantly different
(p=0.008) in the case of FeCl3-amended slurry, which had cumulative losses of 106±23 g
CO2-C m-2. However, this was not statistically significantly different to any other unamended
or amended slurry treatment. Alum and PAC-amended slurries had less, but not statistically
significant different, losses than unamended slurry. Methane losses were highly variable (Fig.
5.3 c), but no treatment had significantly higher losses than the soil-only treatment. After 5 d,
all treatments either gained or lost CH4, with FeCl3–amended slurry acting overall as a net
sink with cumulative losses of -13±7 mg CH4-C m-2, whilst PAC-amended slurry had
cumulative losses of 13±6 mg CH4-C m-2.
107
mg N2O-N m-2
a)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9
11
13
15
Day
19
23
28
g CO2-C m-2
b)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9
11
13
15
Day
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
9
11 13
15
Day
19
23
28
mg CH4-C m-2
c)
19
23
28
Figure 5.3 Cumulative gaseous emissions (± standard deviation) of N2O-N (a) CO2-C (b) and
CH4-C (c) from columns at each sampling period.
108
Leachate Carbon (mg)
a)
b)
12
Leachate Carbon (mg)
10
8
6
4
2
0
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Week
Figure 5.4 Cumulative loads of total organic carbon (TOC) and total inorganic carbon (TIC)
leached over the duration of the experiment a) and weekly loads of total carbon leached from
columns b) (± standard deviation).
109
5.4 Discussion
5.4.1 Nitrogen leachate and soil properties
Denitrification is the mainly microbial reduction of NO3- to the gaseous products nitric oxide
(NO), N2O, or inert di-nitrogen (N2). Some studies have shown that the highest rates of
denitrification occur in the upper soil horizon (Kustermann et al., 2010; Jahangir et al., 2012),
the extent of which depends on WC and WFPS. Soil WC can impact on many different soil
processes such as mineralisation, leaching, plant uptake and denitrification (Porporato et al.,
2003).
The early peak in NO3- loss may be due to the drying and re-wetting during column
construction, which could have caused a surge in microbial activity and C and N
mineralisation (Van Gestel et al., 1991; Bengtsson et al., 2003). This may also have led to an
early peak in leachate NH4+ (Fig. 5.2 a). Once rewetting was complete, WFPS levels were
between 65 and 72% in the bottom layer. At WFPS levels of over 60%, denitrification may
take place, releasing N2 and N2O into the atmosphere (Porporato et al., 2003). Aerobic
microbial activity and nitrification is also reduced in these anaerobic conditions where
denitrification is facilitated (Poporato et al., 2003; Rivett et al., 2008). The fractions of NO2-,
NO3- and NH4+ in the leachate would seem to indicate that almost complete nitrification
occurred, and also led to the drop in NO3- levels after wk 2. This hypothesis was also
supported by the C:N ratios present (Table 5.3). Soil with C:N ratios below 20 can be
characterised as having a surplus of available NH4+ for nitrification (Bengtsson et al., 2003).
The peak in NO2- between wks 10 and 26 may have been due to a delay in reduction of NO2during denitrification due to the preference of denitrifiers for NO3-, even when both are
present (Rivett et al., 2008).
High NH3+ volatilisation may occur after land application of pig slurry, with over 60% of
total losses occurring in the first 10 h after application (Gordon et al., 2001; Rochette et al.,
2001). It would appear in the current study that a large amount of volatilisation occurred from
both amended and unamended slurry treatments with little unvolatilised inorganic N
remaining, which is in agreement with previous studies (Morvan et al., 1997; Hoekstra et al.,
2010; Hoekstra et al., 2011). Indeed, these rates of volatilisation may represent a loss of 50110
80% of total ammoniacal nitrogen from landspread slurry over a 10-d period (Misslebrook et
al., 2005a, 2005b; Meade et al., 2011). The slurry organic fraction was undetectable in
leachate or soil (Table 5.3) due to the large background amounts of soil inorganic N, which
was a result of the occurrence of mineralisation. Unlike the present study, which found no
significant difference between NO3- losses from columns with and without slurry spread on
them, Daudén et al. (2004) found that drainage NO3- concentrations and loads consistently
increased with increasing amount of N applied when landspreading pig slurry and mineral
fertiliser between 275 and 1487.5 kg N ha-1. However, the spreading rate used by Daudén et
al. (2004) was much higher than in the present study (90 kg N ha-1), and in that study, pig
slurry was incorporated into soil to minimise volatilisation losses.
5.4.2 Nitrous oxide emissions
The increased cumulative release of N2O after slurry application was as expected (Velthof et
al., 2003). The cumulative N2O emissions across all N-applied treatments represented a loss
of between 1% and 3% of applied total ammoniacal N for a 28-d period. This was a higher
emission factor than the IPCC default emission factor of 1% (IPCC, 2006). Generally, higher
emission factors would not be associated with free-draining soil such as the one used in this
study (Abdalla et al., 2009; Rafique et al., 2011). However, emission factors associated with
slurry application have been previously observed to be higher than the default values and this
may be related to the simultaneous application of a labile C source, which increases microbial
activity (Dendooven et al., 1998; Sherlock et al., 2002). Nitrous oxide is produced by both
nitrification and denitrification (Chadwick et al., 2011), and can be influenced by oxygen
availability, soil WC, soil temperature, soil NO3- and organic carbon content (Section 5.4.4)
(Velthof et al., 2003). The drying and rewetting of the soil during construction provided
conditions which facilitated C and N mineralisation and denitrification, and would also have
facilitated N2O release to the atmosphere (Porporato et al., 2003).
The increase in N2O emissions associated with FeCl3 addition may be explained as a result of
ammonia volatilisation abatement. The difference in soil NH4+ levels between treatments 7 d
after application may be due to a reduction in volatilisation, possibly resulting from a
reduction in slurry pH upon amendment addition. Previous work has observed that
111
volatilisation may be reduced upon FeCl3 addition, principally due to a reduction in slurry pH
(Molloy and Tunney, 1983).
5.4.3 Phosphorus leachate and soil properties
Unlike previous runoff studies (Chapter 3), in which spreading of pig slurry led to a large
increase in all types of P in runoff compared to runoff from soil-only, there were no
significant differences in the quantity of P leached between treatments. The fraction of TP
load made up of TDP was less when compared to Chapter 3, which found PP in runoff
comprised, on average, 45% of TP. This is in agreement with McDowell et al. (2004), who
found that more TP was lost as PP in overland than subsurface flow due to the higher kinetic
energy and erosive power of high-frequency storms. Loss of P in subsurface flow is generally
less than that in runoff, and will decrease as the degree of soil–water contact increases, due to
sorption by P-deficient subsoils (Haygarth et al., 1998; McDowell et al., 2004). Although a
soil with a low Pm (3.21±0.29 mg L-1) was used in this experiment, its high adsorption
capacity for P (0.224 g P kg-1) and low EPC0 (0.513 mg L-1) facilitated adsorption of P during
leaching.
The same amendments and application rates as used in the present study were also used in
Chapter 2, which achieved reductions of between 95 and 99% in the WEP of slurry. Dao
(1999) amended stockpiled cattle manure with caliche, alum and flyash in an incubation
experiment, and reported WEP reductions in amended manure, compared to the study
control, of 21, 60 and 85%, respectively. Similarly, in a study that examined the effect of soil
P level in a silt loam soil which was incubated at 25°C, Kalbasi and Karthikeyan (2004)
reported that applications of alum and FeCl3-amended slurry to soil decreased soil WEP. In
the present study, due to the regular application of 160 ml water wk-1, which led to the
downward leaching of P from the slurry, both Pm and WEP levels in the columns spread with
unamended slurry reduced to levels closer, but still significantly different (p<0.05), to soilonly and amended slurry columns. It is assumed that this P was adsorbed by the soil’s high
adsorption capacity for P, but was not detected by WEP or Pm analysis. This shows the
limitations of using particular tests in measuring soil P.
112
5.4.4 Carbon leachate and emissions
The decrease in loads of TC leached after wk 2 may have been due to the increased
mineralisation of C and N, which may have been the cause of increased losses of CO2 to the
atmosphere. This loss of CO2 to the atmosphere may also be the reason that there were
statistically no significant differences between treatments for TC in soil (Table 5.3). In
addition, organic carbon can act as an electron donor to facilitate the occurrence of
denitrification when anaerobic conditions are present (Rivett et al., 2008).
The addition of manure slurries to soil has been shown to cause an increase in microbial
activity and CO2 emissions (Bol et al., 2004; Dumale et al., 2009; Cayuela et al., 2010). The
increased CO2 losses from unamended or amended slurry treatments were in agreement with
the hypothesis that these losses were the cause for no statistically significant differences
between slurry treatments for TC in soil (Table 5.3).
After land application, CH4 emissions are generally of minor importance compared to N2O
emissions (Wulf et al., 2002a, 2002b), as CH4 emissions from enteric fermentation and
during slurry storage are much more important (Chadwick et al., 2000). This is due to CH4
being produced by decomposition of OM in faecal matter under anaerobic conditions. After
landspreading, OM is oxidised to CO2 and H2O in the aerobic conditions present. Mineral
grassland soils are known to generally be a CH4 sink, due to either oxidation of CH4 to CO2
in soils or incorporation into microbial biomass, with uptake rates ranging from 0.5 – 3.3 mg
CH4 m-2 d-1 (Mosier et al., 1991; Dobbie et al., 1996; Saggar et al., 2008). The change in
trend after d 5 may be due to microbial build-up of methanogens, CH4 emitting
microorganisms, in the anaerobic conditions present. The results from the present study show
that no additional risk to CH4 emissions is posed by the chemical amendment of pig slurry.
5.5 Outlook for use of chemical amendment as a mitigation measure
Increased intensification of pig farming activities, along with legislation reducing the amount
of land onto which pig farmers may apply slurry, has meant that the pig industry is under
increasing pressure to reconcile production and water quality objectives. Land application of
pig slurry is currently the most cost-efficient method for its disposal. In Ireland, the pig
113
industry is concentrated in a small number of areas, with typically high stocking rates.
Therefore, the disposal of slurry in a cost-effective and environmentally responsible way is a
serious issue for farmers.
This study demonstrates that amendments previously selected on the basis of ability to reduce
runoff P (O’ Flynn et al., 2012a,b), may be used without posing a negative impact on
leachate, soil properties, and GHG emissions.
Based on the results of the current study and also previous work by the authors comparing
cost (O’ Flynn et al., 2012a) and surface runoff losses (O’ Flynn et al., 2012b), PAC appears
to be the most suitable amendment with which to chemically amend pig slurry. Ferric
chloride resulted in increased N2O and CO2 losses, whereas alum and PAC resulted in
reduced, but not significantly different, losses to slurry-only. Poly-aluminium chloride
performed best in overall removal of runoff P and SS (O’ Flynn et al., 2012b). There was
little difference between leachate losses and soil effects from alum and PAC-amended slurry,
although this study only included one soil type. The current study used a low STP soil so as
to avoid the risk of background P from a high range STP soil ‘masking’ the effect of each
treatment. However, future work must examine a wide variety of soil types, including high
STP soils. These amendments must also be examined at field-scale, and include repeated
application and incorporation. Costs were comparable (O’ Flynn et al., 2012a), with
estimated costs of amending and spreading amended slurry of €3.33 and €3.69 m-3 for alum
and PAC, respectively, in comparison to €1.56 m-3 to spread unamended slurry.
In the current study, reductions were not adequate to satisfy the EU 2020 Climate and Energy
Package of reducing GHG emissions by 20% across the whole of the EU by 2020. It has
however, been shown that some reductions are possible, and future work must be carried out
to identify if more significant reductions in GHG emissions is possible at different
application rates.
At present, there is no provision in legislation for chemical amendments to be used as a
mitigation measure in the land application of pig slurry, but if they are to be utilised, a
regulatory framework will need to be introduced by the relevant bodies.
114
5.6 Conclusions
Chemical amendment of land applied pig slurry can reduce P in runoff without any negative
impact on nutrient leaching. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between
treatments for N and C in leachate or soil, indicating no deleterious impact on reactive N
emissions or soil C cycling. Chemical amendment posed no significant change to GHG
emissions from pig slurry, and in the cases of alum and PAC, reduced cumulative N2O and
CO2 losses. Moreover, increased N2O emissions associated with FeCl3 addition were likely to
be due to a reduction in ammonia volatilisation, a theory supported by an increase in soil
NH4+ concentrations.
5.7 Acknowledgements
The first author gratefully acknowledges the award of the EMBARK scholarship from the
Irish Research Council to support this study. The authors would like to thank Dr. Raymond
Brennan, Dr. John Regan and Swann Lamarche.
Summary
This chapter showed that chemical amendment of pig slurry is possible without any
significant impacts on leachate nutrients, reactive N emissions, soil C cycling, or GHG
emissions. The following chapter will investigate if soil type is a factor in the performance of
amendments.
115
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Chapter 6
Changes in soil chemistry following application of chemically
amended pig slurry
Introduction
This chapter assesses soil type suitability to receive chemically amended pig slurry, by
investigating the impact it has on soil chemistry, and has been submitted to Soil Biology and
Biochemistry. Cornelius O’ Flynn developed the experimental design, and collected,
analyzed and interpreted slurry and soil experimental data. He is the primary author of this
article. Drs. Mark Healy, Owen Fenton and David Wall contributed to the research design
and paper writing.
124
Changes in soil chemistry following application of
chemically amended pig slurry
Cornelius J. O’ Flynna, Mark G. Healy a*, David Wallb, Owen Fentonb
a
Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland.
b
Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, Ireland.
*Corresponding author. Tel: +353 91 495364; fax: +353 91 494507. E-mail address:
[email protected]
Abstract
Cost effective strategies for using chemically amended organic fertilizers need to be
developed for successful adoption as a mitigation measure for minimizing nutrient losses to
water bodies. Targeting their use within critical source areas or along the nutrient transfer
continuum has the potential to reduce costs. However, an appropriate amendment must be
selected based on compatibility with a soil’s physical and chemical characteristics. From a
production perspective, it is important that there should be no reduction in the soil test
phosphorus (P) below agronomic optima, whilst from an environmental perspective, losses
should be minimized. The current study attempted to investigate the effectiveness of various
chemical amendments for achieving these seemingly opposing goals. A 3-mo incubation
study was conducted on 18 different soil types, stored at 10oC and 75% humidity, and treated
with unamended and amended slurry which was spread at a rate equivalent to 19 kg total P
(TP) ha-1. The amendments examined were: commercial grade liquid alum (8% Al2O3),
applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al:TP], and commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminium chloride
(PAC) (10% Al2O3), applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al:TP]. Addition of unamended slurry
increased soil water extractable P (WEP) across all soil types, with alum and PAC achieving
reductions of soil WEP ranging from 16% to 48% and 0.2% to 40%, respectively. The
efficacy of the amendments depended on the soil test P and degree of P saturation, which
indicated the importance of identifying appropriate amendments for the diverse range of soil
types that may be present on a farm. Poly-aluminium chloride appears to be the most suitable
amendment with which to chemically amend pig slurry as, although alum achieved greater
125
reductions in soil WEP, its use was also associated with greater reductions in plant available
P. Due to their high cost, the incorporation of amendments into existing management
practices can only be justified where local soil types are suitable.
Keywords: pig slurry; P sorbing amendments; Water Framework Directive; degree of P
saturation; soil test phosphorus.
6.1 Introduction
The land application of organic fertilizers, when followed by an episodic rainfall event, can
lead to incidental and chronic phosphorus (P) losses in overland flow (Buda et al., 2009),
which may lead to eutrophication of receiving waters (Carpenter et al., 1998). Incidental
losses take place when a rainfall event takes place shortly after slurry application and before
slurry infiltrates the soil, whilst chronic losses are a long-term loss of P from soil as a result
of a build-up in soil test P (STP), caused by application of inorganic fertilisers and manure
(Buda et al., 2009; Schulte et al., 2010). Pig farms typically have high levels of STP due to
their high stocking rates and P surplus, which results in an increased potential of chronic P
losses - particularly in Critical Source Areas (CSAs; Doody et al., 2012), where sources of P
coincide with hydrologically active zones which are connected to waterbodies. As pig slurry
is commonly landspread (Nolan et al., 2012), various mitigation methods, mainly governed
by legislation (exclusion zones, timing and magnitude of application), are used. Previous
research (Smith et al., 2001, 2004; Dou et al, 2003; Chapters 2, 3 and 4) has demonstrated
that chemical amendment of pig slurry is an effective means of reducing incidental P losses
in runoff. However, to date no study has considered the role of soil type on the efficacy of
chemical amendments, nor has any study attempted to quantify the efficacy of chemical
amendments to pig slurry (or any other wastewater type) within a holistic framework, which
considered not only soil type but also surface runoff, subsurface leachate, and greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions.
The efficacy of chemical amendment of pig slurry on incidental surface and subsurface losses
of P have been considered by the authors (Chapters 2, 3, 4 and 5) and others (Smith et al.,
2001, 2004). In Chapter 3, it was found that poly-aluminium chloride (PAC), followed by
ferric chloride (FeCl3) and alum (8% Al2O3), was most effective in reducing surface losses of
126
total phosphorus (TP) from laboratory runoff boxes when subject to rainfall events with an
intensity of 10.3±0.15 mm h-1 at times ranging from 48 to 96 h following slurry application.
However, the efficacies of the chemical amendments in reducing surface losses appeared to
be related to soil type (Chapters 3 and 4). Impacts on subsurface losses and GHG emissions
were also examined in Chapter 5, where pig slurry and chemically amended pig slurry were
applied at approximately the same rate as surface runoff studies (19 kg TP ha-1, 90 kg total
nitrogen (TN) ha-1 and 180 kg total carbon (TC) ha-1) to soil columns and, over an 8-mo study
period, found that chemical amendment did not significantly change GHG emissions
(compared to pig slurry-only applications), nor was there any significant change in P leached
from the soil examined.
Due to their high cost, chemical amendments to pig slurry should only be used in targeted
areas, where they are most effective. This will involve identification of CSAs – but will also
involve consideration of incidental and chronic losses arising from the various soil types in
these areas.
Before work can be advanced on the use of chemically amended pig slurry to agricultural
grasslands, it is critical that soil type is considered when examining the potential of
amendments to reduce chronic P losses. To date, such studies have mainly considered one
soil type. For example, Kalbasi and Karthikeyan (2004) examined the effect of chemically
amending dairy cattle slurry with alum, FeCl3, and lime on silt loam soils with three different
STP levels (12, 66, and 94 mg kg-1 Bray-1 P, respectively) in an incubation experiment
conducted over 24 mo. Kalbasi and Karthikeyan (2004) found that the effect of chemical
amendment depended on treatment type, P application rate and background STP level, and
also recommended that more work was needed to investigate the effectiveness of
amendments in soils varying in physical and chemical characteristics. Moore and Edwards
(2007) found that following long-term (7 yr) land application of alum-amended poultry litter
on a silt loam soil, runoff P and soil water extractable phosphorus (WEP) was reduced in
plots receiving alum-treated poultry manure. Brennan et al. (unpublished data) added
chemically amended dairy cattle slurry to five different soil types, at a rate equivalent to 33
m3 ha-1 in a laboratory incubation study with a total duration of 9 mo and found differing
effects on WEP between soil types. Chemically amended slurry reduced the WEP of the soils
(compared to unamended slurry) by between 52 and 73% for alum, 0 and 38% for FeCl3, and
127
21 and 64% for PAC. These differences may be due to the differing chemical makeup of
soils, with varying amounts of aluminium, silicate particles and surface area available to
retain P. In an incubation study, Shreve et al. (1996) added unamended poultry litter, and
poultry litter amended with either alum (100 or 200 g kg-1), lime (25 or 50 g kg-1) or FeSO4
(100 or 200 g kg-1) to soils with pHs between 4.0 and 8.0. They found that both unamended
and amended slurry significantly increased soil soluble reactive P (SRP) compared to soilonly, that amendments significantly reduced SRP levels, and that an apparent equilibrium in
SRP levels was attained 98 d after treatment. Previous research (Tunney, 2000; Regan et al.,
2010) has shown a significant relationship between STP (based on WEP, Morgan’s P (Pm)
and Mehlich P (M3P)) and runoff dissolved reactive P (DRP). Therefore, it is essential that
soil type is considered when proposing potential methods to mitigate losses of P in runoff.
The hypothesis of this study was that soil type is significant in determining the efficacy of
chemically amended pig slurry in reducing surface and subsurface losses of P. To address
this, 18 soils, of various textural classes and initial STP concentrations, received pig slurry
and chemically amended pig slurry, and were stored in a temperature and humidity-controlled
environment for 3 mo. At the end of this period, the impact of the amendments on the soil
WEP, Pm and M3P were quantified with the aim of determining the most suitable soil type on
which to spread chemically amended pig slurry. Using these data and the previous research
conducted by the authors on incidental losses of nutrients (surface and subsurface losses and
GHG emissions), the study aimed to identify the best amendment.
6.2 Materials and Methods
6.2.1 Slurry collection and characterisation
Pig slurry was taken from an integrated pig unit in Teagasc Research Centre, Moorepark,
Fermoy, Co. Cork, Rep. of Ireland in November 2012. The sampling point was a valve on an
outflow pipe between two holding tanks. To ensure a representative sample, this valve was
turned on and left to run for a few minutes before taking a sample. The slurry was stored at
10oC in a 25-L drum prior to testing. The TP was determined using persulfate digestion.
Ammonium-N (NH4+-N) was determined by adding 50 ml of slurry to 1L of 0.1M HCl,
shaking for 30 min at 200 rpm, filtering through No. 2 Whatman filter paper, and analysing
128
using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Slurry pH was
determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany). Dry matter (DM) content was determined
by drying at 105oC for 24 h. The physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used
in this experiment and characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland are
presented in Table 6.1.
Table 6.1 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and
characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland.
NH4+-N
TP
pH
DM
-1
(mg L )
525±27
Reference
(%)
2171±30
7.29±0.14
5.14±0.26
800
The present study
S.I. No. 610 of 2010
1630
5.77
McCutcheon, 1997a
900±7
3.2±2.3
O’ Bric, 1991a
TP, total P; TN, total N; TK, total K; DM, dry matter. aValues changed to mg L-1 assuming densities of 1
kg L-1.
Table 6.2 Characterisation of amendments used in this study.
Amendment
Alum
PAC
8% Al2O3
10 % Al2O3
1.25
0
1.0 – 3.0
pH
WEP
mg kg
Al
Fe
As
Cd
Cr
%
%
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
4.23
<0.01
1
0.21
2.1
<1.0
<0.2
<2.0
Ni
Pb
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
1.4
2.8
<1.0
<2.0
Sb
mg kg-1
<1.0
Se
mg kg
-1
<1.0
Hg
mg kg-1
<0.2
-1
129
6.2.2 Pig slurry amendment
Amendments for the present study were chosen based on effectiveness of P sequestration and
feasibility criterion (cost and potential environmental impediments) determined in Chapters 2
and 3. The amendment rates, which were applied on a stoichiometric basis, were: (1)
commercial grade liquid alum (8% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al:TP] and (2)
commercial-grade liquid PAC (10 % Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al:TP]. Ferric
chloride, examined by the authors in previous studies (Chapters 3 and 4), was not included in
the present study, as it was found in Chapter 5 that its use was associated with elevated GHG
emissions. The compositions of the amendments used are shown in Table 6.2.
6.2.3 Soil collection and analysis
Samples of the plough layer (top 0.2 m), selected to represent a variety of STP and textural
classes, were collected from 18 sites across Ireland (Fig. 6.1; Table 6.3). The soils were airdried, sieved (<2 mm) and thoroughly mixed. Soil samples (n=3) were oven dried at 40 °C
for 72 h, crushed to pass a 2-mm sieve and analysed for Pm (the national test used for the
determination of plant available P in Ireland) using Morgan’s extracting solution (Morgan,
1941), and M3P using M3 extracting solution (Mehlich, 1984). Mehlich-3 Al and iron (Fe)
(M3-Al and M3-Fe) were used to estimate degree of P saturation in the soils using the
equation (Maguire and Sims, 2002):
DPS (%) 
M 3P  100
M 3  Al  M 3  Fe
[6.1]
where M3P, M3-Al and M3-Fe are the molar concentration of the Mehlich 3 extractable P, Al
and Fe (mmol kg-1), respectively. Mehlich-3 calcium (Ca), cobalt (Co), copper (Cu),
potassium (K), magnesium (Mg), manganese (Mn) and zinc (Zn) were also analysed using
M3 extracting solution (Mehlich, 1984). Soil WEP (100:1 deionised water: soil) was
determined after McDowell and Sharpley (2001). Soil pH (n=3) was determined using a pH
probe (WTW, Germany) and a 2:1 ratio of deionised water-to-soil. The particle size
distribution was determined using a sieving and pipette method (B.S.1377-2; BSI, 1990).
130
Table 6.3 Soil physical and chemical properties.
Soil
A
Texture
Soil pH
WEP
Pm
DPS
M3P
M3-Al
M3-Ca
M3-Co
M3-Cu
M3-Fe
M3-K
M3-Mg
M3-Mn
M3-Zn
mg kg-1
mg L-1
%
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
mg kg-1
5.37
2.15
8.27
7.97
69
749
1867
0.323
3.01
122
229
169
146
6.67
B
Medium Loam
Medium Loam
4.91
4.2
4.13
12.81
139
947
1332
0.597
2.13
135
56
123
190
11.09
C
Medium Loam
5.77
4.85
9.53
12.2
127
910
1304
0.511
2.23
129
77
122
163
9.8
D
Sandy loam
5.13
6.7
1.38
12.43
137
966
1383
0.514
2.48
138
64
282
162
10.63
E
Loamy sand
4.74
7.75
6.89
6.42
50
676
2181
0.375
3.58
106
110
121
138
10.2
F
Medium Loam
4.85
8.95
5.97
6.53
52
688
2181
0.414
3.64
108
428
174
141
10.62
G
Sandy loam
4.65
9.05
6.31
6.9
53
542
1224
0.083
2.95
229
72
135
140
6.28
H
Clay loam
5.15
9.95
2.24
3.13
38
1003
1310
0.203
7.12
226
214
126
202
2.6
I
Silt loam
6.57
11.75
7.46
12.22
124
744
955
0.042
0.18
270
325
167
50
3.91
J
Silty clay loam
5.53
12.65
2.64
12.42
129
907
1347
0.506
2.75
127
77
87
159
10.87
K
Medium Loam
5.71
13.65
10.1
8.07
75
808
1905
0.345
3.21
116
367
176
154
7.02
L
Medium Loam
5.72
16
12.13
11.19
78
515
1343
0.421
4.49
182
247
149
122
4.41
M
5.07
17.2
13.89
10.85
91
519
2459
0.112
3.62
321
112
128
83
8.94
N
Sandy loam
Medium Loam
5.44
20.9
14.81
12.38
125
746
970
0.035
0.16
261
143
164
49
3.93
O
Medium Loam
4.97
23
28.47
16.79
204
1042
2467
0.342
13.34
171
323
239
205
10.58
P
Medium Loam
4.84
27.5
23.48
21.51
196
702
1349
0.128
5.58
212
330
334
64
6.64
Q
Medium Loam
4.96
30.4
22.54
16.79
119
540
1520
0.123
3.69
167
219
383
59
6.39
R
Sandy loam
5.03
37.3
30.76
35.68
240
343
1884
0.004
12.68
329
354
269
25
25.99
131
Figure 6.1 Soil particle size distributions.
6.2.4 Incubation experiment
The following treatments were examined in quadruplicate (n=4): (1) soil-only with no slurry
applied (2) soil with unamended slurry applied (the study control) and (3) soil receiving
amended slurry. Sieved (< 2 mm), oven-dried soil samples (100 g) were placed in 0.5-L
containers (70 × 70 mm base). Slurry or amended slurry was added at a rate equivalent to 19
kg TP ha-1 and mixed thoroughly before enough deionised water required to achieve 80%
water-filled pore space (WFPS) was added. Water-filled pore space, which can impact on
rates of denitrification in soil, was estimated in accordance with Haney and Haney (2010):
WFPS 
WC *  b
n
[6.2]
where ρb is bulk density and n is total porosity (mineral density was taken as 2.65 g cm-3).
Less deionised water was added to soils receiving unamended and amended slurry, to take
account of the water present in slurry. The soil was then compacted to achieve a bulk density
(ρb) of 1.2 g cm-3. The containers were covered with para-film, perforated to allow air to
132
circulate, and were stored in a controlled environment for 3 mo at 10oC and 75% humidity.
During the study, containers were weighed intermittently and water was added to ensure that
approximately 80% WFPS was maintained.
After 3 mo, soils were destructed, oven dried at 40°C for 72 h and crushed to pass a 2-mm
sieve before being analysed for WEP, Pm, pH, M3P and M3-Al, Ca, Fe, Co, Cu, K, Mg, Mn
and Zn.
6.2.5 Statistical Analysis
The data were analysed in SPSS 20 (IBM, 2011) using a general linear model. Mean values
of: WEP, Pm, M3P, pH, DPS, M3-Al, Fe, Ca, Co, Cu, K, Mg, Mn and Zn were analysed
when soil-only, the study control, and slurry treated with alum and PAC were applied.
Probability values of p>0.05 were deemed not to be significant.
Figure 6.2 Soil water extractable P (mg L-1; ± standard deviation) for each soil type and
treatment after incubation.
133
6.3 Results and Discussion
6.3.1 Water extractable phosphorus
There was a significant interaction between soil type and treatment, but not soil texture, for
WEP (p<0.001). Water extractable P values for soil-only ranged from 2.60±0.14 mg kg-1 for
Soil A to 45.73±3.10 mg kg-1 for Soil R (Fig. 6.2). In general, the addition of unamended
slurry to soil resulted in increased, but not always significant, levels of WEP, with levels in
Soil A increasing to 3.83±0.59 mg kg-1 WEP and Soil R increasing to 54.03±2.08 mg kg-1
WEP.
In all cases, the addition of amended slurry led to decreased levels of WEP compared to
unamended slurry (Fig. 6.2), although not always by a significant amount. The addition of
alum resulted in reductions of soil WEP ranging from 16% for Soil E to 48% for Soil F.
Addition of PAC produced average reductions ranging from 0.2% for Soil D to 40% for Soil
G. Within individual soil types, there were, in general, no statistically significant differences
between the levels of WEP in soil treated with either alum or PAC-amended slurry. Averaged
across all soil types, the levels of WEP (in decreasing order of WEP) were: unamended slurry
> soil only > PAC > alum. Both amendments resulted in significantly decreased (p<0.05) soil
WEPs compared to unamended slurry, and the WEPs were not significantly different to soilonly. Amendments performed differently across different soil types and were most effective
at reducing WEP in soils with a high DPS. In these soils, there is a need to increase the
capacity of the soil to store P. In soils with a low DPS, there is already an abundance of sites
to attenuate P and, apart from a potential reduction in incidental losses of nutrients and solids
in runoff (Chapter 3), there would appear to be limited long-term benefits. Soil R had a DPS
in excess of 100% for all treatments. This means that it was P saturated, and that there were
not enough sites to attenuate all of the P present. In the field, such excess P would likely be
exported along the transfer continuum.
134
Figure 6.3 Soil pH for each soil treatment.
6.3.2 Soil pH
The pH of a soil has a significant influence on nutrient availability (Tunney et al., 2010).
There was a significant interaction between soil type and treatment, but not soil texture, for
pH (p<0.001). Averaged across all soil types, the addition of unamended slurry led to
significant (p<0.001) increases in pH compared to soil-only, increasing on average from 5.28
to 5.70 (Table 6.4). In general, soils treated with amended slurry were not significantly
different to unamended slurry, but were significantly different (p<0.001) to soil-only. The
average pH for alum and PAC-treatments were 5.60 and 5.73, respectively. There was a
strong correlation between soil pH and WEP, M3-Al, M3-Ca, M3-P, degree of P saturation
(DPS) and Pm (p<0.001).
6.3.3 Morgan’s and Mehlich-3 phosphorus
Chemical amendment did not affect plant available P when averaged across the medium loam
(A, B, C, F, K, L, N, O, P and Q) and sandy loam (D, G, M and R) textured soils. However,
for all other soil types (clay loam, silt loam, silty clay loam, silt loam), addition of
135
amendment resulted in significantly reduced (p<0.001) plant available P, with alum, in
general, displaying the greatest reductions. From the farmers’ perspective, any reduction in
plant available P to below agronomic optima would not be desirable and would have more
influence over whether to use an amendment than WEP.
6.3.4 Metals analysis
Overall, there was a strong correlation between M3-Al and WEP, M3-Fe, M3P, DPS, pH and
Pm (p<0.001); between M3-Fe and WEP, M3-Al, M3P, DPS, M3-Ca and Pm (p<0.001); and
between M3-Ca and WEP, M3-Fe, pH and Pm (p<0.001). Averaged across all soil types, the
use of alum-amended slurry led to a significant (p<0.01) increase in M3-Al compared to
PAC-amended slurry. In general, slurry treatments resulted in significant (p<0.05) decreases
in M3-Fe compared to soil-only, but addition of either amendment did not lead to significant
differences compared to unamended slurry. There were also no observed trends or differences
between slurry treatments for M3-Ca, Co, Cu, K, Mg, Mn, and Zn, which indicated that the
addition of amendments did not adversely affect the availability of these metals and nutrients
to plants.
6.3.5 Relationship between soil water extractable phosphorus and Mehlich-3
phosphorus and degree of phosphorus saturation
There were significant positive relationships between WEP, M3P and DPS for each treatment
(Fig. 6.3; p<0.001). Slopes for the soil-only and unamended slurry treatments were similar,
whilst the alum and PAC treatments were shallower. This indicated that for a given increase
in M3P or DPS, the increase in WEP for amended slurry treatments was less compared to the
soil-only and unamended slurry treatments. This is in agreement with the fact that, in general,
alum and PAC were effective in reducing WEP.
136
a)
b)
Figure 6.4 Water extractable P (mg L-1) versus M3P (mg kg-1) a), and versus degree of P
saturation (%) b).
6.4 Conclusions
The addition of slurry increased soil WEP across all soil types examined in this study. The
addition of alum and PAC resulted in reductions of soil WEP ranging from 16% to 48% and
137
0.2% to 40%, respectively. The efficacy of the amendments depended on the initial soil STP
and DPS, which indicated the importance of identifying appropriate amendments for the
diverse range of soil types and their P status that may be present on a farm. Due to their high
cost, the incorporation of amendments into existing management practices could only be
justified in a targeted manner in areas such as CSAs, which have a high risk of P loss.
However, if chemical amendment becomes a more common practice, then the associated cost
of employing it as a mitigation measure may become more economical for farmers. This is
important in gaining acceptance among farmers for implementation. The amendments
examined did not adversely affect the availability of Ca, Co, Cu, K, Mg, Mn and Zn to plants.
From the studies carried out by the authors to date, PAC appears to be the most ideal
amendment with which to chemically amend pig slurry. Future research must examine at
field and catchment-scale over a range of soil types, how amendments affect nutrient
balances under real-life conditions which cannot be replicated in laboratory testing.
6.5 Acknowledgements
The first author gratefully acknowledges the award of the EMBARK scholarship from the
Irish Research Council to support this study. The authors would like to thank Tim Sheil, Peter
Fahy and Dr. Raymond Brennan.
138
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Regan, J.T., Rodgers, M., Healy, M.G., Kirwan, L., Fenton, O., 2010. Determining
phosphorus and sediment release rates from five Irish tillage soils. Journal of Environmental
Quality 39, 1-8.
Schulte, R.P.O., Melland, A.R., Fenton, O., Herlihy, M., Richards, K.G., Jordan, P., 2010.
Modeling soil phosphorus decline: Expectations of Water Frame Work Directive policies.
Environmental Science & Policy 13, 472-484.
Shreve, B.R., Moore Jr., P.A., Miller, D.M., Daniel, T.C., Edwards, D.R., 1996. Long-term
phosphorus solubility in soils receivingpoultry litter treated with aluminum, calcium, and iron
amendments. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 27, 2493-2510.
Smith, D.R., Moore Jr., P.A., Griffis, C.L., Daniel, T.C., Edwards, D.R., Boothe. D.L., 2001.
Effects of alum and aluminium chloride on phosphorus runoff from swine manure. Journal of
Environmental Quality 30, 992-998.
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Smith, D.R., Moore Jr., P.A., Maxwell, C.V., Haggard, B.E., Daniel, T.C., 2004. Reducing
phosphorus runoff from swine manure with dietary phytase and aluminum chloride. Journal
of Environmental Quality 33, 1048-1054.
Tunney, H., 2000. Phosphorus needs of grassland soils and loss to water. In: Steenvoorden,
J., Claessen, F., Willems, J. (Eds.), Agricultural effects on ground and surface waters:
Research at the edge of science and society. IAHS, Wallingford, England, 273, pp. 63–69.
Wall, D., Jordan, P., Melland, A.R., Mellander, P.E., Buckley, C., Reaney, S.M., Shortle, G.,
2011. Using the nutrient transfer continuum concept to evaluate the European Union Nitrates
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141
Chapter 7
Conclusions and Recommendations
7.1 Overview and context
Increased intensification of pig farming activities, legislation reducing the amount of land
onto which pig farmers may apply slurry, along with more stringent water quality targets (e.g.
the Water Framework Directive, 2000/60/EC; EC, 2000), has meant that the pig industry is
under increasing pressure to reconcile production and water quality objectives. Land
application of pig slurry is currently the most cost-efficient method of disposing of pig slurry.
However, as the pig industry is concentrated in specific areas of Ireland, lands surrounding
pig farms may not be appropriate for landspreading. Transportation of pig slurry to other,
more appropriate, land is not currently a viable option, as transportation costs are prohibitive.
In certain instances, pig slurry may have to be applied to land which is at, or approaching,
maximum capacity for slurry application. This could be potentially problematic from
environmental and legislative perspectives, particularly if the land is located in a critical
source area (CSA), which is potentially more likely to trigger eutrophication of receiving
waters. A potential solution to this problem is the chemical amendment of pig slurry prior to
land application in CSAs. This type of targeted use of chemical amendments could allow the
land application of pig slurry in certain circumstances, while reducing the potential for
surface runoff and leaching of nutrients and suspended solids (SS).
7.2 Conclusions
This work has shown that poly-aluminium chloride (PAC) appears to be the most suitable
amendment with which to chemically amend pig slurry. Whilst alum resulted in greater
reductions of soil water extractable phosphorus (WEP) than PAC, it also incurred greater
reductions in plant available phosphorus (Chapter 6). Poly-aluminium chloride performed
best in overall removal of runoff P and SS (Chapters 3 and 4), although each of these studies
was only carried out on one soil type. There was little difference between leachate and
greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from alum and PAC-amended slurry (Chapter 5). Costs are
comparable (Chapter 2), with estimated costs of amending and spreading amended slurry of
142
€3.33 and €3.69 m-3 for alum and PAC, respectively, in comparison to €1.56 m-3 to spread
unamended slurry.
In the runoff studies conducted where slurry was landspread without incorporation, chemical
amendment significantly reduced all types of runoff P losses, but not to below those of soilonly. This indicates that although incidental losses may be reduced by the chemical
amendment of pig slurry, soils of a high STP may still pose an environmental danger of
chronic P losses. At time intervals of less than 48 h, runoff P losses from amended slurry
were less than those from unamended slurry, indicating that chemical amendment may be
more effective at reducing P losses than current time interval-based legislation. The high
runoff P losses from unamended slurry at time intervals of less than 48 h after slurry
application, combined with the large decrease of P losses within this time frame, confirm that
the prohibition of land-spreading slurry if heavy rain is forecast in the subsequent 48 h (S.I.
No. 610 of 2010) is justified. As well as reducing P losses in runoff, ferric chloride (FeCl3)
and PAC also reduced SS losses to below that of the soil-only, and even to below 35 mg L-1,
the treatment standard necessary for discharge to receiving waters. There are no limits for the
levels of aluminium in surface water intended for the abstraction of drinking water, but runoff
levels of iron were well below the limit of 0.3 mg L-1.
As there are significant costs associated with the use of these amendments, they should only
be used strategically in areas with high mobilisation potential, soil test P (STP), degree of P
saturation and hydrological transfer potential to surface water, i.e. CSAs, and towards the end
of the open period for slurry spreading when unpredictable weather conditions would
normally prohibit such operations. As land surrounding pig farms tends to have high STP, the
use of amendments may be necessary. Chemical amendment has also been used in the poultry
and dairy industries, but may also have the potential to be used in the treatment of wastes
from other agricultural industries and the sludge from wastewater treatment. If chemical
amendment becomes a more common practice, then the cost associated with its use as a
mitigation measure may decrease, making it an even more attractive and economic option for
farmers, which is an important aspect in its implementation. The tightening of environmental
legislation will also justify investment in P mitigation measures such as chemical amendment.
143
At present, there is no legislation providing for the use of chemical amendments to be used in
the land application of pig slurry, but if they are to be utilised as a mitigation measure, a
regulatory framework will need to be introduced by the relevant bodies.
This work has shown that chemical amendment can reduce P in runoff, without any negative
impact on nutrient leaching, reactive nitrogen (N) emissions, or soil carbon cycling. This
demonstrates that it may be an option for the pig farming industry to allow the land
application of pig slurry in certain circumstances, whilst reducing the potential for surface
runoff of nutrients to waterbodies, so as to meet the water quality requirements of the WFD.
It also illustrated that chemical amendment posed no significant change to GHG emissions
from pig slurry, and in the cases of alum and PAC, reduced cumulative nitrous oxide and
carbon dioxide losses.
The main conclusions of the study are:
1. Incidental losses of P may be reduced by the chemical amendment of pig slurry;
however, soils of a high STP may still pose an environmental danger of chronic P
losses.
2. Chemical amendment may be more effective than current time interval-based
legislation.
3. Poly-aluminium chloride appears to be the most suitable amendment with which to
chemically amend pig slurry.
4. Amendments should only be used strategically in CSAs, and towards the end of the
open period for slurry spreading when unpredictable weather conditions would
normally prohibit such operations.
5. Before landspreading chemically amended pig slurry, each individual soil type
present must be assessed for its suitability.
144
6. Chemically amending land applied pig slurry is possible without any negative impact
on nutrient leaching, soil properties, or GHG emissions.
7.3 Future work and recommendations
1. Although encouraging, chemical amendment of pig slurry must be validated at field
and catchment-scale (over a wide variety of soil types) under real life conditions
which cannot be replicated at laboratory-scale, and take account factors such as
varying and extreme weather conditions, flow dynamics and the presence of a
watertable. Long-term testing must monitor runoff and leachate P and N, soil
microbiology and ‘pollution swapping’, including ammonia volatilisation. The effect
of incorporating chemically amended slurry must also be examined.
2. Whilst the current study has shown that once-off landspreading of chemically
amended pig slurry may be possible without any adverse effects on surface runoff,
subsurface leachate, GHG emissions and soil chemistry, future work must examine
the long-term effects of repeated land application of chemically amended pig slurry,
and the effects, if any, on flora and fauna present in areas on which chemically
amended slurry is spread.
3. Future work must investigate the long-term stability of metal-to-P bonds formed
during the chemical amendment of pig slurry, and whether there is a danger that these
bonds may break down in the future, resulting in increased potential of P loss to the
environment.
4. There is an inherent difficulty in gaining acceptance for new technologies among the
farming community, and so mitigation measures such as chemical amendment of pig
slurry may never be widely implemented at farm-scale. It is hoped that there may be
economic rewards to incentivise the use of such mitigation measures.
145
Appendix A
DP
Dissolved phosphorus: Phosphorus which passes through a 0.45-μm filter.
DRP
Dissolved reactive phosphorus: Phosphorus which passes through a 0.45-μm filter,
and is readily analysable without incubation.
DUP
Dissolved un-reactive phosphorus: Phosphorus which passes through a 0.45-μm filter,
but is not readily analysable without incubation. Calculated by subtracting DRP from
TDP.
EPC0 Equilibrium phosphorus concentration: The point where no net desorption or sorption
occurs between a medium and a phosphorus containing solution.
M3-P Mehlich 3 phosphorus: A measure of plant available phosphorus, used more widely in
countries other than Ireland.
MRP Molybdate reactive phosphorus: The term has two different meanings: (a) for filtered
samples, MRP is equivalent to DRP measurements; (b) for unfiltered samples, MRP is
equivalent to DRP plus a fraction of particulate phosphorus which is reactive to the
phosphomolybdenum blue method reagents.
Pm
Morgan’s phosphorus: The national test of soil plant available phosphorus in Ireland.
PP
Particulate phosphorus: Phosphorus which does not pass through a 0.45-μm filter.
Calculated by subtracting TDP from TP.
SRP Soluble reactive phosphorus: A measurement used by some studies which is identical
to DRP.
STP
Soil test phosphorus: An interchangeable term with plant available phosphorus,
measured in Ireland as Morgan’s phosphorus.
TDP Total dissolved phosphorus: Phosphorus which passes through a 0.45-μm filter,
measured by analysing after incubation.
TP
Total phosphorus: All phosphorus present in a sample, both dissolved and particulate.
Measured by incubating and analysing.
WEP Water extractable phosphorus: An environmental indicator of potential phosphorus
loss in runoff.
Appendix B
164
Cornelius J. O’ Flynn1
Owen Fenton2
Mark G. Healy1
1
Civil Engineering, National University
of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway, Rep.
of Ireland
2
Teagasc, Johnstown Castle,
Environmental Research Centre, Co
Wexford, Rep. of Ireland
Clean – Soil, Air, Water 2012, 40 (2), 164–170
Research Article
Evaluation of Amendments to Control Phosphorus
Losses in Runoff from Pig Slurry Applications to
Land
If spread in excess of crop requirements, incidental phosphorus (P) losses from agriculture can lead to eutrophication of receiving waters. The use of amendments in
targeted areas may help reduce the possibility of surface runoff of nutrients. The aim of
this study was to identify amendments which may be effective in reducing incidental
dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) losses in surface runoff from land applied pig
slurry. For this purpose, the DRP losses under simulated conditions across the surface of
intact grassland soil cores, loaded with unamended and amended slurry at a rate
equivalent to 19 kg P ha1, were determined over a 30 h period. The effectiveness of the
amendments at reducing DRP in overlying water were (in decreasing order): alum (86%),
flue gas desulfurization by-product (FGD) (74%), poly-aluminum (Al) chloride (PAC)
(73%), ferric chloride (71%), fly ash (58%), and lime (54%). FGD was the most costly of
all the treatments (s7.64/m3 for 74% removal). Ranked in terms of feasibility, which
takes into account effectiveness, cost, and other potential impediments to use, they
were: alum, ferric chloride, PAC, fly ash, lime, and FGD.
Keywords: Agitator test; Dissolved reactive phosphorus; Land application; Pig slurry
Received: April 28, 2011; revised: July 6, 2011; accepted: July 19, 2011
DOI: 10.1002/clen.201100206
1 Introduction
The application of slurry in excess of crop requirements can give rise
to elevated soil test phosphorus (P) concentrations, which may take
years-to-decades to be reduced to agronomically optimum levels [1].
In addition, it can lead to eutrophication of receiving waters [2].
Phosphorus losses occur in runoff from two sources: (i) ‘‘Incidental P
losses’’ take place when a rainfall event occurs shortly after slurry
application and before slurry infiltrates the soil, while (ii) ‘‘chronic P
losses’’ are a long-term loss of P from soil as a result of a build-up in
soil test P caused by application of inorganic fertilizers and manure
[1, 3]. The use of amendments may allow the application of manure
to soil in intensive farm systems, such as pig farms, while reducing
incidental and chronic P losses. This paper proposes a novel and
relatively realistic way to identify such amendments.
Alum, aluminum chloride (AlCl3), lime, and ferric chloride are
commonly used as coagulants in slurry and wastewater separation
operations. Smith et al. [4] found in a field-based study that AlCl3,
added at 0.75% of final manure volume to pig slurry, could reduce
dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) by up to 84%. Smith et al. [5]
found that alum and AlCl3, added in a field-based study to pig slurry
at 430 mg Al L1, reduced DRP in runoff water by 84% and DRP in
manure by over 99%. In an incubation study, Dou et al. [6] found that
technical-grade alum, added to pig slurry at 0.25 kg kg1 of manure
dry matter (DM), and flue gas desulfurization by-product (FGD), added
at 0.15 kg kg1, each reduced DRP by 80%. Dao [7] amended stockpiled
cattle manure with caliche, alum, and fly ash in an incubation
experiment, and reported water extractable P reductions in amended
manure compared to the control of 21, 60, and 85%, respectively.
Batch experiments, wherein an amendment and slurry are mixed,
are a good way to determine if the addition of a particular amendment is appropriate to reduce P in surface runoff from land applied
slurry, but do not account for the interaction between applied slurry
and soil, and the effect of infiltration and skin formation on the
release of P to surface runoff. An agitator test, wherein an intact soil
core, placed in a beaker, is overlain with continuously stirred water
[8, 9], enables achievement of batch experiment results, but also
simulates the situation in which slurry is applied to soil, allowed to
dry, and then subjected to overland flow.
The aim of this study was to: (i) Investigate the effectiveness of
various pig slurry amendments to control incidental P losses in
runoff applied to permanent grassland, (ii) identify optimum
amendment application rates for each amendment, (iii) estimate
the cost of each treatment, and (iv) discuss the feasibility of using
amendments in a real on-farm scenario.
2 Materials and methods
2.1 Slurry collection and characterization
Correspondence: Dr. M. G. Healy, Civil Engineering, National University
of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway, Rep. of Ireland
E-mail: [email protected]
Abbreviations: Al-WTR, alum-based water treatment residual; DM,
dry matter; DRP, dissolved reactive phosphorus; FGD, flue gas
desulfurization by-product; PAC, poly-aluminum chloride
ß 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Pig slurry was taken from an integrated pig unit in Teagasc Research
Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork. The sampling point was a valve
on an outflow pipe between two holding tanks, which were sequentially placed after a holding tank under the slats. To ensure a
representative sample, this valve was turned on and left to run
for a few minutes before taking a sample. The entire sample used
www.clean-journal.com
Clean – Soil, Air, Water 2012, 40 (2), 164–170
Amendment to Pig Slurry
165
extracting solution [10]. Soil pH (n ¼ 3) was determined using a pH
probe and a 2:1 ratio of deionized water-to-soil. The particle size
distribution was determined using a sieving and pipette method
[11], and the organic content of the soil was determined using the
loss of ignition test [12]. The soil used was a poorly drained, sandy
loam textured, topsoil (58% sand, 27% silt, and 15% clay) with a soil
test P of 16.72 3.58 mg L1, total potassium of 127.39 14.94 mg L1,
a pH of 7.65 0.06, and an organic matter content of 13 0.1%.
for both the batch study and agitator test was taken as one sample.
The slurry was stored in a 25-L drum in a cold room at 118C prior to
testing. The total phosphorus (TP) and total nitrogen (TN) were
determined using persulfate digestion. Ammonium-N (NH4-N) was
determined by adding 50 mL of slurry to 1 L of 0.1 M HCl, shaking,
filtering through No. 2 Whatman filter paper, and analyzing using a
nutrient analyzer (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland).
Slurry pH was determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany). DM
content was determined by drying at 1058C for 24 h. The physical and
chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment
and characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland
and internationally are presented in Tab. 1.
2.3 Batch study to determine potential
amendments
A batch study was carried out to identify appropriate amendments
for the agitator test and the rates at which they should be applied
to pig manure to reduce water extractable P, an environmental
indicator of potential P loss in slurry. The following amendments
were added in the batch study: (i) Commercial grade liquid alum
(8% Al2O3), (ii) commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminum chloride
(PAC) (10% Al2O3), (iii) commercial-grade liquid ferric chloride
(38% FeCl3), (iv) analytical-grade ferric sulfate (FeSO4 7 H2O),
2.2 Soil preparation and analysis
Grassed soil samples were collected from a local dry stock farm in
Galway, Republic of Ireland. Aluminum (Al) coring rings of 120-mmheight and 100-mm-diameter were used to collect undisturbed soil
core samples (n ¼ 60). Soil samples (n ¼ 3) – taken from upper 100 mm
from the same location – were air dried at 408C for 72 h, crushed
to pass a 2-mm sieve, and analyzed for soil test P using Morgan’s
Table 1. Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland and
internationally
Location
Total P
(mg L1)
Total N
(mg L1)
Ireland
560
800
1630
900 7
820
707
2150 212
4200
6621
4600 21
3220
2037
Spain
USA
a)
Total K
(mg L1)
NH4-N
(mg L1)
pH
Dry matter
(%)
Reference
1248 40
8.9 0.3
3.5 0.2
The present study
S.I. No. 610 of 2010
[18] a)
[19] a)
[20]
[21]
2666
2600 10
1008
1412
1860
1366
7.59
5.77
3.2 2.3
3.2
2
Values changed to mg L1 assuming densities of 1 kg L1.
Table 2. Characterization of amendments used in the batch and agitator tests (mean standard deviation) tests carried out in triplicate
Amendment
pH
WEP (mg kg1)
Al (%)
Ca (%)
Fe (%)
K (%)
As (mg kg1)
Cd (mg kg1)
Co (mg kg1)
Cr (mg kg1)
Cu (mg kg1)
Mg (mg kg1)
Mn (mg kg1)
Mo (mg kg1)
Na (mg kg1)
Ni (mg kg1)
P (mg kg1)
Pb (mg kg1)
V (mg kg1)
Zn (mg kg1)
Sb (mg kg1)
Se (mg kg1)
Hg (mg kg1)
Alum
Poly-Al
chloride
Ferric
chloride
Ferric
sulfate
Lime
8% Al2O3 10% Al2O3 38% FeCl3 FeSO4 7 H2O Ca(OH)2
1.25
1.0–3.0
0
4.23
54.1
<0.01
38
20
1
0.21
<1.0
<0.2
<2.8
<3.4
2.1
<2.0
<48
<65
<1370
1.4
<1.0
<48
2.8
<2.0
<14
<1.0
<1.0
<0.2
<2.8
<2.8
<0.7
Fly ash
FGD
11.2 0.04 8.6 0.0
<0.01
<0.01
5.7 0.2
0.1 0.0
4.9 0.2
20 0.3
2.2 0.1
0.1 0.0
0.1
0.03
13 0.6
<0.01
0.6 0.0
0.2 0.02
33 1
0.3 0.1
88 2
3 0.1
32.7 1.5
37 13
12 200 610 2950 58
347 160
31 0.6
7.7 0.5 0.73 0.3
1370 610 660 93
44 1
11 0.6
5460 630
65 20
30 2
0.74 0.4
155 5
49 2
75 31
9.4 2
Bottom Gypsum Al-WTR-1
ash
0.42
0.4
1.6
0.04
0.28
0.43
14.3
8.1
2120
92
0.63
859
9.9
171
3.9
13.7
19.7
1.1
28
0.5
0.01
12 061
371
218
Al-WTR-2
(<2 mm)
(Sludge)
7.9 0.1
6.9 0.2
<0.01
11 0.0
5.3 0.2
1.3 0.1
0.11
0.2 0.0
0.01
0.03 0.0
<0.01
6.2 1.1
<0.01
0.16 0.0
<0.01
0.5 0.3
<0.01
3.8 0.21 0.3 0.02
31.7 1.5
0.6 0.03
165 33
3.2 1.7
79 1
6.9 0.1
0.47 0.2
<0.01
611 180
65 14
4.8 0.06 0.6 0.2
234 5.3 18.7 1.6
1.2 0.8
<0.01
3 0.2
0.2 0.01
17
0.8 0.1
WEP, water extractable phosphorus; Al-WTR, alum-based water treatment residual; FGD, flue gas desulfurization by-product.
ß 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
www.clean-journal.com
166
C. J. O’ Flynn et al.
(v) analytical-grade lime (Ca(OH)2), (vi) fly ash, (vii) FGD, (viii) bottom
ash, (ix) gypsum, (x) aluminum-based water treatment residuals (AlWTR), sieved to <2 mm (Al-WTR-1), and (xi) Al-WTR homogenized
sludge (Al-WTR-2). Tests (i–v) were applied based on a metal/TP
stoichiometric ratio and (vi–xi) were applied based on a kg kg1
weight basis (slurry DM). The Al-WTR was provided by Galway City
Water Treatment Plant. Coal combustion by-products (fly ash, FGD,
and bottom ash) were provided by the Electricity Supply Board. The
compositions of all the amendments used are shown in Tab. 2.
The pH of the amended slurry was measured after application of
amendments at t ¼ 0 h. Amendments were added at five different
rates to 50 g of slurry and mixed for 10 s. All tests were carried
out in triplicate (n ¼ 3). At t ¼ 24 h, samples were tested for water
extractable P after Kleinman et al. [13]. An unamended sample was
also used as a study control.
Clean – Soil, Air, Water 2012, 40 (2), 164–170
Figure 1. The agitator experimental setup.
2.4 Agitator test
The agitator test has been used to investigate the release of P from soil
[8] and from amended dairy cattle slurry to soil [9]. This experiment
replicates the way in which slurry is applied to soil, allowed to dry, and
then subjected to overland flow. Although no validation of test results
with actual runoff was undertaken, the test provided comparable
conditions for assessment of the effectiveness of the amendments
at reducing the release of P from land-applied slurry in a realistic way.
In the agitator test, the following treatments were examined in
triplicate (n ¼ 3) within 21 days of sample collection: (i) A grassed
sod-only treatment with no slurry applied, (b) a grassed sod with
unamended slurry applied at a rate of 19 kg TP ha1 (control study),
and (c) grassed sods receiving amended slurry applied at a rate of
19 kg TP ha1. Six different amendments (selected from the batch
study above) were applied at three different rates (low, medium,
and high) based on the results obtained from the batch study.
Amendments were added to slurry in a 100 mL plastic cup and mixed
for 10 s. Prior to the start of the agitator test, the intact soil samples –
at approximately field capacity – were taken from their sampling
cores and cut to a height of 45 mm; this was considered sufficient to
include the full depth of influence on release of P to overland flow [8].
They were then transferred into 1 L glass beakers. The slurry and
amended slurry was then applied to the soil cores (t ¼ 0 h) and left to
interact for 24 h prior to the sample being saturated. At t ¼ 24 h, the
samples were gently saturated by adding deionized water to the soil
at intermittent time intervals over 24 h until water pooled on the
surface. Immediately after saturation (t ¼ 48 h), 500 mL of deionized
water was added to the beaker. The agitator paddle was lowered to
mid-depth in the water overlying the soil sample and the paddle was
set to rotate at 20 rpm for 30 h to simulate overland flow (Fig. 1).
Water samples (4 mL) were taken from mid-depth of the water
overlying the soil at 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, and 30 h after the start
of each test (i.e., after 500 mL were added). All samples were filtered
immediately after sample collection using 0.45-mm filters and prior
to being analyzed colorimetrically for DRP using a nutrient analyzer
(Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems). pH readings were taken in
the overlying water at 1 and 30 h after the start of each test.
2.5 Cost
The effects of amendments on slurry viscosity or handling were not
considered in the cost analysis. It was assumed that amendments
would be added upon delivery, so storage cost on site was excluded
ß 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Figure 2. Concentration of water extractable P in pig slurry (mg L1) as a
function of stoichiometric ratio of Al added as alum and PAC, Fe added as
ferric chloride and ferric sulfate, and Ca as lime to total P in pig slurry (a),
and mass of fly ash, FGD, bottom ash, gypsum, and Al-based water
treatment residuals sieved to <2 mm (Al-WTR-1), and homogenized
sludge (Al-WTR-2) added per DM of pig slurry (b).
www.clean-journal.com
Clean – Soil, Air, Water 2012, 40 (2), 164–170
from the analyses. In the case of lime, the cost was estimated using
commercial grade lime. The calculated costs took into account
the fixed and operational costs for a 75-kW tractor and 2000-gal.
splash-plate slurry tanker.
3 Results
3.1 Batch study
The most effective amendments at reducing water extractable P
after 24 h were (in decreasing order of effectiveness): Alum (99%),
lime (99%), ferric chloride (98%), PAC (95%), fly ash (87%), FGD (76%),
gypsum (39%), ferric sulfate (27%), bottom ash (24%), Al-WTR-2 (15%),
and Al-WTR-1 (0%) (Fig. 2).
For all solutions, there was a point beyond which further additions
of amendments did not significantly reduce water extractable P
(Fig. 2). On the basis of inspection of the results, the amendments
and their application rates to be used in the agitator test were:
(i) Alum (0.29:1, 0.58:1, and 0.88:1 [Al/P]), (ii) PAC (0.18:1, 0.36:1, and
0.72:1 [Al/P]), (iii) ferric chloride (0.34:1, 0.62:1, and 0.89:1 [Fe/P]),
(iv) lime (3.86:1, 5.79:1, and 7.79:1 [Ca/P]), (v) fly ash (0.857, 1.71, and
3.43 kg kg1 DM), and (vi) FGD (2.7, 3.78, and 4.86 kg kg1 DM).
Amendment to Pig Slurry
167
3.2 Agitator test
Figure 3 shows the mass of DRP in the overlying water and DRP
concentrations over the study duration. The percentage reduction
in DRP for each treatment at each rate is shown in Tab. 3. The
unamended slurry had a DRP concentration of 17.8 mg L1 in the
overlying water. The DRP concentrations in the overlying water,
ranked from best to worst, were: Alum, 2.5 mg L1; FGD,
4.6 mg L1; PAC, 4.7 mg L1; ferric chloride, 5.2 mg L1; fly ash,
7.5 mg L1; and lime, 8.1 mg L1. These compare to the water overlying the grassed sod-only treatment, which had a DRP concentration of 2.0 mg L1.
3.3 Cost
Table 3 shows the estimated cost of addition of amendments and
estimations of spreading and agitation costs as a result of their use.
In order of increasing cost of use, per m3 of pig slurry, they are: Ferric
chloride (s1.89), fly ash (s2.00), PAC (s2.09), alum (s2.18), lime
(s2.84), and FGD (s4.10). Figure 4 shows the total cost of amendment
(s tonne1) versus percentage reduction in DRP release to overlying
water (%) and the reduction in DRP released from soil (kg ha1). The
addition of FGD led to DM contents of above 10%, which would
Figure 3. The mass of DRP (mg m2) and DRP
concentration (mg L1) in water overlying
grassed sod-only treatment; grassed sod with
unamended slurry; and grassed sod with slurry
amended with alum, PAC, ferric chloride, lime,
fly ash, and FGD, each applied at three different
rates, plotted over the 30 h of the test.
ß 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
www.clean-journal.com
2
3
4
5
6
Ferric chloride
Poly-Al chloride
Fly ash
Ca(OH)2
(Lime)
FGD
0.29:1 Al/P
0.58:1 Al/P
0.88:1 Al/P
0.34:1 Fe/P
0.62:1 Fe/P
0.89:1 Fe/P
0.18:1 Al/P
0.36:1 Al/P
0.72:1 Al/P
0.030 kg kg1
0.060 kg kg1
0.120 kg kg1
3.86:1 Ca/P
5.79:1 Ca/P
7.71:1 Ca/P
0.095 kg kg1
0.132 kg kg1
0.170 kg kg1
Addition
rated)
ß 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
14
312
14
280
250
150
Coste)
(s tonne1)
4
8
12
1
2
4
2
4
8
30
60
120
4
6
8
95
132
170
Rate
(kg m3)
0.00
0.58
1.16
1.76
0.34
0.62
0.90
0.53
1.07
2.13
0.40
0.81
1.62
1.28
1.92
2.56
1.28
1.79
2.3
Cost of
amendment
(s m3)
1.56
1.60
1.56
1.57
1.55
1.55
1.56
1.55
1.56
1.56
1.6
1.64
1.74
1.56
1.56
1.56
1.98
2.49
2.98
Spreading
(s m3)
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.43
0.54
0.64
Agitation
(s m3)
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.42
1.09
1.73
Cost
waterf)
(s m3)
1.56
2.18
2.72
3.33
1.89
2.18
2.45
2.09
2.62
3.69
2.00
2.45
3.36
2.84
3.48
4.12
4.10
5.91
7.64
Total
(s m3)
16 182
22 672
28 309
34 613
19 704
22 655
25 500
21 689
27 258
38 396
20 815
25 488
34 910
29 511
36 206
42 866
42 634
61 467
79 474
500 sow
integrated
unitg)
(s farm1)
0
55
64
86
48
52
71
43
42
73
43
48
58
30
53
54
66
67
74
DRP
Removal
(%)
73.34
110.01
146.49
5.51
11.02
16.72
6.46
11.78
16.91
3.42
6.84
13.68
Spreading
rate of metal
(kg ha1)
Yes
No limit
Yes
No limit
No limit
No limit
Within max.
allowable metal
spreading ratesh)
(yes/no)
C. J. O’ Flynn et al.
DRP, dissolved reactive phosphorus; FGD, flue gas desulfurization by-product.
a)
Calculations based on an integrated pig unit with 500 sows, or equivalent stocking rate, indoors for 52 weeks.
b)
Slurry properties: total P ¼ 560 mg L1 and 3.5% dry matter (DM).
c)
In the case of Ca(OH)2, cost was estimated using commercial grade lime.
d)
Addition rates for fly ash and FGD quoted as kg of amendment/kg of slurry.
e)
Cost includes delivery of material and addition of material to slurry in storage tank.
f)
Addition of some amendments resulted in DM >10%-water addition needed for spreading. In this case, agitation is required for process of adding water.
g)
Calculations based on 0.4 m3 of slurry per sow per week.
h)
Max. allowable metal application rates take from S.I. No. 267/2001-Waste Management (Use of Sewage sludge in Agriculture) (Amendment) Regulations, 2001 (www.irishstatutebook.ie).
1
Feasibility
score
Control
Alum
Amendmentc)
Table 3. Table showing amendments in order of feasibility score, breakdown of costsa), cost/m3 slurryb), cost for 500 sow integrated unit, and percentage reduction in DRP in overlying water at 30 h
168
Clean – Soil, Air, Water 2012, 40 (2), 164–170
www.clean-journal.com
Clean – Soil, Air, Water 2012, 40 (2), 164–170
Figure 4. Total cost of amendment (s tonne1) of pig slurry plotted against
the reduction in DRP lost to overlying water (kg ha1) and the percentage
reduction in DRP release to overlying water from slurry amended with alum,
PAC, ferric chloride, lime, fly ash, and FGD, each applied at three different
rates.
require water to be added to produce DM of a low enough consistency for slurry spreading operations. Addition of water would
require agitation and these, combined with the high volume of
addition per m3, significantly increased the total cost of FGD above
the other amendments. Alum, although clearly the best performing
amendment, was still competitively priced compared to the other
amendments.
4 Discussion
In the batch study, Al-WTR-1 and Al-WTR-2 increased the water
extractable P of the slurry when added at some weights. This may
be attributable to the fact that there were small quantities of P
within Al-WTR-1 and Al-WTR-2 (Tab. 2). There was also P present in fly
ash and FGD, but these amendments contained much more
calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), which are P sorbing elements.
Lime required a much higher stoichiometric addition rate to achieve
significant water extractable P reduction, however, this is acceptable
as lime is often added to land by farmers and has widespread public
acceptance. Ferric sulfate was not tested above a stoichiometric rate
of 0.332, as there was a poor response relative to the other amendments at the same addition rate. The reduction in water extractable
P compared favorably to that of Dao [7], who reported reductions of
60 and 85% in water extractable P concentrations after adding alum
and fly ash, respectively, to stockpiled cattle manure.
Taking into account costs, land application of metals, and potential DRP reductions in overlying water, the amendments, ranked in
decreasing order of feasibility, were: Alum, ferric chloride, PAC, fly
ash, lime, and FGD.
There was a high initial rise in DRP at the start of each test, with
the rate of increase reducing over time toward the end of the study
(Fig. 3). It can be seen in almost all cases that the higher the addition
rate for each amendment, the lower the peak in DRP concentration.
The amendments used in the agitator test all reduced the DRP
concentrations in the overlying water. However, they did not reduce
the concentrations to below that of the grassed sod-only treatment,
ß 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Amendment to Pig Slurry
169
which itself was well above 30 mg P L1, the median phosphate level
above which significant deterioration may be seen in river ecosystems [14]. The reason for this is the amendments only reduce the
contribution of the slurry to the overlying water DRP and do not
affect the contribution of the soil to the overlying water DRP. The
reductions in DRP were broadly similar to Smith et al. [5], who
achieved reductions in DRP of 84% in runoff water when adding
both alum and AlCl3 to pig slurry at 430 mg Al L1 in a field-based
study.
The effect of amendments on slurry pH is a potential barrier to
their implementation as it affects P sorbing ability [15] and ammonia
(NH3) emissions from slurry [16]. The use of acidifying amendments
can lead to increased release of hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S) from
slurry, which is believed to be responsible for human and animal
deaths when slurry is being agitated on farms. However, the results
from this experiment show the pH of the overlying water not to be
significantly affected by the use of amendment.
From the cost analysis, it can be seen that the use of amendments
may only be worth pursuing where focused application may be
adopted. As legislation allows less slurry to be spread on high P
index soils, farmers with these soils have less land available on which
to spread slurry. The addition of amendment to pig slurry has the
potential to relieve this problem. If a farmer has more than one P
index level on a farm, then a way to potentially reduce the cost
associated with amending the slurry would be to only amend the
slurry that is applied to areas of the farm with a higher soil test P.
However, this will only reduce the impact of landspreading on the
potential loss of P in runoff and will not impact on the soil test P,
which will still be a potential pollution source.
Although, this study did not investigate the release of metals due
to the amendment of slurry, previous studies that have found no
added risk was posed by amending land applied pig [4] or poultry [17]
manure. Moore and Edwards [17] also investigated whether using
alum as an amendment affected Al concentrations in the soil or Al
uptake by plants. They showed that the use of alum did not negatively affect either. The reason that Al availability was not affected is
because Al availability in soils is virtually independent of the level of
total Al, but instead is controlled by the geochemical conditions
present, with pH being the major influencing factor. Acidic conditions result in the dissolution of clay minerals and Al oxides,
causing high concentrations of exchangeable Al. The pH would be
expected to increase, which will result in decreased available
Al. Moore and Edwards [17] also calculated that it would take up
to 400 years of annual application of alum-treated litter to increase
the level of total Al in the soil from 7 to 8%, as alum is already the
most abundant metal in most soils.
5 Conclusions
The findings of this study are:
(1) All of the amendments trialed in the agitator test have the
potential to reduce the release of P in surface runoff from
land-applied slurry.
(2) Taking into account costs and land application of metals, suitable amendments which may reduce the risk of surface runoff of
P from land applied pig slurry are (in decreasing order of feasibility): Alum, ferric chloride, PAC, fly ash, lime, and FGD.
(3) As there are significant costs associated with the use of these
amendments, it is recommended that they are used strategically
www.clean-journal.com
170
C. J. O’ Flynn et al.
in areas which are likely to have potential nutrient loss problems. As land surrounding pig farms tend to have high soil test
phosphorus, the use of amendments may be deemed necessary.
Although, they reduce the impact of nutrient loss from land
application of pig slurry, they do not prevent the loss of nutrients
from soil of high nutrient content.
Acknowledgments
The first author gratefully acknowledges the award of the EMBARK
scholarship from IRCSET to support this study. The authors would
like to thank Raymond Brennan, Stan Lalor, Brendan Lynch, Michael
Martin, and Gerard McCutcheon.
The authors have declared no conflict of interest.
References
[1] R. P. O. Schulte, A. R. Melland, O. Fenton, M. Herlihy, K. G. Richards,
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Feyereisen, Effects of Hydrology and Field Management on
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[4] D. R. Smith, P. A. Moore, Jr., C. V. Maxwell, B. E. Haggard, T. C. Daniel,
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Phytase and Aluminum Chloride, J. Environ. Qual. 2004, 33 (3), 1048.
[5] D. R. Smith, P. A. Moore, Jr., C. L. Griffis, T. C. Daniel, et al., Effects of
Alum and Aluminum Chloride on Phosphorus Runoff from Swine
Manure, J. Environ. Qual. 2001, 30 (3), 992.
[6] Z. Dou, G. Y. Zhang, W. L. Stout, J. D. Toth, J. D. Ferguson, Efficacy of
Alum and Coal Combustion By-Products in Stabilizing Manure
Phosphorus, J. Environ. Qual. 2003, 32 (4), 1490.
[7] T. H. Dao, Co-Amendments to Modify Phosphorus Extractability and
Nitrogen/Phosphorus Ratio in Feedlot Manure and Composted
Manure, J. Environ. Qual. 1999, 28 (4), 1114.
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[8] J. Mulqueen, M. Rodgers, P. Scally, Phosphorus Transfer from Soil to
Surface Waters, Agric. Water Manage. 2004, 68 (1), 91.
[9] R. B. Brennan, O. Fenton, M. Rodgers, M. G. Healy, Evaluation of
Chemical Amendments to Control Phosphorus Losses from Dairy
Slurry, Soil Use Manage. 2011, 27 (2), 238.
[10] M. F. Morgan, Chemical Soil Diagnosis by the Universal Soil Testing System,
Bulletin 450, The Connecticut Agricultural Experimental Station,
New Haven, CT 1941.
[11] British Standards Institution, British Standard Methods of Test for
Soils for Civil Engineering Purposes. Determination of Particle Size
Distribution, BS 1377:1990:2, British Standards Institution, London
1990.
[12] British Standards Institution, Determination by Mass-Loss on Ignition.
British Standard Methods of Test for Soils for Civil Engineering Purposes.
Chemical and Electro-Chemical Tests, BS 1377:1990:3, British Standards
Institution, London 1990.
[13] P. J. A. Kleinman, D. Sullivan, A. Wolf, R. Brandt, et al., Selection of
a Water Extractable Phosphorus Test for Manures and Biosolids as
an Indicator of Runoff Loss Potential, J. Environ. Qual. 2007, 36 (5),
1357.
[14] K. J. Clabby, C. Bradley, M. Craig, D. Daly, et al., Water Quality in
Ireland 2004–2006, Environmental Protection Agency, County
Wexford, Rep. of Ireland 2008.
[15] C. J. Penn, R. B. Bryant, M. A. Callahan, J. M. McGrath, Use of
Industrial Byproducts to Sorb and Retain Phosphorus, Commun.
Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 2011, 42 (6), 633–644.
[16] A. M. Lefcourt, J. J. Meisinger, Effect of Adding Alum or Zeolite to
Dairy Slurry on Ammonia Volatilization and Chemical
Composition, J. Dairy Sci. 2001, 84 (8), 1814.
[17] P. A. Moore, Jr., D. R. Edwards, Long-Term Effects of Poultry Litter,
Alum-Treated Litter, and Ammonium Nitrate on Aluminum
Availability in Soils, J. Environ. Qual. 2005, 34, 2104.
[18] G. A. McCutcheon, MSc Thesis, National University of Ireland, Dublin
1997.
[19] C. O’Bric, MSc Thesis, National University of Ireland, Dublin 1992.
[20] M. Sánchez, J. L. González, The Fertilizer Value of Pig Slurry. I. Values
Depending on the Type of Operation, Bioresour. Technol. 2005, 96 (10),
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[21] J. P. Chastain, J. J. Camberato, J. E. Albrecht, J. Adams, III. Swine
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www.clean-journal.com
Appendix C
Journal of Environmental Management 113 (2012) 78e84
Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect
Journal of Environmental Management
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jenvman
Impact of pig slurry amendments on phosphorus, suspended sediment and metal
losses in laboratory runoff boxes under simulated rainfall
C.J. O’Flynn a, O. Fenton b, P. Wilson c, d, M.G. Healy a, *
a
Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland
Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, Ireland
c
School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, United Kingdom
d
School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland
b
a r t i c l e i n f o
a b s t r a c t
Article history:
Received 2 February 2012
Received in revised form
23 July 2012
Accepted 10 August 2012
Available online 17 September 2012
Losses of phosphorus (P) when pig slurry applications to land are followed by a rainfall event or losses
from soils with high P contents can contribute to eutrophication of receiving waters. The addition of
amendments to pig slurry spread on high P Index soils may reduce P and suspended sediment (SS) losses.
This hypothesis was tested at laboratory-scale using runoff boxes under simulated rainfall conditions.
Intact grassed soil samples, 100 cm-long, 22.5 cm-wide and 5 cm-deep, were placed in runoff boxes and
pig slurry or amended pig slurry was applied to the soil surface. The amendments examined were: (1)
commercial grade liquid alum (8% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al:total phosphorus (TP)] (2)
commercial-grade liquid ferric chloride (38% FeCl3) applied at a rate of 0.89:1 [Fe:TP] and (3)
commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminium chloride (PAC) (10% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al:TP].
The grassed soil was then subjected to three rainfall events (10.3 0.15 mm h1) at time intervals of 48,
72, and 96 h following slurry application. Each sod received rainfall on 3 occasions. Results across three
rainfall events showed that for the control treatment, the average flow weighted mean concentration
(FWMC) of TP was 0.61 mg L1, of which 31% was particulate phosphorus (PP), and the average FWMC of
SS was 38.1 mg L1. For the slurry treatment, there was an average FWMC of 2.2 mg TP L1, 47% of which
was PP, and the average FWMC of SS was 71.5 mg L1. Ranked in order of effectiveness from best to worst,
PAC reduced the average FWMC of TP to 0.64 mg L1 (42% PP), FeCl3 reduced TP to 0.91 mg L1 (52% PP)
and alum reduced TP to 1.08 mg L1 (56% PP). The amendments were in the same order when ranked for
effectiveness at reducing SS: PAC (74%), FeCl3 (66%) and alum (39%). Total phosphorus levels in runoff
plots receiving amended slurry remained above those from soil only, indicating that, although incidental
losses could be mitigated by chemical amendment, chronic losses from the high P index soil in the
current study could not be reduced.
Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords:
Pig slurry
Amendments
Runoff
Phosphorus
Suspended sediment
Metals
1. Introduction
The European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD)
(European Commission (EC), 2000) aims to achieve ‘at least’ good
ecological status for all water bodies in all member states by 2015
with the implementation of Programmes of Measures (POM) by
2012. Taking Ireland as an example, The European Communities
(Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations
2010 (hereafter referred to as statutory instrument (S.I.) No. 610 of
2010) is Ireland’s POM, which satisfies both the WFD and the
Nitrates Directive (European Economic Community (EEC), 1991).
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ353 91 495364; fax: þ353 91 494507.
E-mail address: [email protected] (M.G. Healy).
0301-4797/$ e see front matter Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2012.08.026
The Nitrates Directive promotes the use of good farming practices
to protect water quality across Europe by implementing measures
to prevent nitrates from agricultural sources polluting a water body.
S.I. No. 610 of 2010 imposes a limit on the amount of livestock
manure that can be applied to land. As part of this, the maximum
amount of livestock manure that may be spread on land, together
with manure deposited by the livestock, cannot exceed 170 kg of
nitrogen (N) and 49 kg phosphorus (P) ha1 year1. This limit is
dependent on grassland stocking rate and soil test P (STP). Presently, these limits may only be exceeded: (1) when spreading spent
mushroom compost, poultry manure, or pig slurry (2) if the size of
a holding has not increased since 1st August 2006 and (3) if the N
application limit is not exceeded (S.I. No. 610 of 2010). The amount
by which these limits can be exceeded will be reduced gradually to
zero by 1st January, 2017 (Table 1). This will have the effect of
C.J. O’Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 113 (2012) 78e84
Table 1
Amount by which regulations may be exceeded over time.
Date
Amount by which regulations can be
exceeded (kg P ha1)
To January 1, 2013a
January 1, 2013eJanuary 1, 2015
January 1, 2015eJanuary 1, 2017
January 1, 2017 onwards
Not limited
5
3
0
a
Up to 1 January 2013, the regulation limits can be exceeded when spreading
spent mushroom compost, poultry manure, or pig slurry (Anon, 2010, www.teagasc.
ie). This can only happen if the activities which produce this on a holding have not
increased in scale since 1 August 2006, and the N application limit is not exceeded
(S.I. No. 610 of 2010).
reducing the amount of land available for the application of pig
slurry and may lead to the need for pig export, which itself becomes
energetically questionable at distances over 50 km (Fealy and
Schroder, 2008). These new regulations will have an impact on
the pig industry, in particular, as it is focused in relatively small
areas of Ireland.
At present, pig slurry in Ireland is almost entirely landspread (B.
Lynch, pers. comm.). The application of slurry in excess of crop
requirements can give rise to elevated STP concentrations, which
may take years-to-decades to be reduced to agronomically
optimum levels (Schulte et al., 2010). Typically, fields neighbouring
farm yards have highest soil P index as they receive preferential
organic fertilizer application (Wall et al., 2011). Soil P Index categories of 1 (deficient) to 4 (excessive) are used to classify STP
concentrations in Ireland (Schulte et al., 2010). The soil P Index is
based on the Morgan’s extraction, with a STP of >8 mg L1 classified as P index 4 (S.I. No. 610 of 2010). Soils at soil P Index 4 show no
agronomic response to P applications and have a higher risk of P
loss in runoff (Tunney, 2000). Phosphorus losses from such a high P
Index soil have the potential to become exported along the nutrient
transfer continuum within a catchment, and may adversely affect
water quality (Wall et al., 2011).
Pig farming in Ireland is concentrated in a small number of
counties, with 52% of the national sow herd located in counties
Cavan, Cork and Tipperary (Anon, 2008). At 3.5 ha per sow, the
density of pig farming in County Cavan is the densest in the country
(Anon, 2008). Due to the high concentrations of pig farming in
certain areas, the constant application of pig slurry results in the local
land becoming high in STP, which leads to an increased long-term
danger of P losses (which are known as chronic losses). In addition,
due to regulations such as S.I. No. 610 of 2010, the amount of slurry
that may be spread on these lands will be reduced, which will lead to
a shortage of locally available land on which to spread slurry.
Alternative treatment methods for Irish pig slurry, such as
constructed wetlands (CWs), composting and anaerobic digestion
(AD), were investigated by Nolan et al. (2012), but landspreading
was found to be the most cost effective treatment option. Land
being used for other farming practices, such as tillage, which may
have a lower STP and would be more suitable for the landspreading
of slurry, is still often so far removed from the slurry source as to
make transportation of slurry to those locations extremely costly
(Nolan et al., 2012).
A possible novel alternative, unexplored by Nolan et al. (2012), is
the chemical amendment of pig slurry. Based on a laboratory scale
experiment, O’Flynn et al. (2012) suggested that chemical amendment of pig slurry should be explored further, with flow dimensions added, to examine nutrient speciation losses in runoff on
a high P Index soil.
Alum, aluminium chloride (AlCl3), lime and ferric chloride are
commonly used as coagulants in slurry and wastewater separation
operations. Smith et al. (2004) found in a field-based study that
79
AlCl3, added at 0.75% of final slurry volume to slurry from pigs on
a phytase-amended diet, could reduce slurry dissolved reactive P
(DRP) by 84% and runoff DRP by 73%. In a field study, Smith et al.
(2001) found that alum and AlCl3, added at a stoichiometric ratio
of 0.5:1 Al:total phosphorus (TP) to pig slurry, achieved reductions
of 33% and 45%, respectively, in runoff water, and reductions of 84%
in runoff water when adding both alum and AlCl3 at 1:1 Al:TP. In an
incubation study, Dou et al. (2003) found that technical-grade
alum, added to pig slurry at 0.25 kg kg1 of slurry dry matter
(DM), and flue gas desulfurisation by-product (FGD), added at
0.15 kg kg1, each reduced DRP by 80%. Dao (1999) amended
stockpiled cattle manure with caliche, alum and flyash in an incubation experiment, and reported water extractable P (WEP)
reductions in amended manure, compared to the study control, of
21, 60 and 85%, respectively.
O’Flynn et al. (2012) examined the effectiveness and feasibility
of six different amendments, added to pig slurry, at reducing DRP
concentration in overlying water in an experiment which attempted to simulate a contact mechanism between slurry and soil. Slurry
and amended slurry was applied to intact 100-mm-diameter soil
cores, positioned in glass beakers. The slurry was left for 24 h and
the soil was gently saturated over a further 24 h. 500 mL of water
was then added to the beaker. A rectangular paddle, positioned at
mid-height in the overlying water, was set to rotate at 20 rpm for
30 h to simulate overland flow, and water samples were taken over
the duration of the study and tested for DRP. The effectiveness of
the amendments at reducing DRP in overlying water were (in
decreasing order): alum (86%), FGD (74%), poly-aluminium chloride
(PAC) (73%), ferric chloride (71%), flyash (58%) and lime (54%).
Ranked in terms of feasibility, which took into account effectiveness, cost and other potential impediments to use, they were: alum,
ferric chloride, PAC, flyash, lime and FGD.
However, whilst allowing comparison between different
amendments at reducing P in overlying water, the agitator test did
not simulate surface runoff of nutrients under conditions which
attempted to replicate on-farm scenarios. In the present study,
a laboratory runoff box study was chosen over a field study as it was
less expensive and conditions such as surface slope, soil conditions,
and rainfall intensity can be standardized for testing. The expensive
nature of field experiments and inherent variability in natural
rainfall has made rainfall simulators a widely used tool in P transport research (Hart et al., 2004). The runoff box experiment was
sufficient to compare treatments and no effort was made to
extrapolate field-scale coefficients using this experiment. Unlike
previous studies, which used a much higher rainfall intensity of
50 mm h1 (Smith et al., 2001, 2004), the present study examined
surface runoff of nutrients under a calibrated rainfall intensity of
10.3 0.15 mm h1, which has a much shorter return period and is
more common in North Western Europe. It is also high enough so as
to produce runoff in a reasonable period of time. The present study
provides the first comparison of the effects on runoff concentrations and loads following the addition of amendments to Irish pig
slurry.
The aim of this laboratory study was to investigate P and suspended sediment (SS) losses during three consecutive simulated
rainfall events and to:
1) Elucidate if amendment of pig slurry can control incidental
(losses which take place when a rainfall event occurs shortly
after slurry application and before slurry infiltrates into the
soil) and chronic P losses over time to below that of the soil
control, and
2) Compare how amendment of pig slurry affects P speciation and
metal losses in runoff when compared with control and slurry
only treatments.
80
C.J. O’Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 113 (2012) 78e84
slurry in a 2-L plastic container, mixed for 10 s, and then applied
evenly to the grassed sods. The compositions of the amendments
used are shown in Table 3.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Slurry collection and characterisation
Pig slurry was taken from an integrated pig unit in Teagasc
Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork in March 2011. The
sampling point was a valve on an outflow pipe between two
holding tanks, which were sequentially placed after a holding tank
under the slats. To ensure a representative sample, this valve was
turned on and left to run for a few minutes before taking a sample.
The slurry was stored in a 25-L drum inside a fridge at 4 C prior to
testing. The TP and total nitrogen (TN) were determined using
persulphate digestion. AmmoniumeN (NH4eN) was determined by
adding 50 mL of slurry to 1 L of 0.1M HCl, shaking for 30 min at
200 rpm, filtering through No. 2 Whatman filter paper, and analysing using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Slurry pH was determined using a pH probe
(WTW, Germany). Dry matter (DM) content was determined by
drying at 105 C for 24 h. The physical and chemical characteristics
of the pig slurry used in this experiment and characteristic values of
pig slurry from other farms in Ireland are presented in Table 2.
2.2. Soil collection and analysis
120-cm long, 30-cm wide, 10-cm deep intact grassed soil
samples (n ¼ 15) were collected from a local dry stock farm in
Galway, Republic of Ireland. Soil samples (n ¼ 3) e taken from the
upper 100 mm from the same location e were air dried at 40 C for
72 h, crushed to pass a 2 mm sieve and analysed for Morgan’s P (the
national test used for the determination of plant available P in
Ireland) using Morgan’s extracting solution (Morgan, 1941). Soil pH
(n ¼ 3) was determined using a pH probe and a 2:1 ratio of
deionised water-to-soil. The particle size distribution was determined using a sieving and pipette method (British Standard (B.S.)
1377-2; BSI, 1990a) and the organic content of the soil was determined using the loss on ignition (LOI) test (B.S.1377-3; BSI, 1990b).
The soil used was a poorly-drained, sandy loam textured topsoil
(58% sand, 27% silt, 15% clay) with a STP of 16.72 3.58 mg L1
(making it a P index 4 soil according to S.I. No. 610 of 2010, on which
P may not be spread, except in those circumstances mentioned in
Table 1), total potassium (TK) of 127.39 14.94 mg L1, a pH of
7.65 0.06 and an organic matter content of 13 0.1%.
2.3. Slurry amendment
The results of a laboratory micro-scale study by O’Flynn et al.
(2012) were used to select amendments and their application
rates to be used in the present study. The amendments, which were
applied on a stoichiometric basis, were: (1) commercial grade
liquid alum (8% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al:TP]; (2)
commercial-grade liquid ferric chloride (38% FeCl3) applied at a rate
of 0.89:1 [Fe:TP]; and (3) commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminium
chloride (PAC) (10% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al:TP]. The
other amendments used in the O’Flynn et al. (2012) study (FGD,
flyash and lime) were unexamined in the present study on the basis
of effectiveness and feasibility. The amendments were added to the
2.4. Rainfall simulation study
100 cm-long, 22.5 cm-wide and 7.5 cm-deep laboratory runoff
boxes, with side-walls 2.5 cm higher than the grassed sods, were
used in this experiment. The runoff boxes were positioned under
a rainfall simulator. The rainfall simulator consisted of a single 1/
4HH-SS14SQW nozzle (Spraying Systems Co., Wheaton, IL)
attached to a 4.5-m-high metal frame, and calibrated to achieve an
intensity of 10.3 0.15 mm h1 and a droplet impact energy of
260 kJ mm1 ha1 at 85% uniformity after Regan et al. (2010). The
source for the water used in the rainfall simulations had a DRP
concentration of less than 0.005 mg L1, a pH of 7.7 0.2 and an
electrical conductivity (EC) of 0.435 dS m1. Each runoff box had 5mm-diameter drainage holes located at 300-mm-centres in the
base, after Regan et al. (2010). Muslin cloth was placed at the base of
each runoff box before packing the sods to prevent soil loss.
Immediately prior to the start of each experiment, the sods were
trimmed and packed in the runoff boxes. The packed sods were
then saturated using a rotating disc, variable-intensity rainfall
simulator (after Williams et al., 1997), and left to drain for 24 h by
opening the 5-mm-diameter drainage holes before continuing with
the experiment. At this point (t ¼ 24 h), when the soil was at
approximately field capacity, slurry and amended slurry were
spread on the packed sods and the drainage holes were sealed.
They remained sealed for the duration of the experiment. They
were then left for 48 h in accordance with S.I. No. 610 of 2010. At
t ¼ 72 h, 96 h and 120 h (Rainfall Event (RE) 1, RE 2 and RE 3),
rainfall was applied (to the same sods), and each event lasted for
a duration of 30 min after runoff began. Surface runoff samples for
each event were collected in 5-min intervals over this 30-min
period. The laboratory runoff box experiment was sufficient to
compare treatments and no effort was made to extrapolate fieldscale coefficients using this experiment.
2.5. Runoff collection and analysis
The following treatments were examined in triplicate (n ¼ 3)
within 21 d of sample collection: (1) a grassed sod-only treatment
with no slurry applied (2) a grassed sod with unamended slurry
(the slurry control) applied at a rate of 19 kg TP ha1, and (3)
grassed sods receiving amended slurry applied at a rate of
19 kg TP ha1.
After each 5-min interval, runoff water samples were tested for
pH. A subsample was passed through a 0.45 mm filter and analysed
colorimetrically for DRP using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20,
Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Filtered (passed through
a 0.45 mm filter) and unfiltered subsamples, collected at 10, 20 and
30 min after runoff began, were tested for total dissolved phosphorus (TDP) and TP using acid persulphate digestion. Particulate
phosphorus was calculated by subtracting TDP from TP. Dissolved
un-reactive phosphorus (DUP) was calculated by subtracting DRP
from TDP. Suspended sediment was tested by vacuum filtration of
Table 2
Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland.
TP (mg L1)
TN (mg L1)
613 40
800
1630
900 7
2800 212
4200
6621
4600 21
a
TK (mg L1)
NH4eN (mg L1)
pH (mg L1)
DM (%)
Reference
2290 39
7.85 0.03
3.41 0.08
The present study
S.I. No. 610 of 2010
McCutcheon, 1997,a
O0 Bric, 1991,a
2666
2600 10
Values changed to mg L1 assuming densities of 1 kg L1, standard deviation.
5.77
3.2 2.3
C.J. O’Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 113 (2012) 78e84
81
Table 3
Characterisation of amendments used in this study (O’Flynn et al., 2012).
Amendment
pH
WEP mg kg1
Al%
Ca%
Fe%
K%
As mg kg1
Cd mg kg1
Co mg kg1
Cr mg kg1
Cu mg kg1
Mg mg kg1
Mn mg kg1
Mo mg kg1
Na mg kg1
Ni mg kg1
P mg kg1
Pb mg kg1
V mg kg1
Zn mg kg1
Sb mg kg1
Se mg kg1
Hg mg kg1
Alum
Ferric chloride
8% Al2O3
38% FeCl3
1.25
0
4.23
<0.01
1
0.21
2.1
PAC
10% Al2O3
1.0e3.0
38
<2.8
<3.4
<48
<65
<1.0
<0.2
<2.0
<1370
1.4
<48
<1.0
2.8
<14
<2.0
<2.8
<2.8
<0.7
<1.0
<1.0
<0.2
a well-mixed (previously unfiltered) subsample through Whatman
GF/C (pore size: 1.2 mm) filter paper. As the amendments used
contain metals, namely Al and Fe, filtered subsamples collected at
10, 20 and 30 min after runoff began, were analysed using an ICP
(inductively coupled plasma) VISTA-MPX (Varian, California). The
limit of detection was 0.01 mg L1.
2.6. Statistical analysis
This experiment analysed the pairwise comparisons of the mean
concentrations of DRP, DUP, TDP, PP, TP, SS, Al and Fe in the runoff
when slurry only (slurry control), no slurry, and slurry that was
treated with alum, PAC and FeCl3, was applied. The significances of
the pairwise comparisons were based upon the results of an analysis of the data by a multivariate linear model in SPSS 19 (IBM,
2011). Covariance structures and interactions were investigated,
but found not to be of significance with respect to the pairwise
comparisons. Probability values of p > 0.05 were deemed not to be
significant.
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Phosphorus in runoff
The vast majority of the Irish landscape has rolling topography
and is highly dissected with surface water or drainage systems. The
present laboratory experiment mimics a field neighbouring such
a landscape. The high drainage density, high annual rainfall and low
annual potential evapotranspiration (20e50% of rainfall) facilitate
the hydrological pathways for transfers of P (Wall et al., 2011).
However, the losses from the runoff boxes in the present study may
be buffered further before reaching this export continuum.
The flow weighted mean concentrations (FWMC) of P in runoff
from the soil-only treatment were constant for all REs, with TP and
TDP decreasing from 0.62 and 0.42 mg L1 (corresponding to loads
of 3.6 and 2.5 mg m2), respectively, during RE 1 to 0.60 and
0.41 mg L1 (3.4 and 2.3 mg m2) during RE 3 (Fig. 1). These
concentrations of TP were above 0.03 mg P L1, the median phosphate level above which significant deterioration in water quality
Fig. 1. Histogram of flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L1) for dissolved
reactive phosphorus (DRP), dissolved unreactive phosphorus (DUP) and particulate
phosphorus (PP) in runoff at time intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h (denoted as 1, 2 and 3)
after land application of pig slurry. Hatched line ¼ 30 mg P L1 standard (Clabby et al.,
2008).
may be seen in rivers (Clabby et al., 2008). These high losses were as
expected as the soil used was a P index 4 soil, which carries the risk
of increased P loss in runoff (Tunney, 2000) and may not normally
have P spread on it (S.I. No. 610 of 2010). Although the buffering
capacity of water ensures that the concentration of the water in
a stream or lake will not be as high as the concentration of runoff,
chronic losses of P are a major issue in water quality.
Phosphorus losses of all types increased with slurry application
(Fig. 1). The FWMC of DRP for the runoff from the slurry control,
averaged over the three rainfall events, was 0.89 mg L1
(4.47 mg m2), which was significantly different to, and over twice
as high as the soil-only treatment (p ¼ 0.00) (Table 4). Although the
concentration of TDP in runoff from the slurry control decreased
slightly during each event (Fig. 1), the TDP fraction of TP increased
from 45% during RE 1 to 55% during RE 2, and 66% during RE 3. This
was due to the level of PP in runoff reducing, albeit not significantly
(p > 0.05), between each event. A similar trend was replicated
across all amended slurry treatments. As PP is generally bound to
the minerals (particularly Fe, Al, and Ca) and organic compounds
contained in soil, and constitutes a long-term P reserve of low
bioavailability (Regan et al., 2010), it may provide a variable, but
long-term, source of P in lakes as it is associated with sediment and
organic material in agricultural runoff (Sharpley et al., 1992). The
average FWMC of 0.89 mg DRP L1 (4.47 mg m2) from the slurry
control was consistent with the results of Smith et al. (2001), who
obtained DRP concentrations of 5.5 mg L1 in surface runoff
following slurry application to grassland at 44.9 kg TP ha1 and
subjected to a rainfall intensity of 50 mm h1, 1 day after
application.
Poly-aluminium chloride was the best performing amendment,
and significantly reduced all P to concentrations not significantly
different (p > 0.05) to soil-only. Across all treatments, no form of P
82
C.J. O’Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 113 (2012) 78e84
Table 4
Flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L1) averaged over three rainfall events, and removals (%) for dissolved reactive P (DRP), dissolved un-reactive P (DUP), total dissolved
P (TDP), particulate P (PP), total P (TP), and suspended sediment (SS).
DRP mg L1
Soil Only
Slurry Only
Alum
FeCl3
PAC
abcd
ab
0.34
0.89c
0.33a
0.32b
0.26ab
Removal %
e
e
63
64
71
DUP mg L1
a
0.08
0.27b
0.15c
0.11c
0.12c
Removal %
e
e
46
59
56
TDP mg L1
a
0.42
1.17b
0.48a
0.43c
0.37ac
Removal %
e
e
59
63
68
PP mg L1
a
0.19
1.01b
0.60cd
0.47c
0.27ad
Removal %
e
e
40
53
73
TP mg L1
a
0.61
2.17b
1.08cd
0.91c
0.64ad
Removal %
SS mg L1
Removal %
e
e
50
58
70
38.06ab
71.52 b
43.82ab
24.27ab
18.61a
e
e
39
66
74
Means in a column, which do not share a superscript, were significantly different (p < 0.05).
changed significantly between REs (p > 0.05). Within each treatment and each event, there were certain variances between replications expressed as standard deviations from the average. These
may be attributable to the inherent variability within soils and
slurry, such as differing chemical and physical properties, from two
very non-homogeneous materials.
The amendments used in this study all significantly reduced
DRP, DUP, TDP, PP and TP concentrations in the runoff water
compared to the slurry control, but resulted in DRP concentrations
which were not significantly different (p > 0.05) to the soil-only
treatment. No statistical relationship was found between the
runoff P concentrations and pH, or volume of runoff water
measured during each test. Dissolved un-reactive phosphorus
concentrations from all amendments were not significantly
different to each other (p > 0.05) and were significantly higher than
the soil-only, but lower than the slurry control. Similarly, the
addition of amendments reduced the PP, TP and TDP losses below
the slurry control (Table 4); however, they were still higher than the
soil-only. This indicates that even after chemical amendment,
slurry spread on high STP soil still poses an environmental danger.
This is because chemical amendment of slurry will only affect the
contribution of the slurry to runoff P, but will not affect the
contribution of the soil itself which, for high STP soils, may still pose
the danger of chronic P losses.
The average FWMC of DRP and TDP in runoff from the amended
slurry treatments were approximately half than in the runoff from
the slurry control. This may be due to the amendments reducing
the DRP of the slurry itself, similar to what Smith et al. (2001)
experienced. Smith et al. (2001) added alum and AlCl3, each at
0.5:1 and 1:1 Al:TP, to pig slurry. Each reduced DRP in pig slurry by
roughly 77% at 0.5:1 and 99% at 1:1. At the low rate of application
(0.5:1), DRP in runoff water was reduced by 33 and 45% when
adding alum and AlCl3, respectively. At the high rate of application
(1:1), each amendment reduced runoff DRP by 84%. These were
similar to the results obtained from the present study, which
ranged from 63% for alum added at 0.88:1 Al:TP to 71% for PAC
added at 0.72:1 (Table 4).
of 88%, 65% and 83% in runoff when adding alum, FeCl3 and PAC,
respectively, to dairy cattle slurry. However, the DM of the dairy
cattle slurry used by Brennan et al. (2011) was 10.5%, compared to
3.41% in this study, and all treatments resulted in average FWMCs
well above the slurry only treatment of the present study.
Fig. 3 shows the average FWMCs of Al and Fe in runoff water. As
expected, alum and PAC resulted in increased levels of Al, with Al
levels in runoff from alum significantly different to all other treatments (p < 0.05). This agrees with Edwards et al. (1999), who reported increased levels of Al in runoff water from alum-amended
horse manure and municipal sludge, compared to the slurry
control, in a plot study. Edwards et al. (1999) added alum at 10% by
dry manure and dry sludge mass. Horse manure and municipal
sludge were spread at 9.3 and 7.8 Mg ha1, respectively, with
rainfall applied within 1 h of application at 64 mm h1 for 30 min
after runoff began. The FWMC of Al in runoff increased from 1.22
and 0.61 mg L1 from unamended horse manure and municipal
sludge, respectively, to 1.80 and 1.01 mg L1 for alum-amended
horse manure and municipal sludge. In the present study, Al from
PAC was significantly lower than from alum (p ¼ 0.00), significantly
higher than from FeCl3 (p ¼ 0.036), but not significantly different to
the soil-only or slurry control (p > 0.05). FeCl3 resulted in increased
levels of Fe, significantly different (p < 0.05) to all other treatments.
Alum reduced Fe levels in runoff compared to the slurry control.
This result was in agreement with Moore et al. (1998) and Edwards
et al. (1999). Moore et al. (1998) added alum at 10% by weight in
a plot study to poultry litter, which was spread at varying land
application rates up to 8.98 Mg ha1. Rainfall was applied immediately after slurry application (RE 1), and 7 days later (RE 2) at
50 mm h1 for 27.5 min after runoff began. At the highest land
application rate, Fe loads in runoff were reduced from 94.2 and
3.2. Suspended sediment, metals and pH in runoff
The SS concentration in runoff reduced during each RE, apart
from the soil-only treatment, which was more constant. The
amendments all reduced the SS concentration to below that of the
slurry control (Fig. 2) and, in the case of FeCl3 and PAC, the average
FWMC was below 35 mg L1, the treatment standard necessary for
discharge to receiving waters (S.I. No 419 of 1994). However, the
concentration of SS in the soil-only treatment and the slurry control
were highly variable. The SS concentrations in runoff were not
significantly different between treatments, apart from PAC, which
was significantly different to the slurry control (p ¼ 0.024).
The order of effectiveness of removal was the same as for P, i.e.
from best to worst, they are: PAC, FeCl3 and alum. The removals of
SS for alum (39%), FeCl3 (66%) and PAC (74%) were not as high as
those reported by Brennan et al. (2011), who reported SS removals
Fig. 2. Histogram of average flow-weighted mean concentration of suspended sediment (SS) (mg L1) in runoff at time intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h (denoted as 1, 2 and 3)
after land application of pig slurry. Hatched line ¼ 35 mg L1 standard (S.I. No 419 of
1994).
C.J. O’Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 113 (2012) 78e84
83
4. Conclusions
The findings of this study were:
Fig. 3. Histogram of average flow-weighted mean concentration of metals (mg L1) in
runoff at time intervals of 48, 72, and 96 h (denoted as 1, 2 and 3) after land application
of pig slurry.
31.1 g ha1 from the slurry control for RE 1 and RE 2 to 37.8 and
12.1 g ha1 from the alum-amended litter. Edwards et al. (1999)
reported a FWMC of 0.17 mg Fe L1 in runoff from alumamended horse manure, compared to 0.44 mg L1 from
unamended slurry, and 0.10 from soil-only. There are no limits for
levels of Al in surface water intended for the abstraction of drinking
water, but the concentrations of Fe measured in the runoff were
well within the mandatory limit of 0.3 mg L1 (EEC, 1975).
The effect of amendments on slurry pH is a potential barrier to
their implementation as it affects P sorbing ability (Penn et al.,
2011) and ammonia (NH3) emissions from slurry (Lefcourt and
Meisinger, 2001). The use of acidifying amendments can lead to
an increased release of hydrogen sulphide gas (H2S) from slurry,
which is believed to be responsible for human and animal deaths
when slurry is agitated on farms. However, the results from this
laboratory experiment showed the pH of the runoff water not to be
significantly affected by the use of amendments (p > 0.05).
However, further investigation would need to be undertaken to
confirm that pollution swapping (the increase in one pollutant as
a result of a measure introduced to reduce another pollutant (Healy
et al., 2012)) does not occur.
1. On the high soil test phosphorus soil tested, phosphorus losses
from the grassed soil only were high and were further
increased following slurry application. All amendments tested
reduced all types of phosphorus losses, but did not reduce
them significantly to below that of the soil-only treatment, the
average flow-weighted mean concentration of total phosphorus of which was 0.61 mg L1 and which comprised 31% as
particulate phosphorus. For the slurry control, the average flow
weighted mean concentration of the surface runoff was 2.17 mg
total phosphorus L1, 47% of which was particulate phosphorus.
In decreasing order of effectiveness at removal of phosphorus,
the most successful amendments were: commercial-grade
liquid poly-aluminium chloride, which reduced the average
flow weighted mean concentration of total phosphorus to
0.64 mg L1 (42% particulate phosphorus); commercial-grade
liquid ferric chloride, which reduced total phosphorus to
0.91 mg L1 (52% particulate phosphorus); and alum, which
reduced total phosphorus to 1.08 mg L1 (56% particulate
phosphorus).
2. For each treatment, total phosphorus and total dissolved
phosphorus concentrations in runoff decreased after each
rainfall event. However, the fraction of total dissolved phosphorus within runoff increased, due to large, although not
significant, decreases in particulate phosphorus between
events.
3. The amendments all reduced the suspended sediment to
below that of the slurry control, and in the case of commercialgrade liquid ferric chloride and commercial-grade liquid polyaluminium chloride, to below that of the soil only. These two
treatments also reduced the average flow weighted mean
concentration of suspended sediment to below 35 mg L1, the
treatment standard necessary for discharge to receiving
waters.
4. Although encouraging, the effectiveness of the amendments
trialed in this study should be validated at field scale.
Acknowledgements
3.3. Outlook for use of amendments as a mitigation measure
In this laboratory study, amendments to pig slurry significantly
reduced runoff P from runoff boxes compared to the slurry control.
However, the DRP concentration in runoff remained at or above the
DRP concentration in runoff from soil only, indicating that,
although incidental losses can be mitigated by chemical amendment, chronic losses cannot be reduced. Future research must
examine the effect of amendments on P loss to runoff at field-scale
under real-life conditions with conditions which laboratory testing
cannot mimic, such as the presence of drainage, flow dynamics and
a watertable. Other research which must also be carried out
includes the effect of amendments on leachate, gaseous emissions
and plant available P.
The use of amendments also incurs the extra cost of purchasing
amendments. O’Flynn et al. (2012) estimated that the cost of
spreading amended slurry at the stoichiometric rates used in this
study would be 3.33, 2.45, and 3.69 V m3 for alum, FeCl3, and PAC,
respectively. This would be in comparison to 1.56 V m3 to spread
unamended slurry.
Increased regulation of pig slurry management will accentuate
the problem of chronic P losses. A possible solution, unexamined in
the present study, would be to modify the soil with a P sorbing
material.
The first author gratefully acknowledges the award of the
EMBARK scholarship from IRCSET to support this study. The
authors would like to thank Dr. Raymond Brennan and Liam Henry.
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Smith, D.R., Moore Jr., P.A., Griffis, C.L., Daniel, T.C., Edwards, D.R., Boothe, D.L., 2001.
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manure. J. Environ. Qual. 30, 992e998.
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phosphorus runoff from swine manure with dietary phytase and aluminum
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Appendix D
Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20:6019–6027
DOI 10.1007/s11356-013-1630-0
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Chemical amendment of pig slurry: control of runoff related
risks due to episodic rainfall events up to 48 h after application
Cornelius J. O’ Flynn & Mark G. Healy & Paul Wilson &
Nyncke J. Hoekstra & Shane M. Troy & Owen Fenton
Received: 9 January 2013 / Accepted: 11 March 2013 / Published online: 26 March 2013
# Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013
Abstract Losses of phosphorus (P) from soil and slurry
during episodic rainfall events can contribute to eutrophication of surface water. However, chemical amendments have
the potential to decrease P and suspended solids (SS) losses
from land application of slurry. Current legislation attempts
to avoid losses to a water body by prohibiting slurry spreading when heavy rainfall is forecast within 48 h. Therefore, in
some climatic regions, slurry spreading opportunities may
be limited. The current study examined the impact of three
time intervals (TIs; 12, 24 and 48 h) between pig slurry
application and simulated rainfall with an intensity of
11.0±0.59 mm h−1. Intact grassed soil samples, 1 m long,
0.225 m wide and 0.05 m deep, were placed in runoff boxes
and pig slurry or amended pig slurry was applied to the soil
surface. The amendments examined were: (1) commercialgrade liquid alum (8 % Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al/
total phosphorus (TP)], (2) commercial-grade liquid ferric
chloride (38 % FeCl3) applied at a rate of 0.89:1 [Fe/TP]
and (3) commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminium chloride
(10 % Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al/TP]. Results
showed that an increased TI between slurry application and
Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues
C. J. O’ Flynn : M. G. Healy (*)
Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway,
County Galway, Ireland
e-mail: [email protected]
N. J. Hoekstra : O. Fenton
Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle,
County Wexford, Ireland
P. Wilson
School of Technology, University of Wolverhampton,
Wolverhampton, UK
S. M. Troy
Scottish Rural College, Roslin Institute Building Edinburgh, UK
rainfall led to decreased P and SS losses in runoff, confirming
that the prohibition of land-spreading slurry if heavy rain is
forecast in the next 48 h is justified. Averaged over the three
TIs, the addition of amendment reduced all types of P losses to
concentrations significantly different (p<0.05) to those from
unamended slurry, with no significant difference between
treatments. Losses from amended slurry with a TI of 12 h
were less than from unamended slurry with a TI of 48 h,
indicating that chemical amendment of slurry may be more
effective at ameliorating P loss in runoff than current TI-based
legislation. Due to the high cost of amendments, their incorporation into existing management practices can only be
justified on a targeted basis where inherent soil characteristics
deem their usage suitable to receive amended slurry.
Keywords Pig slurry . Runoff . P sorbing amendments .
Nitrates Directive . Water Framework Directive . Phosphorus .
Suspended solids
Introduction
During episodic rainfall events, phosphorus (P) and reactive
nitrogen (Nr) fluxes from critical (soil) and incidental (e.g.
slurry or fertiliser application) sources can contribute to
anthropogenic eutrophication of surface water (Preedy et
al. 2001; Kleinman et al. 2006; Wall et al. 2011). European
Union (EU) legislation attempts to optimise nutrient use on
agricultural land and to avoid losses to water bodies. The
Nitrates Directive (OJEC 1991; Monteney 2001) has been
ratified into national legislation in Ireland and limits the
magnitude, timing and placement of inorganic and organic
fertiliser applications (Jordan et al. 2012). Specifically, it
stipulates a mandatory closed period for slurry spreading
during winter. Slurry application is limited on soils with a high
soil test P (e.g. Morgan’s P>8 mg L−1), thereby restricting the
6020
Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20:6019–6027
available land for application (Nolan et al. 2012). Additionally, slurry spreading is prohibited when heavy rainfall is forecast within 48 h of application. Therefore, slurry spreading
opportunities may be limited, especially in wet years or in
areas where soil trafficability is limited due to wet or saturated
soil conditions.
Even though there is very clear evidence that P losses in
runoff are reduced with increasing time interval (TI) between slurry application and the occurrence of a rainfallrunoff event (Daverede et al. 2004; Hart et al. 2004), most
studies have investigated the effect of cumulative rainfall
events. Only a few studies have looked at the effect of the TI
between slurry application and the first rainfall event
(Sharpley 1997; Smith et al. 2007; Allen and Mallarino
2008). Moreover, none of these studies assessed a range of
TIs shorter than 48 h, which is the limit set by Irish and UK
regulations. Assessing the risk of runoff at TIs within these
48 h is highly relevant, as the occurrence of heavy rain can
often not be ruled out in the highly unpredictable North
Atlantic climate (McDonald et al. 2007; Creamer et al.
2010). In addition, this would provide evidence that a 48 h
limit does not unnecessarily restrict the opportunity of
farmers to apply slurry. To our best knowledge, there are
no studies that address the validity of adhering to a 48-h dry
period between application and the first heavy rainfall event,
apart from work by Serrenho et al. (2012), who found that
adherence to a minimum TI of 48 h between application of
dairy soiled water and rainfall was prudent to reduce incidental P losses in runoff. Investigating the development of P
losses during first rainfall events within 48 h after application can shed more light on the validity and effectiveness of
this measure.
Measures to effectively control agricultural P transfer
from soil to water include chemical amendment of slurry.
Alum, aluminium chloride (AlCl3), lime and ferric chloride
(FeCl3) have been shown to significantly reduce P losses in
surface runoff arising from the land application of dairy
cattle slurry (Brennan et al. 2011, 2012), dairy soiled water
(Serrenho et al. 2012), poultry litter (Moore et al. 1999,
2000) and pig slurry (Dao 1999; Dou et al. 2003; Smith et
al. 2001, 2004; O’ Flynn et al. 2012a, b). In particular, O’
Flynn et al. (2012b) showed that the runoff losses from
amended pig slurry 48 h after application could be reduced
to levels similar to the soil-only treatment. This warrants the
effort of assessing the effectiveness of these additives at TIs of
less than 48 h between application and first rainfall event.
Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect
of TI (12, 24 and 48 h) between pig slurry application and first
rainfall event on the losses of P and suspended solids (SS) in
runoff, and to assess the efficacy of adding chemical amendments in reducing losses at these three TIs.
Materials and methods
Slurry collection and characterisation
Pig slurry was taken from an integrated pig unit in Teagasc
Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland in
April 2012. The sampling point was a valve on an outflow
pipe between two holding tanks, which were sequentially
placed after a holding tank under slats on which no bedding
materials were used. To ensure a representative sample, this
valve was turned on and left to run for a few minutes before
taking a sample. The slurry was stored inside a cold-room
fridge at 10 °C prior to testing. Total P (TP) and total
nitrogen (TN) were determined using persulfate digestion.
Ammonium–N (NH4+–N) was determined by adding 50 ml
of slurry to 1 L of 0.1 M HCl, shaking for 30 min at
200 rpm, filtering through no. 2 Whatman filter paper, and
analysing using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo
Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Slurry pH was determined
using a pH probe (WTW, Germany). Dry matter content was
determined by drying at 105 °C for 24 h. The physical and
chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and characteristic values of pig slurry from other
farms in Ireland are presented in Table 1.
Pig slurry amendment
Amendments for the present study were chosen based on
effectiveness of P sequestration and feasibility criteria (cost
Table 1 Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in
Ireland
TP (mg L−1)
TN (mg L−1)
482±37
800
1,630
900±7
3,850±20
4,200
6,621
4,600±21
TK (mg L−1)
2,666
2,600±10
TP total P, TN total N, TK total K, DM dry matter
a
Values changed to mg L−1 assuming densities of 1 kg L−1
NH4+–N (mg L−1)
pH (mg L−1)
DM (%)
Reference
2,250±72
7.37±0.07
3.22±0.15
The present study
S.I. No. 610 of 2010
McCutcheon (1997)a
O’Bric (1991)a
5.77
3.2±2.3
–
–
16.72a
16.91b
13.68a
–
–
150
250
280
–
–
73
63
64
a
c
b
b
b
15.98
377.60
101.30
139.94
135.68
–
–
61
67
57
0.35 a
5.78 c
2.27 b
1.88 b
2.49 b
Spreading rate of Al
Spreading rate of Fe
b
a
Means in a column, which do not share a letter, were significantly different (p<0.05)
–
–
54
61
48
0.14 a
3.85 c
1.78 b
1.48 b
2.01 b
–
–
74
80
75
a
c
b
b
b
0.21
1.94
0.49
0.40
0.48
–
–
53
69
56
0.11 a
0.60 c
0.28 b
0.19 b
0.26 b
The following treatments were examined within 21 days of
sample collection: (1) a grassed sod-only treatment with no
slurry applied, (2) a grassed sod with unamended slurry (the
slurry control) applied at a rate of 19 kg TP ha−1 and (3)
grassed sods receiving amended slurry applied at a rate of
19 kg TP ha−1. Three replications of each treatment were
subject to rainfall at a TI between application and rainfall of
either 12 (TI 1), 24 (TI 2) or 48 h (TI 3).
Stainless steel laboratory runoff boxes, constructed by a
steel fabricator, 1 m long, 0.225 m wide and 0.075 m deep,
with side walls of 0.025 m higher than the grassed sods,
–
–
84
84
84
Rainfall simulation study
0.10 a
1.34 b
0.21 a
0.21 a
0.22 a
Intact grassed soil samples 1.2 m long, 0.3 m wide, 0.1 m
deep (n= 45) were collected from permanent grassland,
which had not received fertiliser applications for more than
10 years, in Galway City, Ireland (53°16′N, −9°02′E). Samples were cut out of the ground with a spade and, to avoid
cracking, placed carefully on 1.5 m long, 0.5 m wide timber
boards. Between collection and use, soil samples were
stored externally to prevent drying. Soil samples (n=3),
taken from the upper 0.1 m from the same location, were
oven dried at 40 °C for 72 h, crushed to pass a 2 mm sieve
and analysed for Morgan’s P (the national test used for the
determination of plant available P in Ireland) using Morgan’s
extracting solution (Morgan 1941). Soil pH (n=3) was determined using a pH probe and a 2:1 ratio of deionised water to
soil. The particle size distribution was determined using a
sieving and pipette method (British Standards Institution
1990) and the organic content of the soil was determined
using the loss on ignition test (British Standards Institution
1990b). The soil used was a well-drained, sandy loam
textured, acid brown earth (WRB classification: Cambisol)
(58 % sand, 29 % silt, 14 % clay) with a soil test P of 2.8±
0.5 mg L−1, making it a P index 1 soil according to The
European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2010 (hereafter referred to
as S.I. No. 610 of 2010); total potassium of 203 mg L−1, a pH
of 6.4±0.3 and an organic matter content of 5±2 %.
Soil only
Slurry only
Alum
FeCl3
PAC
Soil collection and analysis
Removal DUP
Removal TDP
Removal (%) PP (mg L−1) Removal (%) TP (mg L−1) Removal (%) SS (mg L−1) Removal (%) Costs (€ Metals
DRP
(mg L−1) (%)
(mg L−1)
tonne−1) (kg ha−1)
(mg L−1) (%)
and potential for metals release to the environment; Table 2)
as determined by O’ Flynn et al. (2012a, b). The amendment
rates, which were applied on a stoichiometric basis were: (1)
commercial grade liquid alum (8 % Al2O3) applied at a rate
of 0.88:1 [Al/TP], (2) commercial-grade liquid ferric chloride (38 % FeCl3) applied at a rate of 0.89:1 [Fe/TP] and (3)
commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminium chloride (PAC;
10 % Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al/TP]. The
compositions of the amendments used are the same as those
used in O’ Flynn et al. (2012a, b).
6021
Table 2 Flow-weighted mean concentrations (in milligrams per liter) averaged over three time intervals, application costs per tonne, metal application rate (in kilogram per hectare), and removals
(in percent) for dissolved reactive P (DRP), dissolved un-reactive P (DUP), total dissolved P (TDP), particulate P (PP), total P (TP) and suspended solids (SS)
Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20:6019–6027
6022
were used in this experiment. The runoff boxes were
positioned under a rainfall simulator. The rainfall simulator consisted of a single 1/4HH-SS14SQW nozzle
(Spraying Systems Co., Wheaton, IL, USA) attached to
a 4.5 m high metal frame, and calibrated to achieve an
intensity of 11.0±0.59 mm h−1 and a droplet impact energy of
260 kJ mm−1 ha−1 at 85 % uniformity after Regan et al.
(2010). The source for the water used in the rainfall simulations had a dissolved reactive P (DRP) concentration of less
than 0.005 mg L−1, a pH of 7.7±0.2 and an electrical conductivity of 0.44 dS m−1. Each runoff box had 5 mm diameter
drainage holes, spaced at distances of 0.3 m centre to centre,
positioned in a line and spanning the length of the base, after
Regan et al. (2010). Muslin cloth was placed at the base of
each runoff box before packing the sods to prevent soil loss.
Immediately prior to the start of each experiment, the sods
were trimmed and packed in the runoff boxes. To prevent
cracking, sods were first trimmed into two 0.5 m lengths and
then placed in the runoff box. Each sod was then butted
against its adjacent sod to form a continuous surface. Molten
candle wax was used to seal any gaps between the soil and the
sides of the runoff box, while the joints between adjacent soil
samples did not require molten wax. The packed sods were
then saturated using a rotating disc, variable–intensity rainfall
simulator (after Williams et al. 1997), and left to drain for
24 h by opening the 5 mm diameter drainage holes before
continuing with the experiment. At this point, when the
soil was at approximately field capacity, slurry and
amended slurry were spread on the packed sods and the
drainage holes were sealed. They remained sealed for the
duration of the experiment. At t=12, 24 or 48 h, the sods
were subjected to a rainfall event, and each event lasted
for a duration of 30 min after runoff began. Different sods
were used for each rainfall event. Surface runoff samples
were collected in 5 min intervals over the 30 min period
and in the time period subsequent to the when the rainfall
simulator was turned off, until no further runoff samples
were available.
Runoff water samples were tested for pH. A subsample
was passed through a 0.45 μm filter and analysed colorimetrically for DRP using a nutrient analyser (Konelab 20,
Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Filtered (passed
through a 0.45 μm filter) and unfiltered subsamples, collected at 10, 20 and 30 min after runoff began and any
subsequent runoff once rainfall ceased, underwent acid
persulfate digestion and were analysed colorimetrically for
total dissolved P (TDP) and TP using a nutrient analyser
(Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). Particulate phosphorus (PP) was calculated by subtracting
TDP from TP. Dissolved unreactive P was calculated by
subtracting DRP from TDP. Suspended solids were tested
by vacuum filtration of a well-mixed (previously unfiltered)
subsample through Whatman GF/C (pore size, 1.2 μm)
Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20:6019–6027
filter paper. Prior to filtration, the filter paper was weighed.
After filtration, the filter paper was dried at 105 °C for 24 h
and reweighed.
Statistical analysis
The data was analysed in R (version 2.15.1, 32 bit) and IBM
SPSS 20 using analysis of variance implemented via a
general linear model. There were five levels of treatment
(soil-only, slurry-only (the study control), and slurry treated
with alum, PAC and FeCl3) and three levels of the time
factor (12, 24 and 48 h). Diagnostic plots indicated that a
logarithmic transformation of the response variable was
desirable when analysing the effects of the predictor variables on the flow weighted mean concentrations (FWMCs,
calculated by dividing the total load over a rainfall event by
the total flow) of DRP, dissolved unreactive P, TDP, PP and
TP, if the normal distributional assumptions of the analysis
were to be met. No transformation was performed for the
analysis of SS. Probability values of p>0.05 were deemed
not to be significant.
Results
Phosphorus in runoff
The FWMC of P in runoff from the soil-only treatment
showed no statistically significant differences between TIs,
with average TP and TDP FWMCs of 0.35 and 0.21 mg L−1
(corresponding to loads of 2.48 and 1.49 mg m−2), respectively (Fig. 1, Table 2). At all TIs, P losses of all forms
increased significantly (p<0.05) with slurry application
compared with the soil only treatment (Fig. 1). The increase
in losses was particularly high for PP, and averaged over the
three TIs, the PP in runoff from the soil-only contributed
40 % of the TP (Table 2) compared to 67 % of the runoff
from slurry only. For the slurry-only treatment, losses of P
in runoff significantly (p<0.05) decreased with increasing
TI between application and rainfall. The FWMC of TP
and TDP decreased from 8.2 and 3.4 mg L−1 (corresponding to loads of 45.7 and 18.9 mg m−2), respectively, at
TI 1 to 3.6 and 1.1 mg L−1 (23.5 and 7.5 mg m−2) at
TI 3 (Fig. 1).
In general, the addition of chemical amendment significantly (p<0.05) reduced concentrations of all forms of P lost
in runoff at each TI to below the lowest losses from slurry
only, i.e. at a TI of 48 h (Fig. 1). However, with the
exception of DRP, all forms of P losses in runoff from
amended slurry were significantly (p<0.05) different to
those from soil-only (Table 2). There were generally no
significant differences between amendments for P losses in
runoff. Time interval had no significant effect on P losses
Fig. 1 Histogram of flowweighted mean concentrations
(in milligram per liter) for
dissolved reactive phosphorus
(DRP), dissolved un-reactive
phosphorus (DUP) and
particulate phosphorus (PP) in
runoff at time intervals of 12,
24 and 48 h after land
application of pig slurry
6023
Flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) for TP in runoff
Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20:6019–6027
from amended slurry. There was no evidence of any significant interaction between time and treatment type.
Discussion
Phosphorus in runoff from soil-only
Suspended solids and pH in runoff
Loses of SS in runoff from soil only did not change significantly with TI, with FWMCs of 15.5, 16.9 and 15.6 mg L−1
(corresponding to loads of 134, 116 and 118 mg m−2) after
TIs 1, 2 and 3, respectively (Fig. 2). Application of slurry
increased SS losses significantly (p<0.001) to levels over 30
times that of soil only at TI 1 (482 mg L−1 or 2780 mg m−2).
Similar to the trends observed in P losses for the slurry-only
treatment, losses of SS in runoff decreased with increasing
TI between slurry application and rainfall, with statistically
significant differences (p<0.05) between each TI. Similar to
the P observations, losses of SS in runoff from amended
slurry at all TIs were less than the lowest losses from
unamended slurry at TI 3 (p<0.05). Whilst diagnostic plots
were not entirely satisfactory for SS, all results were
extremely clear-cut and there can be no doubt concerning
the significance, or otherwise, of the results reported. The
variable pH proved to be insignificant in all cases.
The soil used in the present study was P deficient (P index
1), which would not normally be expected to pose a danger
of P losses to the environment (Schulte et al. 2010) as such a
soil requires additional nutrients to build up soil P reserves.
Phosphorus concentrations in runoff from the soil only
treatment were often above the Irish surface water regulation
of 0.035 mg reactive P L−1 (European Communities Environmental Objectives 2009, S.I. No. 272), but overall loads
were small and therefore any deleterious effects to a greater
scale cannot be inferred. In the field, rainfall would typically
be less intense, and the soil would have the capacity for
vertical drainage. As a result, the experiment replicated a
worst-case scenario in terms of potential P loss from this
soil. Therefore, while P losses from the runoff boxes may be
used to compare the effects of chemical amendments and TI,
they are not an accurate measure of P loss concentration or
load to a surface water body that might be expected at field
scale.
Fig. 2 Histogram of average
flow-weighted mean
concentration of suspended
solids (SS) (milligram per liter)
in runoff at time intervals of 12,
24, and 48 h after land
application of pig slurry
Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20:6019–6027
Flow-weighted mean concentrations (mg L-1) for SS in runoff
6024
Phosphorus in runoff from unamended slurry
The effect of slurry amendment on P losses
Decreased losses of P in runoff with increasing TI between application and rainfall have also been found in
previous research—but at TIs significantly greater than
those examined in the present study. In a plot study, Smith
et al. (2007) spread pig slurry at 35 kg P ha−1 and found
that at 30 min rainfall events, each with an intensity of
100 mm h−1, DRP concentrations in runoff reduced from
8.4 mg DRP L−1 at a TI of 1 day to 2.6 mg DRP L−1 at a
TI of 29 days. Allen and Mallarino (2008) spread pig
slurry in a plot study at varying rates up to 108 kg P ha−1
and found that during 30-min rainfall events, each with an
intensity of 76 mm h−1, DRP and TP loads in runoff were
3.8 and 1.6 times lower at a TI of 10–16 days than at a
TI of less than 24 h. The trend of an initial peak followed
by a gradual reduction may be due to the interaction of
the applied P and the conversion from soluble to increasingly recalcitrant forms over time (Edwards and Daniel
1993). The current study indicates that this process already
starts within 24 h after application, and confirms that
the prohibition of the land-spreading of slurry, if heavy
rain is forecast in the next 48 h (S.I. No. 610 of 2010),
is justified.
The extra PP lost in runoff from unamended slurry,
associated with sediment and organic material in agricultural runoff, may provide a variable, but long-term, source
of P in lakes (Sharpley et al. 1992), and as it is generally
bound to the minerals (particularly iron (Fe), Al, and
calcium (Ca)) and organic compounds contained in soil,
it constitutes a long-term P reserve of low bioavailability
(Regan et al. 2010).
The addition of amendment resulted in reduced P losses in
runoff compared to unamended slurry, with losses reduced
at each TI to below the lowest losses from slurry only. There
appeared to be little difference in runoff losses of P between
the different amendments (Table 2). Higher losses in runoff
from amended slurry than soil only is because chemical
amendment of slurry will only reduce the incidental P losses
to the environment, but will not reduce chronic (long term)
P losses from the soil. In a field-based study, Smith et al.
(2004) found that AlCl3, added at 0.75 % of final slurry
volume to slurry from pigs on a phytase-amended diet,
could reduce runoff DRP by 73 %. In another field-based
study, Smith et al. (2001) found that alum and AlCl3, added
at a stoichiometric ratio of 0.5:1 Al/TP to pig slurry,
achieved reductions of 33 and 45 %, respectively, in runoff
water, and reductions of 84 % in runoff water when adding
both alum and AlCl3 at 1:1 Al/TP.
Investigation of chemical amendment effectiveness on
two soils using identical amendments, spreading rate and
TI (Table 3) produced varied results due to differing soil
characteristics. Both soils were of a similar texture but have
different levels of soil organic carbon. Even though the
current study was conducted on a P index 1 soil and had a
lower chronic TP loss than measured by O’ Flynn et al.
(2012b), incidental losses from slurry were higher, but not
significantly so. Additionally, the effectiveness of the
amendments (PAC, in particular) was much lower than
reported by O’ Flynn et al. (2012b; Table 3). This may be
explained by differences in soil characteristics between the
two experiments: the soil used by O’ Flynn et al. (2012b)
Environ Sci Pollut Res (2013) 20:6019–6027
Table 3 Comparison of flowweighted mean concentrations
(milligram per liter) of TP in
runoff from two different soils
with identical amendments,
spreading rates and TIs
Runoff results are from rainfall
events at TIs of 48 h, which
occurred in both studies
6025
Soil 1
Soil 2
Study
Soil texture
Organic matter (%)
Soil organic carbon (%)
Soil pH
Parent material
P index
Morgan’s P (mg L−1)
Current study
Sandy loam
5±2
2.8
6.4±0.3
Granite
1
2.8±0.5
O’ Flynn et al. (2012b)
Sandy loam
13±0.1
7.4
7.65±0.06
Limestone
4
16.72±3.58
Runoff results
Soil only
Slurry only
PAC
Alum
FeCl3
TP (mg L−1)
0.36
3.65
2.77
2.08
2.17
had a higher buffering capacity (i.e. more binding sites to retain
added P) than that of the current study, due to differences in soil
composition, including pH and organic matter. This reduction
in effectiveness may also be the cause for little difference in P
losses between the different amendments (Table 2). The effectiveness of slurry amendments is hence soil specific and should
therefore be examined in future studies.
Based on the results from this study, runoff from amended
slurry will have reduced P losses regardless of TI between
landspreading and the occurrence of rainfall, indicating that
chemical amendment may be more effective in reducing P
losses than the current TI-based legislation.
Suspended solids and pH in runoff
As is the case with P, the reduction of SS was also related to
the flocculating properties of the amendments. As well as
removing PP from suspension, they also aid in adhesion of
slurry particles, making them less prone to loss in runoff
(Brennan et al. 2011). Apart from soil only, losses of SS in
runoff were all well above 35 mg L−1, the treatment standard
necessary for discharge to receiving waters (S.I. No 419 of
1994). However, whilst the results from this laboratory
study may be used to compare the effects of chemical
amendments and TI, they are not intended as a measure of
actual losses to surface water bodies at field-scale.
The effect of amendments on slurry pH is a potential
barrier to their implementation as it affects P sorbing ability
(Penn et al. 2011) and ammonia (NH3) emissions from
slurry (Lefcourt and Messinger 2001). However, the results
from this laboratory experiment, similar to previous studies
(Smith et al. 2004; O’ Flynn et al. 2012b), showed that there
was no effect on the pH of the runoff water due to the use of
amendments. However, further investigation would need to
Removal (%)
24
43
41
TP (mg L−1)
0.62
2.68
0.79
1.39
1.14
Removal (%)
71
48
57
be undertaken to confirm that pollution swapping (the increase in one pollutant as a result of a measure introduced to
reduce another pollutant (Healy et al. 2012)) does not occur.
Targeted use of amendments
Due to high costs involved (O’ Flynn et al. 2012a), use of
chemical amendments in slurry for land application can only be
justified on a targeted basis, in particular: (1) soils with high
mobilisation potential, soil test P and hydrological transfer
potential to surface water, i.e. a critical source area and (2) at
times when storage capacity becomes the critical factor, i.e.
towards the end of the open period when unpredictable weather
conditions would normally prohibit slurry spreading. In these
cases, the adoption of the use of chemical amendment of slurry
as part of a programme of measures would be justified. However, chemical amendments should only be used on soils that
have been extensively tested for suitability. The difference in
removals experienced in the current study and by O’ Flynn et
al. (2012b; Table 3) demonstrates the impact that soil type has
on the efficacy of chemical amendment of pig slurry. The future
uptake of such a mitigation strategy is dependent on the additional cost being considered a worthwhile expense, based on
weather conditions and regulatory constraints at the time. If
climatic conditions and legislation results in inadequate periods
during which to spread slurry, and exerts pressure on slurry
storage facilities, then chemical amendment may be seen as the
most cost-effective and feasible option.
Conclusions
The excessively high losses of P in runoff at TIs of less than
48 h after slurry application, combined with the strong
6026
decrease of P losses within this time frame, confirm that the
prohibition of land-spreading slurry if heavy rain is forecast
in the next 48 h (S.I. No. 610 of 2010) is justified. Chemical
amendment of pig slurry was effective at decreasing P and
SS losses from the slurry. Runoff P losses from amended
slurry were lower than from unamended slurry regardless of
TI between land application and the occurrence of rainfall,
indicating that chemical amendment may be more effective
at reducing P losses than current TI-based legislation. The
cumulative deposition of slurry over time, coupled with
unpredictable weather patterns, increases the need for
amendment, as leaching and overland flow are all possible
vectors for pollution. The tightening of environmental legislation or the rigorous enforcement of current Water Framework Directive (European Commission 2000) legislation
means that investment in P reduction will become justified.
Due to the high cost of amendments, their incorporation into
existing management practices can only be justified on a
targeted basis, in particular: (1) critical source areas and (2)
towards the end of the open period when unpredictable
weather conditions would normally prohibit slurry spreading. However, chemical amendments should only be used
on soils that are suitable. There is a pervading difficulty in
gaining acceptance for new technologies by farmers, and
so strategies such as those suggested by this study may
never be implemented at farm scale. Future work must be
carried out on the refinement of spreading lands within
critical source areas based on soil suitability to receive
amended slurry.
Chemical amendment has also been used for the poultry
and dairy industries, but may also have the potential to be
used in the treatment of wastes from other agricultural
industries and sludge from wastewater treatment. If chemical amendment becomes a more prevalent practice, then the
cost of employing it as a mitigation measure may decrease,
making it an even more attractive option. Although encouraging, the effectiveness of the amendments examined in this
study must be validated at field scale.
Acknowledgments The first author gratefully acknowledges the
award of the EMBARK scholarship from the Irish Research Council
to support this study. The authors would like to thank Dr. David Wall,
Malika Sidibe and Perinne Rutkowski.
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Appendix E
Journal of Environmental Management 128 (2013) 690e698
Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect
Journal of Environmental Management
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jenvman
Impact of chemically amended pig slurry on greenhouse
gas emissions, soil properties and leachate
Cornelius J. O’ Flynn a, Mark G. Healy a, *, Gary J. Lanigan b, Shane M. Troy c,
Cathal Somers b, Owen Fenton b
a
b
c
Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co., Galway, Ireland
Teagasc, Environmental Research Centre, Johnstown Castle, Co., Wexford, Ireland
Scottish Rural College, Roslin Institute Building, Edinburgh, UK
a r t i c l e i n f o
a b s t r a c t
Article history:
Received 12 April 2013
Received in revised form
11 June 2013
Accepted 17 June 2013
Available online
The effectiveness of chemical amendment of pig slurry to ameliorate phosphorus (P) losses in runoff is
well studied, but research mainly has concentrated only on the runoff pathway. The aims of this study
were to investigate changes to leachate nutrient losses, soil properties and greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions due to the chemical amendment of pig slurry spread at 19 kg total phosphorus (TP), 90 kg total
nitrogen (TN), and 180 kg total carbon (TC) ha1. The amendments examined were: (1) commercial grade
liquid alum (8% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al:TP], (2) commercial-grade liquid ferric chloride (38%
FeCl3) applied at a rate of 0.89:1 [Fe:TP] and (3) commercial-grade liquid poly-aluminium chloride (PAC)
(10% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.72:1 [Al:TP]. Columns filled with sieved soil were incubated for 8 mo at
10 C and were leached with 160 mL (19 mm) distilled water wk1. All amendments reduced the
Morgan’s phosphorus and water extractable P content of the soil to that of the soil-only treatment,
indicating that they have the ability to reduce P loss in leachate following slurry application. There were
no significant differences between treatments for nitrogen (N) or carbon (C) in leachate or soil, indicating
no deleterious impact on reactive N emissions or soil C cycling. Chemical amendment posed no significant change to GHG emissions from pig slurry, and in the cases of alum and PAC, reduced cumulative
N2O and CO2 losses. Chemical amendment of land applied pig slurry can reduce P in runoff without any
negative impact on nutrient leaching and GHG emissions. Future work must be conducted to ascertain if
more significant reductions in GHG emissions are possible with chemical amendments.
Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords:
Pig slurry
P sorbing amendments
Water framework directive
Nitrate
1. Introduction
The European Union Water Framework Directive (EU WFD)
(European Commission (EC), 2000) aims to achieve ‘at least’ good
ecological status for all water bodies, including rivers, lakes,
groundwater, estuaries and coastal waters, in all member states by
2015. To meet this objective, Programmes of Measures (POM) must
be implemented in all EU member states. In Ireland, POM are
enacted by the Nitrates Directive (European Economic Community,
1991), which, amongst other measures, limits the magnitude,
timing and placement of inorganic fertilizer and organic manure
applications to land.
In Ireland, as part of the National Action Programme (NAP) to
address the requirements of the EU WFD, the maximum amount
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ353 91 495364; fax: þ353 91 494507.
E-mail address: [email protected] (M.G. Healy).
0301-4797/$ e see front matter Ó 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2013.06.020
of livestock manure that may be spread on land, together with
manure deposited by the livestock, cannot exceed 170 kg
nitrogen (N) ha1 yr1 and 49 kg phosphorus (P) ha1 yr1. This
limit is dependent on grassland stocking rate and soil test
phosphorus (STP; based on plant available Morgan’s P (Pm)). Soil
P Index categories of 1 (deficient) to 4 (excessive) are used to
classify STP concentrations in Ireland (Schulte et al., 2010).
Phosphorus losses from P Index 4 soils have the potential to
become exported along the transfer continuum within a catchment, and may adversely affect surface and groundwater quality
(Wall et al., 2011). The amount by which these limits can be
exceeded will be reduced gradually to zero by January 1, 2017.
These new regulations will have an impact on the pig industry in
particular, as it is focused in relatively small areas of Ireland, and
will, in effect, reduce the amount of land available for the
application of pig slurry. This may lead to the need for pig slurry
export, which is energetically questionable at distances over
50 km (Fealy and Schroder, 2008).
C.J. O’ Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 128 (2013) 690e698
Landspreading is currently the most cost effective treatment
option for pig slurry in Ireland (Nolan et al., 2012). Due to the high
concentrations of pig farming in certain areas, in the midlands and
south of the country especially, the constant application of pig
slurry results in certain fields (those nearest the farm or the most
suitable areas for spreading (Wall et al., 2011)) becoming high in
STP, which may take years-to-decades to be reduced to agronomically optimum levels (Schulte et al., 2010).
When applications of pig slurry are followed by rainfall events,
incidental (short-term), diffuse transfers of P and N may occur in
runoff. Losses of both P and N may also occur through leaching,
which ultimately could have adverse consequences for water
bodies (McDowell and Sharpley, 2001; Fenton et al., 2011;
Sophocleous, 2011). Karstified aquifers, which are overlain by
free-draining soils, are particularly susceptible to groundwater
pollution, as they have less attenuation potential than surface
runoff pathways and there is a high potential for macropore flow of
dissolved and particulate forms of P (Kramers et al., 2012). In
Ireland, karstified limestone covers approximately 20% of the area
of the country (Daly, 2005), and much pig farming is conducted in
karst-covered areas.
Chemical amendment of pig slurry has been shown to be an
effective means of reducing surface runoff of P and suspended
sediment (SS) by numerous researchers (Smith et al., 2001, 2004;
Dou et al., 2003), but as yet, the role pig slurry amendments have
to play in controlling leached losses has not been investigated.
O’Flynn et al. (2012a,b) examined the effectiveness and feasibility of
different chemical amendments, added to pig slurry, in reducing P,
SS and metal concentrations in a series of laboratory studies,
conducted first at bench scale (O’Flynn et al., 2012a) and then using
a laboratory rainfall simulator (O’Flynn et al., 2012b). In the latter
study, O’Flynn et al. (2012b), found additions of alum, ferric chloride (FeCl3) and poly-aluminium chloride (PAC) reduced total
phosphorus (TP) and SS losses in surface runoff, without posing a
significant risk of metal losses.
Although there has been much work done on the chemical
amendment of surface applied pig slurry, there is an absence of work
investigating any potential negative impact that this may have on N
and carbon (C) losses and on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Brennan et al. (2012) found in a plot study that chemical amendment
of dairy cattle slurry with PAC reduced ammonium-N (NHþ
4 -N)
runoff losses, but alum and lime led to increased NHþ
4 -N losses. All
amendments reduced P losses in runoff, but had no effect on nitrate
(NO
3 -N) runoff losses. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) (2007) estimates that agricultural activities,
including land application of animal manures, account for about 20%
of the anthropogenic global warming budget, with emissions principally comprised of methane (CH4) from enteric fermentation and
manure management and nitrous oxide (N2O) from N application to
soils. The EU 2020 Climate and Energy Package and its associated
Effort-Sharing Decision (Decision No 406/2009/EC; EC, 2009) envisages reducing GHG emissions by 20% by 2020 across the whole of
the EU. Whilst previous work has investigated the impact of chemical amendments to pig slurry to reduce P in runoff (O’Flynn et al.,
691
2012a,b), no study has investigated the impact of chemical amendment of pig slurry on GHG emissions.
Therefore, the aims of this laboratory study were to investigate if
chemical amendment of pig slurry: (1) reduced leached losses of N,
P and C from a low P index soil, (2) resulted in changes to soil
properties at different time intervals during the study period and
(3) led to a reduction in GHG emissions over 28 d from the time of
application.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Slurry collection and characterisation
Pig slurry was taken from an integrated pig unit in Teagasc
Research Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Rep. of Ireland in
September 2011. The sampling point was a valve on an outflow pipe
between two holding tanks, which were sequentially placed after a
holding tank under the slats on which no bedding materials were
used. To ensure a representative sample, this valve was turned on
and left to run for a few minutes before taking a sample. The slurry
was stored in a 25-L drum inside a cold-room fridge at 10 C prior to
testing. The TP and total nitrogen (TN) were determined using
persulfate digestion. Ammonium-N was determined by adding
50 mL of slurry to 1 L of 0.1 M HCl, shaking for 30 min at 200 rpm,
filtering through No. 2 Whatman filter paper, and analysing using a
nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems,
Finland). Total carbon was measured using a nutrient analyser
(Biotector, BioTector Analytical Systems Ltd, Ireland). Slurry pH was
determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany). Dry matter (DM)
content was determined by drying at 105 C for 24 h. The physical
and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in
Ireland are presented in Table 1.
2.2. Pig slurry amendment
Amendments for the present study were chosen based on
effectiveness of P sequestration and feasibility criterion (cost and
potential environmental impediments) determined by O’Flynn
et al. (2012a,b). The amendment rates, which were applied on a
stoichiometric basis, were: (1) commercial grade liquid alum
(8% Al2O3) applied at a rate of 0.88:1 [Al:TP], (2) commercial-grade
liquid ferric chloride (38% FeCl3) applied at a rate of 0.89:1 [Fe:TP],
and (3) commercial-grade liquid PAC (10% Al2O3) applied at a rate of
0.72:1 [Al:TP]. Amendments were added to slurry in a 100-mL
plastic cup and mixed for 10 s. The compositions of the amendments used are shown in Table 2.
2.3. Soil collection and analysis
A sample of the plough layer (top 0.2 m) of an acid brown earth
soil was collected from a tillage farm in Fermoy, Co. Cork, Republic
of Ireland. The site is typical of a free draining soil, underlain by a
karstified limestone aquifer. Tillage soil was chosen, as this type of
Table 1
Physical and chemical characteristics of the pig slurry used in this experiment and characteristic values of pig slurry from other farms in Ireland.
TP (mg L1)
TN (mg L1)
TC (mg L1)
1
NHþ
4 -N (mg L )
pH
DM (%)
Reference
620 32
800
1630
900 7
2940 156
4200
6621
4600 21
5860 80
1739 8
7.51 0.08
3.02 0.24
The present study
S.I. No. 610 of 2010
McCutcheon, 1997,a
O’Bric, 1991,a
TP, total P; TN, total N; TK, total K; DM, dry matter.
a
Values changed to mg L1 assuming densities of 1 kg L1.
5.77
3.2 2.3
692
C.J. O’ Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 128 (2013) 690e698
Table 2
Characterisation of amendments used in this study (O’Flynn et al., 2012a,b).
Amendment
pH
WEP
Al
Fe
As
Cd
Cr
Cu
Mn
Ni
Pb
Sb
Se
Hg
mg
%
%
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
mg
kg1
kg1
kg1
kg1
kg1
kg1
kg1
kg1
kg1
kg1
kg1
Alum
Ferric chloride
PAC
8% Al2O3
1.25
0
4.23
<0.01
1
0.21
2.1
38% FeCl3
10% Al2O3
1.0e3.0
1.4
2.8
38
<2.8
<3.4
<48
<65
<1370
<48
<14
<2.8
<2.8
<0.7
S0 ¼ kd C S0
<1.0
<0.2
<2.0
(2)
0
<1.0
<2.0
<1.0
<1.0
<0.2
soil is often of a lower P index and is more suitable for the landspreading of pig manure. The soil was air-dried, sieved (<2 mm)
and thoroughly mixed. Soil samples (n ¼ 3) were oven dried at
40 C for 72 h, crushed to pass a 2 mm sieve and analysed for
Morgan’s P (Pm, the national test used for the determination of
plant available P in Ireland) using Morgan’s extracting solution
(Morgan, 1941). Soil total carbon (TC) and TN were determined by
high temperature combustion using a LECO Truspec CN analyser
(LECO Corporation, St. Joseph, MI, USA). Soil pH (n ¼ 3) was
determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany) and a 2:1 ratio of
deionised water-to-soil. The STP of the sample used in the column
and batch experiments was 3.21 0.29 mg L1 (making it a P index
2 soil according to S.I. No. 610 of 2010), total potassium (TK) of
41.8 3.00 mg L1, TC of 1.84 0.05%, TN of 0.19 0.00%, C:N ratio
of 9.87 0.22, a pH of 6.26 0.13, an organic matter (OM) content
of 4.68 0.14%. A low range STP tillage soil was chosen for this
experiment to avoid the risk of background P from a high range STP
soil ‘masking’ the effect of each treatment. A low range STP tillage
soil was also chosen as present and future regulations will have the
effect of making this type of land more preferable for pig slurry
spreading in the future.
The particle size distribution was determined using a sieving
and pipette method (B.S.1377-2; British Standards Institution (BSI),
1990a) and the organic content of the soil was determined using
the loss on ignition (LOI) test (B.S.1377-3; BSI, 1990b). The unstructured soil in the column and batch experiments consisted of
57% sand, 29% silt and 14% clay, giving it a sandy loam texture.
During any interaction with chemically amended slurry, the
background soil P adsorption rate must also be considered and can
be assessed in a batch experiment following the procedure outlined
by Fenton et al. (2009). Ortho-phosphorus (PO3
4 -P) solutions
(90 mL), synthesised using dissolved potassium phosphate
(KH2PO4) in distilled water, ranging in concentration from 4.1 to
28.9 mg P L1, were added to 5 g samples of soil and shaken for 24 h
using an end-over-end shaker. Samples were passed through
0.45-mm syringe filters prior to being analysed colourimetrically for
dissolved reactive phosphorus (DRP) using a nutrient analyser
(Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland). A Langmuir
isotherm was used to estimate the mass of P adsorbed per mass of
the soil (McBride, 2000):
C
1
Ce
.e ¼
þ
ab
b
x m
(g kg1), a is a constant related to the binding strength of molecules
onto the soil, and b is the maximum adsorption capacity of the soil
(g kg1). In conjunction with the P adsorption capacity of the soil,
the equilibrium P concentration of the soil (EPC0) (i.e. the point
where no net desorption or sorption occurs) was derived using
(Olsen and Watanabe, 1957):
(1)
where Ce is the concentration of P in solution at equilibrium
(mg L1), x/m is the mass of P adsorbed per unit dry weight of soil
where S is the mass of P adsorbed from slurry (mg kg1), C is the
final P concentration of the solution, kd is the slope of the rela0
tionship between S and C, and S0 is the amount of P originally
sorbed to the soil (mg L1). The mass of P adsorbed per unit dry
weight of soil was 0.224 g P kg1 and the soil’s EPC0 was
0.513 mg L1.
Soil water holding capacity (WHC) was determined according to
Cassel and Nielsen (1986). Soil was placed on a funnel whose sides
were covered with Whatman no. 2 filter paper, and distilled water
was added to the soil until it became completely saturated.
Saturated soil was weighed, oven-dried overnight at 105 C, and
weighed again.
Water-filled pore space, which can impact on rates of denitrification in soil, was estimated in accordance with Haney and Haney
(2010):
WFPS ¼
WC*rb
n
(3)
where rb is bulk density and n is total porosity (mineral density was
taken as 2.65 g cm3). Mineral N in soil (NHþ
4 -N, NO3 -N and nitriteN (NO
-N))
was
determined
at
0,
7
and
28
d
after
land
application
2
of pig slurry by adding 20 g of soil to 2 M KCl, shaking for 1 h,
filtering through No. 2 Whatman filter paper, and testing using a
nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems,
Finland). Extra soil columns (n ¼ 3 for each treatment) were set up
to allow sampling after 7 d for soil mineral N.
2.4. Experimental columns
The experiment was conducted in 0.3-m-deep and
0.104-m-internal diameter columns with a perforated stop-end
inserted at the base to ensure that the soil remained free draining. A 0.05-m layer of gravel, with a grain size of 5e10 mm, was
placed at the base of each column. Sieved soil (<2 mm), previously
mixed with distilled water to achieve a water content (WC) of 26%
(to replicate the average in situ field condition of the soil), was
placed in 0.05 m-deep increments in each column, so as the average
dry bulk density was approximately 1.1 g cm3 (equivalent to field
conditions) and the total depth of soil was 0.2 m. At each depth
increment, soil was pressed along the wall of the column to avoid
preferential flow (Bhupinder Singh, pers. comm.).
The following treatments were examined: (1) soil only with no
slurry applied, (2) soil with unamended slurry applied (the study
control) and (3) soil receiving amended slurry. Slurry was spread at
19 kg TP, 90 kg TN, and 180 kg TC ha1. Columns were stored in a
controlled environment for 8 mo at 10 C at 75% humidity, based on
typical climatic conditions in Ireland (Walsh, 2012). All columns
received 160 mL of distilled water wk1, applied twice weekly in
two 80 mL increments over 2 h. This is equivalent to 980 mm of
rainfall yr1, or 19 mm wk1, which would be in the mid-range of
average annual rainfall amounts in Ireland (Walsh, 2012). This
application rate remained constant for the duration of the study;
however, actual rainfall rates will vary considerably over the course
of a year. Drainage water leachate was collected in plastic
C.J. O’ Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 128 (2013) 690e698
containers via funnels positioned under the perforated stop-end of
each column.
2.5. Leachate collection and analysis
The leachate from each column was composited and sampled
weekly. Upon collection, samples were weighed and a subsample
was passed through a 0.45-mm filter and analysed colourimetrically
þ
for DRP, NO
2 , NH4 and total oxidized nitrogen (TON) using a
nutrient analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems,
Finland). Nitrate was calculated by subtracting NO
2 from TON.
Filtered and unfiltered subsamples were tested for total dissolved
phosphorus (TDP) and TP using acid persulfate digestion. Particulate phosphorus (PP) was calculated by subtracting TDP from TP.
Dissolved un-reactive phosphorus (DUP) was calculated by
subtracting DRP from TDP. Total nitrogen, total organic carbon
(TOC) and total inorganic carbon (TIC) were measured using a
nutrient analyser (Biotector, BioTector Analytical Systems Ltd,
Ireland). Total carbon was calculated by adding TIC and TOC.
Leachate pH was determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany).
This addressed the first aim of the study.
2.6. Destructive soil sampling
Soil columns were destructed after 1, 2, 3, 6 and 8 mo (n ¼ 3 for
each treatment, at each time period) and tested for WC, OM, pH,
water extractable P (WEP), Pm, TN and TC. Before analyses,
each column was divided into 3 layers (0e0.05 m, 0.05e0.1 m, and
0.1e0.2 m from the surface). Organic matter content of the soil was
determined using the LOI test (B.S.1377-3; BSI, 1990b). Soil pH was
determined using a pH probe (WTW, Germany) and a 2:1 ratio of
deionised water-to-soil. Water extractable P was measured by
shaking 5 g of soil in 25 mL of distilled water for 30 min, filtering
through a 0.45-mm syringe filter, prior to being analysed colourimetrically for DRP (McDowell and Sharpley, 2001) using a nutrient
analyser (Konelab 20, Thermo Clinical Labsystems, Finland).
Morgan’s P was determined using Morgan’s extracting solution
(Morgan, 1941). Soil TC and TN were determined for the middle
layer only in each column (0.05e0.1-m-depth) by high temperature
combustion using a LECO Truspec CN analyser (LECO Corporation,
St. Joseph, MI, USA). This addressed the second aim of the study.
693
detector temperature was 350 C. Argon (BOC Gases, Ireland),
flowing at 35 mL min1, was used as a carrier gas. Samples were fed
into the system by a Combi-Pal automatic sampler (CTC Analysis,
Switzerland) controlled by computer software. Two-thirds of the
injected sample was split to the ECD and one-third to the TCD and
FID in series. This allowed the simultaneous measurement of all
three gases from the one sample. Areas under the peaks were
integrated using Star Chromatography Workstation (Varian, USA).
Fluxes were calculated from the change in headspace concentration
over measured period using:
dGas
V
*p*100*MW
1
*10x * chamber
*10y *
dt
R*T
A
(4)
where dGas is measured in ppm or ppb to get concentration at a
certain point in time or ppm h1 or ppb h1 to get the change in
concentration over time; 10x is a recalculation (106 if starting from
ppm or 109 if starting from ppb); Vchamber is the volume of the
chamber used; p is atmospheric pressure; MW is the molecular
weight either of N or N2O, depending of which compound in which
the emissions are expressed; R is a gas constant, 8314 J mol1 K1;
T is temperature in K; 10y is a recalculation (103 if the results are
expressed in mg or 106 if in mg); and A is the area of the chamber.
The fluxes were then converted into mg m2 d1. Mean daily
emissions rates were calculated for each replicate by interpolation
of values in between the measurement days using arithmetic
means (Velthof and Oenema, 1995; Flechard et al., 2007). This
addressed the third aim of the study.
2.8. Statistical analysis
The data was analysed in SPSS 20 (IBM, 2011) using a general
linear model. Mean values of: WC; OM; soil P, N and C species; soil
pH; leachate P, N and C species; leachate pH; and GHGs were
analysed in a multivariate Tukey analysis when soil-only, slurryonly (the study control), and slurry treated with alum, PAC and
FeCl3 were applied. Data met the normal distributional assumptions required. Probability values of p > 0.05 were deemed not to be
significant.
3. Results
2.7. Greenhouse gas emissions
3.1. Water content, organic matter and soil pH
Direct GHG emissions (N2O, carbon dioxide (CO2) and CH4) were
analysed over a 28-d period in accordance with Troy et al. (2013).
Samples were taken on the day of slurry application (day 1) and
subsequently on days 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 19, 23 and 28. The
tops of the PVC columns were sealed using a rubber stopper. A
sample of the air in the headspace above the columns was taken
through a rubber septum using a polypropylene syringe with a
hypodermic needle. The sample was immediately transferred into a
pre-evacuated 7-mL screw cap septum vial. Samples were taken at
0, 5, 10 and 20 min after the sealing of columns with a rubber
stopper. After this period, the rubber stopper was removed. Nitrous
oxide, CO2 and CH4 concentrations were analysed using a gas
chromatograph (Varian CP 3800 GC, Varian, USA) fitted with a 63Ni
electron capture detector (ECD) for N2O analysis, a thermal
conductivity detector (TCD) for CO2 analysis and a flame ionization
detector (FID) for CH4 analysis. During the analysis, 0.7 mL of a subsample from each vial was drawn and injected first into a magnesium perchlorite (14e22 mesh) packed pre-column to remove any
moisture, followed by a 3-m-long, 3-mm-outside diameter stainless steel column packed with Poropak Q (80/100 mesh). The
column oven and injector temperature were both 60 C and the
The WHC of the soil was found to equate to a WC of 53%. In
general, there were no significant differences observed in WC
between treatments, apart from at 1 mo in the top soil layer, where
the soil-only treatment had a WC of 30.33 0.24% (data not
shown). Comparatively, at the same time, slurry-only, alum, FeCl3
and PAC treatments had WCs of 31.76 0.44%, 32.45 0.35%,
31.89 0.78%, and 32.13 0.39%. Water contents increased with
depth: WCs in the top soil layer were generally between 30 and
33%, between 31 and 34% in the middle layer, and between 35 and
38% in the bottom layer. These equated to water-filled pore space
(WFPS) values of between 56 and 62% in the top layer, between 58
and 64% in the middle layer, and between 65 and 72% in the bottom
layer. Organic matter (generally between 4.3 and 4.7%) and soil pH
(between 6 and 6.5) were not significantly affected by treatment,
depth or time.
3.2. Nitrogen leachate and soil properties
There were no statistically significant differences between
treatments for TN in soil (Table 3). No significant differences
between treatments were observed for the N in leachate water,
C.J. O’ Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 128 (2013) 690e698
Treatment
1
0e50
50e100
100e200
0e50
50e100
100e200
0e50
50e100
100e200
0e50
50e100
100e200
0e50
50e100
100e200
3.53a
3.69a
3.53a
3.84a
4.02a
4.14a
3.19a
3.14a
3.35a
2.69a
3.22a
3.51a
2.17a
2.44a
2.66a
7.79c
3.80a
3.99a
6.12b
4.03a
4.31a
6.28c
3.17a
3.55a
4.60c
3.41a
3.67a
3.42c
2.39ab
3.14a
4.19ab
3.75a
3.79a
4.41a
3.85a
3.88a
4.22b
3.50a
3.71a
3.44ab
3.21a
3.65a
2.63ab
2.67ab
3.01a
4.64b
3.69a
3.95a
4.61a
3.80a
3.86a
4.55b
3.60a
3.78a
4.18bc
3.62a
3.61a
3.00bc
2.95ab
3.38a
4.40ab
3.68a
3.84a
4.52a
3.99a
4.08a
4.28b
3.39a
3.67a
3.52ab
3.10a
3.28a
3.38c
3.16b
3.66a
0e50
50e100
100e200
0e50
50e100
100e200
0e50
50e100
100e200
0e50
50e100
100e200
0e50
50e100
100e200
0.54a
0.56a
0.64a
0.51a
0.49a
0.50a
0.62a
0.65a
0.64a
0.54a
0.54a
0.49a
0.58a
0.58a
0.55a
1.13b
0.58a
0.56a
0.99b
0.47a
0.46ab
1.06b
0.66a
0.70a
0.87b
0.55a
0.51a
0.79b
0.62a
0.61a
0.49a
0.54a
0.57a
0.57a
0.49a
0.39b
0.69a
0.61a
0.65a
0.60a
0.50a
0.47a
0.55a
0.55a
0.58a
0.57a
0.58a
0.60a
0.57a
0.45a
0.43ab
0.71a
0.67a
0.63a
0.63a
0.52a
0.47a
0.56a
0.53a
0.57a
0.59a
0.57a
0.54a
0.55a
0.50a
0.45ab
0.73a
0.62a
0.62a
0.52a
0.49a
0.44a
0.62ab
0.57a
0.56a
1
2
3
6
8
50e100
50e100
50e100
50e100
50e100
1.70a
1.78a
1.72a
1.81a
1.75a
1.73a
1.73a
1.73a
1.78a
1.73a
1.86a
1.77a
1.74a
1.74a
1.73a
1.69a
1.76a
1.84a
1.79a
1.79a
1.74a
1.68a
1.68a
1.66a
1.75a
1
2
3
6
8
50e100
50e100
50e100
50e100
50e100
0.18a
0.18a
0.18a
0.19a
0.19a
0.18a
0.18a
0.18a
0.19a
0.19a
0.20a
0.18a
0.18a
0.18a
0.18a
0.19a
0.19a
0.19a
0.18a
0.18a
0.19a
0.18a
0.18a
0.18a
0.18a
1
2
3
6
8
50e100
50e100
50e100
50e100
50e100
9.53a
9.73a
9.54a
9.38a
9.31a
9.39a
9.89a
9.61a
9.43a
9.35a
9.32a
9.69a
9.51a
9.78a
9.79a
9.07a
9.41a
9.80a
9.78a
10.04a
9.30a
9.30a
9.39a
9.32a
9.76a
2
3
6
8
WEP (mg kg1) 1
2
3
6
8
TC (%)
TN (%)
C:N ratio
Soil only Slurry Alum
FeCl3
PAC
abc
Means in a row, which do not share a superscript, were significantly different
(p < 0.05).
which mainly comprised NO
3 . The amount of NO3 leached
increased rapidly until wk 2, before it reduced gradually thereafter
(Fig. 1c). Approximately 95% of TN leached from the columns over
the duration of the studies was in the form of NO
3 , with roughly
þ
0.2% in the form of NO
2 and 0.3% in the form of NH4 . The C:N ratio
for all treatments at all destructive periods was between 9 and 10
(Table 3). Nitrite loads peaked between wks 10 and 26 (Fig. 1b).
At all times, mineral N in soil comprised less than 2% of soil TN.
Seven days after application, soil NHþ
4 was observed to be highest
1
for the alum and FeCl3 treatments (83.7 and 79.3 g NHþ
soil,
4 -N kg
respectively). This compared with values of 44.0 and 48.9 g NHþ
4N kg1 soil for soil-only and slurry-only, respectively.
3.3. Nitrous oxide emissions
Nitrous oxide emissions from the soil-only treatment remained
fairly constant throughout the 28-d study (Fig. 2a), with cumulative
emissions of 22 8 mg N2O-N m2. Application of pig slurry led to
0.10
Ammonium(mg)
Morgan’s
P (mg L1)
Month Depth
(mm)
a)
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0.00
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
Week
b)
0.05
Nitrite (mg)
Table 3
Average soil phosphorus, nitrogen and carbon contents by sampling time and depth.
0.04
0.03
0.02
0.01
0.00
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
20
25
30
35
Week
c)
25
20
Nitrate (mg )
694
15
10
5
0
0
5
10
15
Week
Fig. 1. Average weekly loads of ammonium a), nitrite b) and nitrate c) leached column1 (standard deviation).
an increased cumulative release of N2O. Cumulative emissions
across all N-applied treatments were high, ranging approximately
from 60 to 200 mg N2O-N m2. The highest cumulative losses of
188 86 mg N2O-N m2 were observed for FeCl3-amended slurry
and this was the only treatment statistically significantly different
(p ¼ 0.008) to soil-only, but was not statistically significantly
different to any other treatment. Cumulative emissions from all
treatments remained relatively constant between 4 and 7 d after
application of slurry, at which point they increased more rapidly,
although not significantly, and continued to rise until the end of the
study. However, N2O losses from FeCl3-amended slurry were at all
times greater than all other treatments. Alum and PAC-amended
slurries both had less, but not statistically significantly different,
N2O losses than unamended slurry, but more than soil-only.
3.4. Phosphorus leachate and soil properties
There were no significant differences in the quantity of P
leached between treatments, with the majority of TP made up of
TDP for all treatments. Particulate phosphorus comprised approximately 30% of the TP load in all cases.
In general, there were no significant differences in levels of Pm
and WEP between treatments in the bottom two soil layers
(Table 3). However, in the top soil layer, application of unamended
slurry resulted in increased Pm and WEP, which were significantly
different (p < 0.05) to the soil-only columns at all destructive periods (Table 3). Levels of Pm and WEP in the top soil layer were both
C.J. O’ Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 128 (2013) 690e698
Fig. 2. Cumulative gaseous emissions of N2O-N a) CO2-C b) and CH4-C c) from columns
at each sampling period (standard deviation).
reduced by the application of amended slurry to levels not significantly different to soil-only columns (Table 3).
3.5. Carbon leachate
The average cumulative amount of TOC and TIC leached is
shown in Fig. 3a. The average TC leached from the soil-only
columns was 217.3 mg. This increased to 253 mg from columns
with unamended slurry, with reduced amounts of TC leached from
columns treated with amended slurry. However, there were no
statistically significant differences for TC loads between treatments.
There was an increase in loads of TC leached from wk 1 to wk 2
(Fig. 3b); however, this was due to lower leachate volumes during
wk 1 than wk 2, rather than any changes in concentration. The loads
of TC leached then decreased after wk 2 until the end of the study,
during which time there was no significant change in flows.
3.6. Carbon emissions
Emissions of CO2 followed a similar trend to N2O emissions
(Fig. 2b). The soil-only treatment had the lowest emissions, with
cumulative losses of 36 4 g CO2-C m2. Losses increased upon
application of slurry, but were only statistically significantly
different (p ¼ 0.008) in the case of FeCl3-amended slurry, which
had cumulative losses of 106 23 g CO2-C m2. However, this was
not statistically significantly different to any other unamended or
amended slurry treatment. Alum and PAC-amended slurries had
695
Fig. 3. Cumulative loads of total organic carbon (TOC) and total inorganic carbon (TIC)
leached over the duration of the experiment a) and weekly loads of total carbon
leached from columns b) (standard deviation).
less, but not statistically significant different, losses than
unamended slurry. Methane losses were highly variable (Fig. 2c),
but no treatment had significantly higher losses than the soil-only
treatment. After 5 days, all treatments either gained or lost CH4,
with FeCl3-amended slurry acting overall as a net sink with
cumulative losses of 13 7 mg CH4-C m2, whilst PAC-amended
slurry had cumulative losses of 13 6 mg CH4-C m2.
4. Discussion
4.1. Nitrogen leachate and soil properties
Denitrification is the mainly microbial reduction of NO
3 -N to
the gaseous products nitric oxide (NO), N2O, or inert di-nitrogen
(N2). Some studies have shown that the highest rates of denitrification occur in the upper soil horizon (Kustermann et al., 2010;
Jahangir et al., 2012), the extent of which depends on WC and
WFPS. Soil WC can impact on many different soil processes such as
mineralization, leaching, plant uptake and denitrification
(Porporato et al., 2003).
The early peak in NO
3 loss may be due to the drying and
re-wetting during column construction, which could have caused a
surge in microbial activity and C and N mineralisation (Van Gestel
et al., 1991; Bengtsson et al., 2003). This may also have led to an
early peak in leachate NHþ
4 (Fig. 1a). Once rewetting was complete,
WFPS levels were between 65 and 72% in the bottom layer. At WFPS
levels of over 60%, denitrification may take place, releasing nitrogen
696
C.J. O’ Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 128 (2013) 690e698
gas (N2) and N2O into the atmosphere (Porporato et al., 2003).
Aerobic microbial activity and nitrification is also reduced in these
anaerobic conditions where denitrification is facilitated (Porporato
þ
et al., 2003; Rivett et al., 2008). The fractions of NO
2 , NO3 and NH4
in the leachate would seem to indicate that almost complete
nitrification occurred, and also led to the drop in NO
3 levels after
wk 2. This hypothesis was also supported by the C:N ratios present
(Table 3). Soil with C:N ratios below 20 can be characterised as
having a surplus of available NHþ
4 for nitrification (Bengtsson et al.,
2003). The peak in NO
2 between wks 10 and 26 may have been due
to a delay in reduction of NO
2 during denitrification down to the
preference of denitrifiers for NO
3 , even when both are present
(Rivett et al., 2008).
High NHþ
3 volatilization may occur after land application of pig
slurry, with over 60% of total losses occurring in the first 10 h after
application (Gordon et al., 2001; Rochette et al., 2001). It would
appear in the current study that a large amount of volatilization
occurred from both amended and unamended slurry treatments
with little unvolatilised inorganic N remaining, which is in agreement with previous studies (Morvan et al., 1997; Hoekstra et al.,
2010, 2011). Indeed, these rates of volatilization may represent a
loss of 50e80% of total ammoniacal nitrogen from landspread
slurry over a 10-d period (Misselbrook et al., 2005a,b; Meade et al.,
2011). The slurry organic fraction was undetectable in leachate or
soil (Table 3) due to the large background amounts of soil inorganic
N, which was a result of the occurrence of mineralization. Unlike
the present study, which found no significant difference between
NO
3 losses from columns with and without slurry spread on them,
Daudén et al. (2004) found that drainage NO
3 concentrations and
loads consistently increased with increasing amount of N applied
when landspreading pig slurry and mineral fertiliser between 275
and 1487.5 kg N ha1. However, the spreading rate used by Daudén
et al. (2004) was much higher than in the present study
(90 kg N ha1), and in that study, pig slurry was incorporated into
soil to minimise volatilization losses.
4.3. Phosphorus leachate and soil properties
Unlike previous runoff studies (O’Flynn et al., 2012b), in which
spreading of pig slurry led to a large increase in all types of P in
runoff compared to runoff from soil-only, there were no significant
differences in the quantity of P leached between treatments. The
fraction of TP load made up of TDP was less when compared to
O’Flynn et al. (2012b), who found PP in runoff comprised, on
average, 45% of TP. This is in agreement with McDowell et al.
(2004), who found that more TP was lost as PP in overland than
subsurface flow due to the higher kinetic energy and erosive power
of high-frequency storms. Loss of P in subsurface flow is generally
less than that in runoff, and will decrease as the degree of soile
water contact increases, due to sorption by P-deficient subsoils
(Haygarth et al., 1998; McDowell et al., 2004). Although a soil with a
low Pm (3.21 0.29 mg L1) was used in this experiment, its high
adsorption capacity for P (0.224 g P kg1) and low EPC0
(0.513 mg L1) facilitated adsorption of P during leaching.
The same amendments and application rates as used in the
present study were also used by O’Flynn et al. (2012a), who achieved
reductions of between 95 and 99% in the WEP of slurry. Dao (1999)
amended stockpiled cattle manure with caliche, alum and flyash in
an incubation experiment, and reported WEP reductions in amended manure, compared to the study control, of 21, 60 and 85%,
respectively. Similarly, in a study that examined the effect of soil P
level in a silt loam soil which was incubated at 25 C, Kalbasi and
Karthikeyan (2004) reported that applications of alum and FeCl3amended slurry to soil decreased soil WEP. In the present study, due
to the regular application of 160 mL water wk1, which led to the
downward leaching of P from the slurry, both Pm and WEP levels in
the columns spread with unamended slurry reduced to levels closer,
but still significantly different (p < 0.05), to soil-only and amended
slurry columns. This P was adsorbed by the soil’s high adsorption
capacity for P, but was not detected by WEP or Pm analysis.
4.4. Carbon leachate and emissions
4.2. Nitrous oxide emissions
The increased cumulative release of N2O after slurry application
was as expected (Velthof et al., 2003). The cumulative N2O emissions
across all N-applied treatments represented a loss of between 1%
and 3% of applied total ammoniacal N for a 28-d period. This was a
higher emission factor than the IPCC default emission factor of 1%
(IPCC, 2006). Generally, higher emission factors would not be associated with free-draining soil such as the one used in this study
(Abdalla et al., 2009; Rafique et al., 2011). However, emission factors
associated with slurry application have previously been observed to
be higher than the default values and this may be related to the
simultaneous application of a labile C source, which increases microbial activity (Dendooven et al., 1998; Sherlock et al., 2002).
Nitrous oxide is produced by both nitrification and denitrification
(Chadwick et al., 2011), and can be influenced by oxygen availability,
soil WC, soil temperature, soil NO
3 and organic carbon content
(Section 4.4) (Velthof et al., 2003). The drying and rewetting of the
soil during construction provided conditions which facilitated C and
N mineralisation and denitrification, would also have facilitated N2O
release to the atmosphere (Porporato et al., 2003).
The increase in N2O emissions associated with FeCl3 addition
may be explained as a result of ammonia volatilisation abatement.
The difference in soil NHþ
4 levels between treatments 7 d after
application was due to a reduction in volatilisation, possibly
resulting from a reduction in slurry pH upon amendment addition.
Previous work has observed that volatilisation may be reduced
upon FeCl3 addition, principally due to a reduction in slurry pH
(Molloy and Tunney, 1983).
The decrease in loads of TC leached after wk 2 may have been
due to the increased mineralization of C and N, which may have
been the cause of increased losses of CO2 to the atmosphere. This
loss of CO2 to the atmosphere may also be the reason that there
were statistically no significant differences between treatments for
TC in soil (Table 3). In addition, organic carbon can act as an
electron donor to facilitate the occurrence of denitrification when
anaerobic conditions are present (Rivett et al., 2008).
The addition of manure slurries to soil has been shown to cause
an increase in microbial activity and CO2 emissions (Bol et al., 2004;
Dumale et al., 2009; Cayuela et al., 2010). The increased CO2 losses
from unamended or amended slurry treatments were in agreement
with the hypothesis that these losses were the cause for no
statistically significant differences between slurry treatments for
TC in soil (Table 3).
After land application, CH4 emissions are generally of minor
importance compared to N2O emissions (Wulf et al., 2002a,b), as
CH4 emissions from enteric fermentation and during slurry storage
are much more important (Chadwick et al., 2000). This is due to
CH4 being produced by decomposition of OM in faecal matter under
anaerobic conditions. After landspreading, OM is oxidised to CO2
and H2O in the aerobic conditions present. Mineral grassland soils
are known to generally be a CH4 sink, due to either oxidation of CH4
to CO2 in soils or incorporation into microbial biomass, with uptake
rates ranging from 0.5 to 3.3 mg CH4 m2 d1 (Mosier et al., 1991;
Dobbie et al., 1996; Saggar et al., 2008). The results from the present
study show that no additional risk to CH4 emissions is posed by the
chemical amendment of pig slurry.
C.J. O’ Flynn et al. / Journal of Environmental Management 128 (2013) 690e698
4.5. Outlook for use of chemical amendment as a mitigation
measure
Increased intensification of pig farming activities, along with
legislation reducing the amount of land onto which pig farmers
may apply slurry, has meant that the pig industry is under
increasing pressure to reconcile production and water quality objectives. Land application of pig slurry is currently the most costefficient method for its disposal. In Ireland, the pig industry is
concentrated in a small number of areas, with typically high
stocking rates. Therefore, the disposal of slurry in a cost-effective
and environmentally responsible way is a serious issue for farmers.
This study demonstrates that amendments previously selected
on the basis of ability to reduce runoff P (O’Flynn et al., 2012a,b),
may be used without posing a negative impact on leachate, soil
properties, and GHG emissions.
Based on the results of the current study and also previous work
by the authors comparing cost (O’Flynn et al., 2012a) and surface
runoff losses (O’Flynn et al., 2012b), PAC appears to be the most
suitable amendment with which to chemically amend pig slurry.
Ferric chloride resulted in increased N2O and CO2 losses, whereas
alum and PAC resulted in reduced, but not significantly different,
losses to slurry-only. Poly-aluminium chloride performed best in
overall removal of runoff P and SS (O’Flynn et al., 2012b). There was
little difference between leachate losses and soil effects from alum
and PAC-amended slurry, although this study only included one soil
type. The current study used a low STP soil so as to avoid the risk of
background P from a high range STP soil ‘masking’ the effect of each
treatment. However, future work must examine a wide variety of
soil types, including high STP soils. These amendments must also be
examined at field-scale, and include repeated application and
incorporation. Costs were comparable (O’Flynn et al., 2012a), with
estimated costs of amending and spreading amended slurry of
V3.33 and V3.69 m3 for alum and PAC, respectively, in comparison
to V1.56 m3 to spread unamended slurry.
In the current study, reductions were not adequate to satisfy the
EU 2020 Climate and Energy Package of reducing GHG emissions by
20% across the whole of the EU by 2020. It has however, been
shown that some reductions are possible, and future work must be
carried out to identify if more significant reductions in GHG
emissions is possible at different application rates.
At present, there is no provision in legislation for chemical
amendments to be used as a mitigation measure in the land
application of pig slurry, but if they are to be utilised, a regulatory
framework will need to be introduced by the relevant bodies.
5. Conclusions
Chemical amendment of land applied pig slurry can reduce P in
runoff without any negative impact on nutrient leaching. Furthermore, there were no significant differences between treatments for
N and C in leachate or soil, indicating no deleterious impact on
reactive N emissions or soil C cycling. Chemical amendment posed
no significant change to GHG emissions from pig slurry, and in the
cases of alum and PAC, reduced cumulative N2O and CO2 losses.
Moreover, increased N2O emissions associated with FeCl3 addition
were likely to be due to a reduction in ammonia volatilisation, a
theory supported by an increase in soil NHþ
4 concentrations.
Acknowledgements
The first author gratefully acknowledges the award of the
EMBARK scholarship from the Irish Research Council to support
this study. The authors would like to thank Dr. Raymond Brennan,
Dr. John Regan and Swann Lamarche.
697
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