CSBE-SCGAB

Nitrate and chloride in groundwater under a beef feedlot in southern Alberta

Authors: Kohn, J., M. Iwanyshyn, L. Miedema, B. Olson, A. Kalischuk
Description: A long-term study was initiated in 2010 at a beef feedlot (5000-head) in southern Alberta to investigate the effects of the feedlot on groundwater quality. The study area included residences, pens, feed storage areas and catch basins, all that were constructed prior to current legislative standards. Land-use adjacent to the feedlot consisted of cropland. Evaluation methods included monitoring water levels, groundwater sampling and chemical analysis, trend analysis, and modelling of groundwater flow. Groundwater samples were collected from 13 monitoring wells from 2010 to 2014. The wells were distributed outside the feedlot pens but within or adjacent to the feedlot area. Samples were analyzed for nitrate-nitrogen (NO3-N) and chloride (Cl). The mean depth to the water table ranged from 0.93 to 2.30 metres below ground surface among the wells. Average concentrations of NO3-N in wells ranged from less than the detection limit (0.05 mg/L) to 156 mg/L, with an overall average concentration of 44 mg/L. Average concentrations of Cl in wells ranged from less than the detection limit (5 mg/L) to 642 mg/L, with an overall average concentration of 167 mg/L. High NO3-N and Cl concentrations in the shallow water-table wells suggested potential contamination from manure, while the deeper piezometers (9.5 to 20 mbgs) showed no evidence of manure contamination, having low NO3-N and Cl concentrations. Temporal analysis of changes in concentrations showed no significant trends for NO3-N and Cl in the majority of the wells (70%), suggesting that concentrations are not expected to change with time under current management practices.
Keywords: groundwater quality, feedlot, cattle
Technical field: Soil and Water Systems Engineering
Conference name: CSBE/SCGAB 2015 Annual Conference, Edmonton, AB, 5-8 July 2015.
Session name: Water Management I - Agricultural Applications
Citation: Kohn, J., M. Iwanyshyn, L. Miedema, B. Olson, A. Kalischuk. 2015. Nitrate and chloride in groundwater under a beef feedlot in southern Alberta CSBE/SCGAB 2015 Annual Conference, Edmonton, AB, 5-8 July 2015.
Publisher: Canadian Society for Bioengineering
Date: 2015-07-05
Publication type:
  • Technical conference
Type: Text.Article
Identifier: CSBE15039
Coverage: Canada
Language 1: en
Rights: Canadian Society for Bioengineering

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