Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Phosphorus Leaching Potential from Compost Amendments in a Carbonatic Soil.

Stewart Reed1, Dilip Shinde2, Kenichiro Konomi1, Krishnaswamy Jayachandran3, Peter Nkedi-Kizza4, and Mohammed Savabi1. (1) USDA-ARS, 13601 Old Cutler Rd, Miami, FL 33189-3388, (2) Everglades & Dry Tortugas National Parks, South Florida Ecosystem Office, 950 N Krome Ave 3rd Floor #31, Miami, FL -33030-4443, (3) Dept of Environmental Studies, Miami, FL 33199, (4) University of Florida, Dept. Soil & Water Science, 2169 McCarty Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0151

Composts are applied to carbonatic soils in south Florida to improve their physical characteristics and increase water retention. Blends of biosolids and municipal waste are often combined to increase the nutrient content of the compost. However, the high P content of some compost has led to concerns about the potential for P movement into shallow ground water. Studies were conducted to determine the potential for P leaching in soil amended with municipal solid waste and biosolids (Bio), clean organic waste (COW) and Bedminster (Bed) composts. Bed was the most suitable of the composts used in terms of a lower potential for P leaching as a result of enhanced P sorption in the amended soil. Each compost-amended soil demonstrated a slight decrease in P leaching at 1 pore volume (PV) after simulated rainfall (21 cm). Pore volume was defined as the total volume in a column less the volume of solids. The high P content of the composts made it unlikely that additions of these materials to soil would improve P sorption capacity. However, Bed and COW did not significantly increase P leaching above that of the soil. Caution should be exercised when applying these composts since materials themselves contain an enormous amount of phosphorus that could be eventually transported into the groundwater.

Handout (.pdf format, 346.0 kb)