Treatment of Agricultural Runoff Using Filter Strip

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2008: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Grant Recipient: Michigan State University
Region: North Central
State: Michigan
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Steve Safferman
Michigan State University

Annual Reports


  • Animal Products: dairy


  • Animal Production: manure management
  • Natural Resources/Environment: grass waterways
  • Soil Management: soil microbiology
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal abstract:

    Agricultural runoff poses potential for surface and groundwater contamination. Potential sources of nutrients and pollutants within agricultural runoff include animal waste, feed, bedding, pesticides, herbicides, additives, production byproducts and many of the other products (chemical and biological) used in agricultural settings. Wastewater application to vegetative treatment strips is common practice used throughout the country for treatment/removal. Filter strips provide treatment through plant uptake mechanisms, soil filtration, sediment removal (from vegetation and soil filtration) and biological activity associated with microbial digestion and degradation. Assessment of vegetative filter strip performance has focused on surface water load reductions achieved through wastewater infiltration. However, filter strips have not been assessed for fate of contaminates once the pollutants have infiltrated the soil subsurface. Assessment of surface and subsurface effluent will provide data to determine the water quality impact of vegetative filter strips to water resources.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Determine the pollutant removal of agricultural filter strips in typical environmental and farmstead conditions. Specific objectives include the following:
    • Assess the surface and subsurface water quality at two field sites.
    • Assess current practice standards in regards to operation and maintenance procedures.
    • Determine if agricultural filter strips are an effective agricultural treatment/management option as designed, with a particular emphasis on metal leaching into groundwater.
    • Determine treatment consistency throughout season and rainfall events.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.