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Saturated buffers remove nitrates from tile drainage water


June 10, 2019
By South Dakota State University

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Photo Courtesy: newswise.com

Saturated buffers can provide a cost-effective means of removing nitrates from tile drainage water before it flows into adjacent creeks and streams. However, the site must meet specific guidelines.

In a saturated buffer, a control structure diverts flow from the drain tile outlet into a perforated distribution pipe that runs parallel to and at least 30 feet away from the waterway. “You want water to flow slowly through the vegetation strip so the plants and microbes have a chance to work,” explained assistant professor Rachel McDaniel of the South Dakota State University department of agricultural and biosystems engineering. In addition, the waterway into which the drainage flows should be less than 8 feet deep to help prevent bank failure. | READ MORE