A study was undertaken on drained and undrained 1 ha grassland lysimeters to assess the effectiveness of multiple novel tracing techniques in understanding how agricultural slurry waste moves from land to water. Artificial fluorescent particles designed to mimic the size and density of organic slurry particles were found to move off the grassland via inter-flow (surface + lateral through-flow) and drain-flow. Where both pathways were present the drains carried the greater number of particles. The results of the natural fluorescence and δ13C of water samples were inconclusive. Natural fluorescence was higher from slurry-amended lysimeters than from zero-slurry lysimeters, however, a fluorescence decay experiment suggested that no slurry signal should be present given the time between slurry application and the onset of drainage. The δ13C values of more than 0.7 µm and less than 0.7 µm material in drainage were varied and unrelated to discharge. The mean value of more than 0.7 µm δ13C in water from the drain-flow pathways was higher from the lysimeter which had received naturally enriched maize slurry compared to the lysimeter which received grass slurry indicating a contribution of slurry-derived material. Values of less than 0.7 µm δ13C from the same pathway, however, produced counter intuitive trends and may indicate that different fractions of the slurry have different δ13C values.
Bibliographical note© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2010
Granger, S. R., Bol, R., Dixon, L., Naden, P. S., Old, G. H., Marsh, J. K., Bilotta, G., Brazier, R. E., White, S. M., & Haygarth, P. M. (2010). Assessing multiple novel tracers to improve the understanding of the contribution of agricultural farm-waste to diffuse water pollution. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 12(5), 1159-1169. https://doi.org/10.1039/b915929k