Nixing nitrate flow from the farm
The results from this work were published in 2010 in a special issue of Ecological Engineering. In part because the benefits of using wood chip bioreactors for denitrification were so conclusive, Agriculture’s Clean Water Alliance—a group of leading farm retailers in west-central Iowa—and the Iowa Soybean Association, in partnership with Wisconsin-based Sand County Foundation, are now encouraging farmers to install the denitrification walls to help mitigate the nitrate pollution associated with regional agricultural production.
“This study helped us confirm that using wood chips to build denitrification walls will result in a significant level of denitrification in field leachate,” says Moorman. “We also understand much more about the different mechanics of denitrification itself, and now we have good numbers on how many denitrification bacteria live in wood and how long that wood can last in a trench under typical field conditions.”