Midwest Drainage Networks May Need Some Innovation

Posted in: United States Water News, Water technology
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Article courtesy of Laura Christianson | July 5th, 2016 | The Conversation | Shared as educational material.

Photo Credit: Eric Vance

Under Midwest farms, there are things known as tile drainage networks that channel excess water to rivers, lakes, and other water sources. These drainage systems are essential to farming as they help keep lands from being too water-logged. Thus, crop production and yield are increased. Unfortunately, there is a bad side to the drainage system. As the water leaves the farm, it collects nitrogen (found in fertilizers). This nitrogen can create problems for water sources, such as algal blooms, and hypoxic zones. In order to fight the issue, certain researchers have suggested using a combination of bacteria and wood chips. Studies have found that there are some bacteria that have the ability to act as natural filters. Also, with the addition of wood chips, a man-made filter, drainage networks may have a chance. Read more about it here.

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