Manure is increasingly being viewed as a threat to aquatic ecosystems due to the introduction of natural and synthetic hormones from land application to agricultural fields. In the Midwestern United States, where most agricultural fields are tile-drained, there is little known about hormone release from fields receiving animal wastes. To this end, seven sampling stations (four in subsurface tile drains and three in the receiving ditch network) were installed at a Midwest farm where various types of animal wastes (beef, dairy, and poultry lagoon effluent, dairy solids, and subsurface injection of swine manure) are applied to agricultural fields. Water flow was continuously monitored and samples were collected for hormone analysis during storm events and baseline flow for a 15 month study period. The compounds analyzed included the natural hormones 17α- and 17β-estradiol, estrone, estriol, testosterone, and androstenedione and the synthetic androgens 17α- and 17β-trenbolone and trendione. Hormones were detected in at least 64% of the samples collected at each station, with estrone being detected the most frequently and estriol the least. Testosterone and androstendione were detected more frequently than synthetic androgens, which were detected in fewer than 15% of samples. Hormone concentrations in subsurface tile drains increased during effluent irrigation and storm events. Hormones also appeared to persist over the winter, with increased concentrations coinciding with early thaws and snowmelt from fields amended with manure solids. The highest concentration of synthetic androgens (168 ng/L) observed coincided with a snowmelt. The highest concentrations of hormones in the ditch waters (87 ng/L for total estrogens and 52 ng/L for natural androgens) were observed in June, which coincides with the early life stage development period of many aquatic species in the Midwest.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry