Phosphorus transport in agricultural subsurface drainage: A review

Kevin W. King, Mark R. Williams, Merrin L. Macrae, Norman R. Fausey, Jane Frankenberger, Douglas R. Smith, Peter J.A. Kleinman, Larry C. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

158 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Phosphorus (P) loss from agricultural fields and watersheds has been an important water quality issue for decades because of the critical role P plays in eutrophication. Historically, most research has focused on P losses by surface runoff and erosion because subsurface P losses were often deemed to be negligible. Perceptions of subsurface P transport, however, have evolved, and considerable work has been conducted to better understand the magnitude and importance of subsurface P transport and to identify practices and treatments that decrease subsurface P loads to surface waters. The objectives of this paper were (i) to critically review research on P transport in subsurface drainage, (ii) to determine factors that control P losses, and (iii) to identify gaps in the current scientific understanding of the role of subsurface drainage in P transport. Factors that affect subsurface P transport are discussed within the framework of intensively drained agricultural settings. These factors include soil characteristics (e.g., preferential flow, P sorption capacity, and redox conditions), drainage design (e.g., tile spacing, tile depth, and the installation of surface inlets), prevailing conditions and management (e.g., soil-test P levels, tillage, cropping system, and the source, rate, placement, and timing of P application), and hydrologic and climatic variables (e.g., baseflow, event flow, and seasonal differences). Structural, treatment, and management approaches to mitigate subsurface P transport- such as practices that disconnect flow pathways between surface soils and tile drains, drainage water management, in-stream or end-of-tile treatments, and ditch design and management-are also discussed. The review concludes by identifying gaps in the current understanding of P transport in subsurface drains and suggesting areas where future research is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-485
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Environmental Quality
Volume44
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Fingerprint

Tile
Drainage
Phosphorus
drainage
phosphorus
Soils
tile drain
Eutrophication
preferential flow
soil test
redox conditions
Water management
drainage water
baseflow
Watersheds
Runoff
Surface waters
drain
tillage
Water quality

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Cite this

King, K. W., Williams, M. R., Macrae, M. L., Fausey, N. R., Frankenberger, J., Smith, D. R., ... Brown, L. C. (2015). Phosphorus transport in agricultural subsurface drainage: A review. Journal of Environmental Quality, 44(2), 467-485. https://doi.org/10.2134/jeq2014.04.0163
King, Kevin W. ; Williams, Mark R. ; Macrae, Merrin L. ; Fausey, Norman R. ; Frankenberger, Jane ; Smith, Douglas R. ; Kleinman, Peter J.A. ; Brown, Larry C. / Phosphorus transport in agricultural subsurface drainage : A review. In: Journal of Environmental Quality. 2015 ; Vol. 44, No. 2. pp. 467-485.
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King, KW, Williams, MR, Macrae, ML, Fausey, NR, Frankenberger, J, Smith, DR, Kleinman, PJA & Brown, LC 2015, 'Phosphorus transport in agricultural subsurface drainage: A review', Journal of Environmental Quality, vol. 44, no. 2, pp. 467-485. https://doi.org/10.2134/jeq2014.04.0163

Phosphorus transport in agricultural subsurface drainage : A review. / King, Kevin W.; Williams, Mark R.; Macrae, Merrin L.; Fausey, Norman R.; Frankenberger, Jane; Smith, Douglas R.; Kleinman, Peter J.A.; Brown, Larry C.

In: Journal of Environmental Quality, Vol. 44, No. 2, 01.01.2015, p. 467-485.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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King KW, Williams MR, Macrae ML, Fausey NR, Frankenberger J, Smith DR et al. Phosphorus transport in agricultural subsurface drainage: A review. Journal of Environmental Quality. 2015 Jan 1;44(2):467-485. https://doi.org/10.2134/jeq2014.04.0163