Using livestock wastewater with SDI: a status report after three seasons

Lamm, Freddie R., author
Trooien, Todd P., author
Stone, Loyd R., author
Alam, Mahbub, author
Rogers, Danny H., author
Clark, Gary A., author
Schlegel, Alan J., author
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Using subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) with lagoon wastewater has many potential advantages. The challenge is to design and manage the SDI system to prevent emitter clogging. A study was initiated in 1998 to test the performance of five types of driplines (with emitter flow rates of 0.15, 0.24, 0.40, 0.60, and 0.92 gal/hr-emitter) with lagoon wastewater. A disk filter (200 mesh, with openings of 0.003 inches) was used and shock treatments of chlorine and acid were injected periodically. Over the course of three seasons (1998-2000) a total of approximately 52 inches of irrigation water has been applied through the SDI system. The flow rates of the two smallest emitter sizes, 0.15 gal/hr-emitter and 0.24 gal/hr-emitter have decreased approximately 30% during the three seasons, indicating some emitter clogging. The three largest driplines (0.40, 0.60, and 0.92 gal/hr-emitters) have had less than 5% reduction in flow rate. The disk filter and automatic backflush controller have performed adequately with the beef livestock wastewater in all three years. Based on these results, the use of SDI with beef lagoon wastewater shows promise. However, the smaller emitter sizes normally used with groundwater sources in western Kansas may be risky for use with lagoon wastewater and the long-term (> 3 growing seasons) effects are untested.
Presented at the Central Plains irrigation short course and exposition on February 5-6, 2001 at the Holiday Inn in Kearney, Nebraska.
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