Nitrate is a major agricultural pollutant found in drainage waters. Immature yard-waste compost was selected as a filter media to study its feasibility for removing nitrate from drainage water. Different operation parameters were tested to examine the denitrification efficiency, including the amounts of compost packed in columns, the flow rate, and the compost storage periods. The experimental results suggested that hydraulic retention time was the major factor to determine the extent of nitrate removal, although the amount of compost packed could also contribute to the nitrate removal efficiency. The effluent nitrate concentration increased as the flow rate decreased, and the compost column reduced nitrate concentrations from 20 mg/L to less than 5 mg/L within 1.5 h. The solution pH increased at the onset of experiment because of denitrification, but stabilized at a pH of about 7.8, suggesting that the compost had a buffering capacity to maintain a suitable pH for denitrification. Storing compost under air-dried conditions may diminish the extent nitrate removed initially, but the effects were not apparent after longer applications. It appeared that immature yard-waste compost may be a suitable material to remove nitrate from tile drainage water because of its relatively large organic carbon content, high microbial activity, and buffering capacity. ?? 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
The feasibility of applying immature yard-waste compost to remove nitrate from agricultural drainage effluents: A preliminary assessment