Impact of organic amendments on groundwater nitrogen concentrations for sandy and calcareous soils
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Experiments were conducted on calcareous and sandy soils to investigate the effects of organic amendments for vegetable production on groundwater nitrogen (N) concentration in south Florida. The treatments consisted of applying yard and food residuals compost, biosolids compost, a cocompost of the municipal solid waste and biosolids, and inorganic fertilizer. Nitrate nitrogen (NO3-N), ammonium nitrogen (NH4-N), and total N concentrations were collected for a period of two years for both soils. Statistical analysis results revealed that for the three species tested, there were no significant differences among treatments. NO3-N concentrations for all treatments remained less than the maximum contamination level (10 mg/L). NO3-N transport to groundwater was higher in calcareous soil (mean=5.3 mg/L) than in sandy soil (mean=0.6 mg/L). NH4-N concentrations ranged from 0 to 13.6 mg/L throughout the experiment. Calcareous soil had lower NH4-N concentrations (mean=0.1 mg/L) than sandy soils (mean=0.7 mg/L). Total N ranged from 0.4 to 21.7 mg/L for all treatments for both soils reflecting high adsorption of dissolved organic N in both soils. Overall, results indicated that all the compost treatments were comparable to inorganic fertilizer with regard to N leaching and N concentrations in the groundwater while producing similar or higher yields. 2005 by The JG Press, Inc. All rights reserved.