Copper and Zinc Runoff from Land Application of Composted Poultry Litter. Academic Article uri icon


  • Regions with long-term animal manure applications based on nitrogen (N) requirements have concerns regarding elevated nutrient levels. Most attention has focused on phosphorus (P), but heavy metal accumulation has received attention due to perceived environmental concerns. Composting is a potential management practice that can reduce total manure mass and volume while creating a stabilized product that has less odor and fewer pathogens. However, composting animal manures can lead to high N loss via ammonia volatilization and increased concentrations of nonvolatile nutrients. The objective of this study was to measure copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn) concentrations in runoff water from plots fertilized with composted and fresh poultry litter. Seven treatments were evaluated in the first year: (i) unfertilized control, (ii) fresh poultry litter, (iii) normal compost (no amendment), (iv) composted litter with alum, (v) composted litter with phosphoric acid, (vi) composted litter with a microbial mixture, and (vii) composted litter with alum + microbial mixture. Six of these treatments were evaluated in Year 2 (alum + microbial mixture was not evaluated in Year 2). Rainfall simulators were used to produce a 5 cm h storm event sufficient in length to cause 30 min of continuous runoff. Concentrations of Cu and Zn were elevated in compost compared with fresh poultry litter. However, metal concentrations in compost did not correlate well with metal concentrations in runoff water and may have been affected by compost maturity and amendment. Total Cu and Zn concentrations in runoff water did not differ between alum-amended compost and fresh poultry litter in each year.

published proceedings

  • J Environ Qual

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • DeLaune, P. B., & Moore, P. A.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • DeLaune, PB||Moore, PA

publication date

  • September 2016