Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Agriculture

Degree Type

Master of Science


The ability for wetlands to purify contaminated water is not a new concept. Natural wetlands have been cleansing water within our environment for ages. After studying the process of natural wetlands the same concept was applied to municipal waste. It is the success of constructed wetlands treating municipal waste that created the new idea for the application of a wetland system to treat wastewater from livestock facilities. Through proper design and management, constructed wetlands may be useful for reducing the nutrient concentration of waste (Rieck el al., 1996). Taking into consideration the higher nutrient loads of livestock waste, the same basic idea of constructed wetlands used for municipal waste is being utilized to protect public water sources from contamination of livestock wastes. In this study a constructed wetland (total recycle) built for the purification of swine waste was evaluated. In cooperation with Pig Improvement Company of Allen County, Kentucky, water samples were collected from the nine connected cells making up the wetlands created at The Dogwood Ridge Farm. After collection of the samples, they were analyzed at the Western Kentucky University Environmental Laboratory. Samples were tested for levels of the following parameters: • Ammonia Nitrogen • Nitrate Nitrogen • Total Phosphorus • Biological Oxygen Demand • Total Suspended Solids • Total Dissolved Solids • Fecal Coliform • Conductivity • Mineral Elements The data in this report accounts for seven sample dates throughout 1996. Samples were also collected for three additional months prior to the first sample date in which data is reported, although these dates are considered to be a part of the initial start up phase for the testing period. Sample dates within the start up phase are not included among the results. With greater concern directed towards higher water quality standards, there is the need to eliminate any activities resulting in non-point source pollution (NPS). Livestock waste is considered one of the leading causes of NPS pollution which has created this awareness for better waste management. As traditional waste treatment equipment is commonly too expensive for the average livestock producer, constructed wetlands are proving to be an affordable, environmentally friendly, and manageable solution for livestock waste treatment.


Agriculture | Earth Sciences | Environmental Health and Protection | Hydrology