School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

Granular and Dissolved Polyacrylamide Effects on Erosion and Runoff under Simulated Rainfall

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Polyacrylamide (PAM) has been demonstrated to reduce erosion under many conditions, but less is known about the effects of its application method on erosion and concentrations in the runoff water. A rainfall simulation study was conducted to evaluate the performance of an excelsior erosion control blanket (cover) and two PAM application methods. The treatments were (i) no cover + no PAM (control), (ii) cover + no PAM, (iii) cover + granular PAM (GPAM), and (iv) cover + dissolved PAM (DPAM) applied to soil packed in wooden runoff boxes. The GPAM or DPAM (500 mg L−1) was surface-applied at a rate of 30 kg ha−1 1 d before rainfall simulation. Rainfall was applied at 83 mm h−1 for 50 min and then repeated for another 20 min after a 30-min rest period. Runoff samples were analyzed for volume, turbidity in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU), total suspended solids (TSS), sediment particle size distribution, and PAM concentration. The cover alone reduced turbidity and TSS in runoff by >60% compared with the control (2315 NTU, 2777 mg TSS L−1). The PAM further reduced turbidity and TSS by >30% regardless of the application method. The median particle diameter of eroded sediments for PAM treatments was seven to nine times that of the control (12.4 μm). Loss of applied PAM in the runoff water (not sediment) was 19% for the GPAM treatment but only 2% for the DPAM treatment. Both GPAM and DPAM were effective at improving groundcover performance, but DPAM resulted in much less PAM loss.


Copyright © by the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America, Inc.

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Journal of Environmental Quality