A LONG-TERM, WATERSHED-SCALE, EVALUATION OF THE IMPACTS OF ANIMAL WASTE BMPs ON INDICATOR BACTERIA CONCENTRATIONS
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION , 38 , 2002

Inamdar, S.P., Mostaghimi, S., Cook, M.N., Brannan, K.M., McClellen, P.W.

Driven by increasing concerns about bacterial pollution from agricultural sources, states such as Virginia have initiated cost sharing programs that encourage the use of animal waste best management practices (BMPs) to control this pollution. Although a few studies have shown that waste management BMPs are effective at the field scale, their effectiveness at the watershed scale and over the long term is unknown. The focus of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of BMPs in reducing bacterial pollution at the watershed scale and over the long term. To accomplish this goal, a 1,163 ha watershed located in the Piedmont region of Virginia was monitored over a ten-year period. Fecal coliforms (FC) and fecal streptococci (FS) were measured as indicators of bacterial pollution. A pre-BMP versus post-BMP design was adopted. Major BMPs implemented were manure storage facilities, stream fencing, water troughs, and nutrient management. Seasonal Kendall trend analysis revealed a significant decreasing trend during the post-BMP period for FC concentrations at the watershed outlet, but not at the subwatershed level. Implementation of BMPs also resulted in a significant reduction in the geometric mean of FS concentrations. FC concentrations in streamflow at the watershed outlet exceeded the Virginia primary standard 86 and 74 percent of the time during pre-BMP and post-BMP periods, respectively. Corresponding exceedances for the secondary standard were 50 and 41 percent. Violations decreased only slightly during the post-BMPperiod. The findings of this study suggest that although BMP implementation can be expected to accomplish some improvement in water quality, BMP implementation alone may not ensure compliance with current water quality standards.