Runoff, erosion, and nutrient losses from compost and mulch blankets under simulated rainfall
Journal of Soil and Water Conservation , 59 , 2004

Faucette, L.B., Risse, L.M., Nearing, M.A., Gaskin, J.W., West, L.T.

Control of soil erosion and associated nonpoint source pollution is essential to improving water quality. The use of compost or mulch blankets as a soil cover can help control soil erosion and provide sustainable alternatives to disposal for many biomass resources. The objective of this study was to investigate the amounts of runoff, erosion, and nutrient losses obtained under simulated rainfall using a variety of compost and mulch materials. Treatments included aged poultry litter, two different types of poultry litter compost, municipal solid waste compost, biosolids compost, food waste compost, yard waste compost, three different types of wood mulch, and bare soil. Results indicated that all of the treatments except for aged poultry litter were effective at reducing total solids loss in the runoff. Nutrient losses from most of the compost treatments, however, were higher than those from bare soil or mulch treatments. Treatments with lower respiration rates and nitrate-nitrogen concentrations tended to have less erosion and transport of solids. Nitrate-nitrogen content, respiration rates, soluble salt, sodium, and potassium contents were good indicators of ammonium and phosphorus losses.