Farm pollution control systems on display Wednesday

Published 9:32 am Monday, September 5, 2011

Local conservation agencies have some new environmental improvement methods, and they’re ready to show them off on Wednesday.

Mower County Soil and Water Conservation, The Nature Conservancy and Minnesota Department of Agriculture will host an on-farm field day to feature the results of their installation of woodchip bioreactors and retention basins.

Woodchip bioreactors remove nitrate from large volumes of drainage water. Drainage water is diverted into a trench, which is filled with the woodchips, and denitrification begins. A retention area reduces peak flows and acts as a storage basin to capture runoff, improving water quality.

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Nitrates in drainage water may be a problem if concentrations are high and they reach rivers that are drinking water sources. Nitrates in drainage water also contribute to hypoxia, also known as the “dead zone,” in the Gulf of Mexico.

The field day will be 10 a.m.-noon at 710th Ave. in Clayton Township (near Elkton) in Clayton Township, Section 9.

Mark Dittrich, Department of Agriculture, said, “this field day features the future of conservation and better drainage, just like when we parked the moldboard in the windbreak and started using the chisel plow, this is the beginning of a new era of managing our drainage water, and parking the old drainage in the back 40.”

From Elkton, take County Road 3 east 3.5 miles and then north 1 mile on 710th Ave (gravel).

From Grand Meadow, go south on County Road 8, 3.5 miles to County Road 3. Go west on for three miles and then north on 710th Ave. one mile (gravel).