Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Non-point source, Pollution/vegetative filter, Strips/poultry litter


Vegetative filter strips (VFS) are known to reduce runoff losses of nutrients. solids. and other materials from land areas treated with fertilizers . Although VFS effectiveness is known to depend partially on the relative lengths of filter and pollutant source areas. there is little experimental evidence available to quantify this dependence. This is particularly the case when VFS are implemented down-slope of pasture areas treated with animal manures such as poultry litter. This study assessed the influences of pollutant source area (treated with poultry litter) and VFS lengths on VFS removal of total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN). ammonia nitrogen (NH3 -N ). nitrate nitrogen (N03-N). ortho-phosphorus (P04-P). total phosphorus (TP). total organic carbon (TOC). total suspended solids (TSS). and fecal coliform (FC) fromincoming runoff for a silt loam soil with fescue cover. Litter-treated lengths of 6.1. 12.2. and 18.3 m with corresponding VFS lengths of up to 18.3 m. 12.2 m. and 6.1 m. respectively, were examined. Runoff was produced from simulated rainfall applied at 50 mm/h for 1 h of runoff. Concentrations of the parameters analyzed were unaffected by litter treated length but demonstrated a first-order decrease with increasing VFS length except in the cases of TSS and FC. Mass transport of TKN. NH3-N. P04-P. and TP increased with increasing litter-treated length (due to increased runoff) and decreased (approximately first-order) with increasing VFS length. Effectiveness of the VFS in terms of TKN. NH3-N. P04 -P. and TP removal from runoff ranged from 6.5 to 96.3% depending on the particular parameter. litter-treated length. and VFS length. The data collected during this study can be helpful in developing and testing simulation models of VFS performance and can thus aid in design of VFS for pasture areas treated with poultry litter.

Report Number

PUB 172