Concerns about nitrates in private drinking water supplies in the older poultry growing areas of Arkansas prompted soil and water testing in the early 1990's. Exposed poultry house pads were recognized as a potential source of nitrates in the groundwater. Soils beneath nine different poultry house pads in five counties were sampled in 10-30 cm increments to bedrock or to a maximum sampling depth of 90 cm. The nine sites had been exposed to natural weathering conditions ranging from never to for more than 20 years. Routine soil tests were conducted by the University of Arkansas Soil Testing Lab at Marianna according to standard methods (Mehlich III extractant). The relatively immobile elements P, Ca, Mg, Fe, Mn, Cu, and Zn were mainly concentrated in the upper part of the soil profiles (0-30 cm). The more leachable NO3-N, K, and SO4-S were generally found throughout the soil profile. Sodium was found in high concentrations throughout the soil profile at two sites. This study shows that nitrate-N, potassium, and sulfate-S from exposed poultry house pads and manure storage areas have the potential of leaching into groundwater. The other eight elements tested do not pose a threat of leaching, but are possible surface water contaminants.
Chapman, Stanley L. and Teague, William R.
"Changes in Soil Chemistry Beneath Exposed Poultry House Pads and Manure Storage Areas,"
Journal of the Arkansas Academy of Science: Vol. 53
, Article 6.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/jaas/vol53/iss1/6