Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Water contamination, poultry litter, Aquifer


The Ozark Region of Arkansas is a major poultry-producing area of the United States. Large quantities of poultry waste are spread as fertilizer on thin soils of pastureland overlying limestone and dolomitic aquifers. Because these aquifers provide domestic water supplies for the rural population and are susceptible to contamination from surface water, there is concern that nitrate leached from poultry litter is polluting the ground water. In response to this concern, well water from a major poultry-producing area was compared with that from a forested area in the northeastern Washington County area, Arkansas. Although nitrate concentration of the well water from the poultry producing area (2.83 mg/L as nitrogen) is about 10 times that of springs in the forested area, it is considerably below the drinking water limits of 10 mg/L set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency . The shallow Boone-st. Joe aquifer contains about twice as much nitrate as the deeper Everton aquifer. Expansion of poultry production in this region requires implementation of best management practices in order to protect the ground water from nitrate pollution.


For Arkansas Department of Pollution Control & Ecology

Report Number