FIELD BIOREACTORS

 

Woodchip bioreactors connected to tile drained fields...

...have a huge potential to reduce nitrate in farm field runoff. Denitrifying bioreactors are constructed underground at the field's edge with simple materials. Microbes act on the water held in the bioreactor, converting the nitrate to nitrogen gases. The water the flows out of the reactor and into the stream has significantly less nitrate than the water flowing in.

In this project, I partnered with field researcher Will Pluer to estimate the potential impact of installing bioreactors on farm fields in the Upper Susquehanna River Watershed. The Upper Susquehanna is part of the nitrogen-rich Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Bioreactors are a potential technology to reduce nitrogen contributions from agricultural fields.