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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 542873, 9 pages
Research Article

Runoff and Nutrient Losses from Constructed Soils Amended with Compost

1Agricultural Technical Institute, The Ohio State University, 1328 Dover Rd., Wooster, OH 44691, USA
2Soil and Crop Sciences Department, Texas A&M University, 2474 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2474, USA
3Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Texas A&M University, 2117 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-2117, USA

Received 13 October 2011; Accepted 15 January 2012

Academic Editor: Leonid Perelomov

Copyright © 2012 N. E. Hansen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Composted organic materials used to stabilize roadside embankments in Texas promote rapid revegetation of soils disturbed by construction activities. Yet, adding compost to soil may increase total and soluble plant nutrients available for loss in runoff water. Composted municipal biosolids and dairy manure products were applied to soils in Texas according to prescribed Texas Department of Transportation specifications for stabilizing roadside soils. The specifications included a method for incorporating compost into soils prior to seeding or applying a compost and woodchip mix over a disturbed soil and then seeding. Applying compost and woodchips over the soil surface limited sediment losses (14 to 32 fold decrease) compared to incorporating compost into the soil. Yet, the greatest total phosphorus and nitrogen losses in runoff water occurred from soils where the compost and woodchip mix was applied. The greatest losses of soluble phosphorus also occurred when the compost and woodchip mix was applied. In contrast, nitrate-nitrogen losses in runoff were similar when compost was incorporated in the soil or applied in the woodchip mix. Compost source affected the nutrient losses in runoff. While the composted municipal biosolids added greater nutrient loads to the soil, less nutrient loss in runoff occurred.