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Impact of Flue Gas Desulfurization Gypsum and Manure Application on Transfer of Potentially Toxic Elements to Plants, Soil, and Runoff

Torbert, H. Allen, Watts, Dexter B., Chaney, Rufus L.
Journal of environmental quality 2018 v.47 no.4 pp. 865-872
antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, flue gas desulfurization, fly ash, gypsum, industrial byproducts, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, manure spreading, nickel, nutrients, phosphorus, plant response, potassium, poultry manure, rainfall simulation, runoff, selenium, sodium, soil, soil pollution, surface water, thallium, toxic substances, vanadium, water pollution, zinc
There are concerns regarding the fate of nutrients from surface application of animal manure. One approach to reduce losses of P is to treat manure with industrial byproducts such as flue gas desulfurization (FGD) gypsum. However, concerns regarding potentially toxic elements contributed to the environment have arisen based on previous element-rich forms of FGD gypsum that included fly ash, whereas “new” FGD gypsum without fly ash is much lower in contaminants. This study examined the impact of FGD gypsum application on soil, plants, and runoff when applied alone or with poultry litter (PL) to soil. The study consisted of a plant response study (four rates of FGD gypsum of 0, 2.2, 4.4, and 8.9 Mg ha⁻¹ and four rates of PL of 0, 4.4, 8.9, and 13.4 Mg ha⁻¹) and a rainfall simulation study (3.4 Mg PL ha⁻¹ with four rates of FGD gypsum of 0, 2.2, 4.4, and 8.9 Mg ha⁻¹ and controls). Plant, soil, and runoff samples were analyzed for As, Ba, Be, Ca, Cd, Ba, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Ni, P, Pb, Sb, Se, Tl, V, and Zn. Results indicated that FGD gypsum application would not result in increased potentially toxic elements in plants, soil, or runoff. In addition, the application of FGD gypsum significantly reduced P, As, and Fe concentrations in runoff, indicating that FGD gypsum can reduce the negative impact of manure surface application on surface water degradation.