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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

A Zero-Tension Sampler for the Collection of Soil Water in Macropore Systems


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 22 No. 1, p. 207-212
    Received: Feb 11, 1992

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. K. E. Simmons * and
  2. D. E. Baker
  1. Agric. Res. Dep., National Fertilizer and Environ. Res. Center, TVA, Muscle Shoals, AL 35660;
    Dep. of Agronomy, The Pennsylvania State Univ., University Park, PA 16802.



A zero-tension sampler was designed for the collection of soil leachate at 1.2 m in the soil profile to determine the effects of dairy manure and NH3NO3 applications on water quality in soils possessing a macropore structure. Nitrate-N concentrations in soil water collected from these samplers were compared with concentrations in soil water collected from conventional ceramic porous-cup samplers. The zero-tension samplers were constructed from 5-cm polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and installed at a 45° angle in the soil profile. This design minimized the amount of field excavation and the interruption of routine cultivation. On average, approximately 50% of the samplers contained solution after rainfall and the data were effective at demonstrating the effect of macropore flow on NO3-N concentrations in the leachate. Nitrate-N concentrations in soil water collected from porous-cup samplers were consistently higher than those collected from zero-tension samplers. Mean NO3-N concentrations in soil water from porous-cup and zero-tension samplers ranged from approximately 5 to 60 mg L−1 and 0 to 20 mg L−1, respectively.

This research was partially supported by the Pennsylvania Dep. of Environ. Resources, Bureau of Soil and Water Conservation and the Chesapeake Bay Program.

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