NWRF Bioreactor

NWRF bioreactor

Location:  Northwest Research Farm

Time Period:  2019-present

Research Team:  Matt Helmers, Kay Stefanik, and farm personnel.

Denitrification bioreactors for removal of nitrate in tile drainage are new water quality technology that has rapidly gained interest in Iowa. A bioreactor is composed of an excavated trench filled with woodchips that are colonized by denitrifying bacteria. As drainage waters containing nitrate flow by these “good” bacteria, they convert the nitrate in the water to nitrogen gas. A critical component in evaluating the performance of these treatment systems is the documentation not only of nitrate concentrations in the drainage water, but also the flow rate and volume of the water treated in the bioreactor.

A bioreactor 20 ft wide x 100 ft. long was installed in August 2019. Flow rate into and out of the bioreactor will be evaluated along with nitrate-N concentration entering and leaving the bioreactor to document nitrate-N removal by this system. 

Funders:  Northwest Research Farm Association, Prinsco, and Heinsohn Digging