Tile-drained agricultural land must be well-managed to reduce the loss of nutrients to surface waters. Nutrient management practices must be carefully followed to minimize the risk of nutrient loss and to maximize fertilizer use efficiency. This is of particular importance to farmers, as this water can also transport essential plant nutrients, specifically nitrogen and phosphorus, out of the root zone. Once nutrients reach the tile drain, they have a direct conduit to surface waters.
Emerging technologies in drainage water treatment can mitigate nutrient transport from tile drainage systems. Some of these technologies include drainage water management, constructed wetlands, bioreactors, and saturated buffers. The information provided will briefly assess the cost and effectiveness of nitrogen and phosphorus removal of these tile drainage treatment options.