What makes up Manure?

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 1:25 PM

With many of the agricultural farms ready and willing to supply our water supplies with manure run off, I thought it would be great opportunity to dissect what exactly manure is and how it's contents effect the nature  surrounding it. While manure itself is an additive that helps crops grow, the contents of it can be very detrimental to people's health.

So first and foremost, what is manure. Well manure can be defined as, "a type of organic matter that is used as fertilizer in agriculture. It is mainly used to make the soil more fertile by adding nutrients and organic like nitrogen, which is trapped by bacteria and soil.

In many cases the nutrients that are provided by manure help to make crops grow and flourish, however when mismanaged there a lot of things that manure can be harmful to  Within the farms, the corrals are sometimes sealed to make sure that any runoff is contained. If not, the bacteria that lives within the manure can be transferred with the rain, entering the water streams that are local to them. Based on whether or not the site of the farm is located central to the water supply the runoff caused by manure can reach people more quickly and cause the water to become more concentrated.

The runoff, then gets many chemicals that are bad for the body into them. Nitrates and microorganisms can lead to porous drinking water causing dangerous drinking conditions for those who inhale them. For ecosystems as well that live in rivers and streams that come in contact with animals can cause different strains of bacteria that can decompose at a high rate and deplete oxygen and other vital nutrients in the water.

The effects of unconstrained manure aren't just directly tied to water. Many air ecosystems are effected as well. As decomposition happens many of the gasses associated with runoff effect the air we breathe. These gases can cause lung diseases, smog and other airborne diseases that can cause our air to become polluted and many to become sick.


For more information on what manure can do if not contained properly visit :http://www.epa.gov/region9/animalwaste/problem.html Just remember that manure is no joke...and that's no bull.

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