Agricultural Runoff

Authored by: Matt C. Smith , David K. Gattie , Daniel L. Thomas

Encyclopedia of Environmental Management

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9781439829271
eBook ISBN: 9781351235860
Adobe ISBN:

10.1081/E-EEM-120010101

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Abstract

Agricultural runoff is surface water leaving farm fields as a result of receiving water in excess of the infiltration rate of the soil. Agricultural runoff is grouped into the category of non-point source pollution because the potential pollutants originate over large, diffuse areas and the exact point of entry into water bodies cannot be precisely identified. Non-point sources of pollution are particularly problematic in that it is difficult to capture and treat the polluted water before it enters a stream. Because of the non-point source nature of agricultural runoff, efforts to minimize or eliminate pollutants are, by necessity, focused on practices to be applied on or near farm fields themselves.

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