Soil characteristics

Soil suitabilities and limitations for agricultural waste application are based on the most severely rated soil property or properties. A severe suitability rating does not necessarily infer that agricultural wastes cannot be used. It does, however, infer a need for careful planning and design to overcome the severe limitation or hazard associated with one or more soil properties. Care must be taken in planning and designing agricultural waste management systems that are developed for soils that have a moderate limitation or hazard suitability rating. In general, moderate limitations or suitability ratings require less management or capital cost to mitigate than do the severe ratings.

Slight is the rating given soils that have properties favorable for the use of agricultural wastes. The degree of limitation is minor and can be overcome easily. Good performance and low maintenance can be expected.

Soil suitability for site specific agricultural waste storage or treatment practices, such as a waste storage pond, waste treatment lagoon, or waste storage structure, are not discussed in this section. Soil variability within soil map delineations and mapping scale generally prevent using soil maps for evaluation of these site specific agricultural waste management system components. Soil investigations conducted by a soil scientist or other qualified person are needed to determine and document site specific soil information, such as soil type, observed and inferred soil properties, and the soil limitations or hazards for the site specific components. See chapter 7 for site specific considerations.

Nonsite specific agricultural waste utilization practices are those that apply agricultural wastes to fields or other land areas by spreading, injection, or irrigation. The suitability, limitations, or hazards associated with these practices are dependent upon and influenced by the geographical variability of the soil and soil properties within the area of application. They are discussed in this chapter.

Soil suitability ratings for nonsite specific agricultural waste management system components and practices are determined from soil survey maps and FOTG

interpretive tables, SIR, or National Soils Handbook interpretive guides. Soil variability within fields or geographical areas may require the collective assessment of soil suitability and limitation ratings for the application of agricultural wastes in the area under consideration. Soil features and their combined effect on the agricultural waste management system are important considerations when evaluating soil-agricultural waste suitability ratings for soils. A soil scientist should be consulted when assessing the effects of soil variability on design and function of an agricultural waste management system.

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