Management of Drainage Water in the Holland
Marsh for Environmental and Agronomic Benefits
Chandra A. Madramootoo Eng., FASABE
Department of Bioresource Engineering
50 km North of Toronto
8500 hectares of organic soil ‘muck’
Over $51 million of revenue a year
Ideal for high value vegetable crops
including carrots, onions, celery and leafy
LAKE SIMCOE – Water Quality
High levels of N and P leading to eutrophication
P exceeds limits of 0.03mg/l
Negative ecological effects
Impacts on aquatic flora and fauna
Damage to shoreline
• A low lying marshland draining to Lake Simcoe
• Empoldered with dykes to prevent flooding
• 28 km of canals
• 230 km of internal drains
• Two pumping stations (one main + one ancillary)
Spring 0.18 4,524
Summer 0.27 11,501
Annual 0.45 16,025
Spring 0.33 15,930
Summer 0.17 7,831
Annual 0.50 23,761
Spring 8.76 4,524
Summer 29.99 11,501
Annual 38.75 16,025
Spring 45.89 15,930
Summer 14.35 7,831
Annual 60.24 23,761
Spring (January to April) and summer (May to September)
Linking soil phosphorus pools to drainage water
quality in intensively cropped organic soils
• Calcium (Ca) bound P as the largest P pool in these organic soils.
• It acts as a P sink in these soils.
• Correlation analysis suggests that aluminum (Al) and iron (Fe) bound P is a
driving force for P movement in the soil.
• Regression analysis of TP found that the fertilizer and root P content were
significantly related to the changes in drainage water quality.
• P balance indicated that more fertilizer was being applied each year than was
being used by the crops or released into the water, causing an accumulation of
legacy P in the soil.
• Overall, the soil P pools affect the fluctuations of P concentration in the tile
drainage water quality, featuring the complex relationship of the soil-water P
CD proved to be effective in conserving water during the dry season,
thereby reducing irrigation requirements and the associated overhead cost.
DRAINMOD simulates the water table level with good performance, but
more refinement is necessary for simulating the drain discharge.
CD did not reduce nutrient concentrations to acceptable levels in all years
and all periods during the year.
Soil P dynamics is an important driver of P in drainage water, compared to
Therefore the nutrient buffering capacity of CD on these histosols could
be limited, if not combined with other BMPs.
• PhD students G. Grenon and B. Singh
• Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council of Canada
• Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
• Muck Crops Research Station
Hinweis der Redaktion
Lake Simcoe is once such area where water quality degradation is present.