Projects & Programs - Agricultural Watershed Planning & Implementation

Biofilter Wetland at Harrow Run
Water Quality Evaluation of Pollutant Removal Efficiency
from a Tailwater Recovery System

This project has been initiated by the Cumberland-Salem Soil Conservation District (SCD) and the Rutgers Cooperative Research and Extension (RCRE) Water Resources Program, with support from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and permission from the private landowner. This water quality evaluation will focus on the pollutant removal efficiency of a biofilter wetland. This wetland was installed in the fall of 2004 after previous monitoring data found that a tailwater recovery system overflowing to Harrow Run of the Upper Cohansey River Watershed was adding nutrients to the stream. This data is needed to evaluate the use of a biofilter wetland as an appropriate best management practice (BMP) for this location and to examine the need for further measures to control pollution from the tailwater recovery system.

Objective and Scope:
In November of 2004, a biofilter wetland was installed to treat nutrient-rich runoff from a tailwater recovery system. This tailwater recovery system was originally installed to take advantage of water reuse at a private nursery operation in Deerfield, NJ. Water use was cut by one-third with the reuse system installed; however, monitoring data collected in 2002 showed that high nutrient overflow to a second pond that discharges to Harrow Run was impacting water quality. In the past few years, the large amount of sediment runoff from the nursery operation and bank erosion from this second pond has lead to significant siltation. Changes in the bottom topography and the surface water level of this second pond have resulted in an ideal location for the creation of a biofilter wetland. The biofilter wetland was installed to treat the overflow from the tailwater recovery system, improve water quality in Harrow Run, and enhance the landscape and habitat with native vegetation.

The biofilter wetland is approximately 7,500 square feet and has been planted with more than 3,000 species of native, freshwater wetland and pond type vegetation. The effectiveness of this biofilter wetland is critical to discovering if additional measures are needed to further control nutrients from this location. Also, the data collected as part of this water quality evaluation can add to the water quality monitoring data that was collected prior to the installation of the biofilter wetland to address any improvements and/or impairments to the water quality in Harrow Run.

Project Funding Source: National Fish & Wildlife Service

For a more detailed scope of work, click here.

Christopher C. Obropta, Ph.D., P.E.
Assistant Extension Specialist
Rutgers Cooperative Research & Extension
14 College Farm Road
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Project Partners:
Lenny Rera
Cumberland-Salem Soil Conservation District

Water Resources Program  at Rutgers NJAES