Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Civil Engineering


In the past, pollution from agricultural sources has received far less attention than pollution from industrial and municipal sources. Point sources of agricultural pollution such as livestock confinement feeding operations have received more attention by researchers than the runoff from cultivated cropland. The 1967 Conservation Needs Inventory performed by the United States Government reported 1,438 million acres of non-federal rural land, including 437.6 million acres of cultivated cropland. Every year 500,000 acres of cropland are lost from productive use as cropland due to soil erosion. An average of one million acres of urban land and other built-up areas such as highways are developed each year. Most of this land must come from agricultural areas. Because the population of the United States is approximately doubling every forty years, it is obvious that more food will have to be produced on less land. In order to produce sufficient food on less land, it appears that existing cropland will have to be farmed more intensively with greater use of fertilizers and pesticides. However, the general public fears that the use of these substances will have extremely harmful effect on the overall environment. The problems of pollution from cropland runoff are indeed complex because the runoff comes from such a large land area. Furthermore, it cannot be readily collected and treated in the same manner as domestic sewage or industrial wastes. Research to more fully evaluate the characteristics of runoff from agricultural areas would appear to be the first step in approaching the problem. The general objective of this investigation was to determine the characteristics of runoff from an agricultural drainage basin located in eastern South Dakota. The specific objectives of this investigation were:

1. To determine the average concentrations and total loads of polluting materials in runoff from a small agricultural drainage basin located near Brookings, South Dakota, during 1970.

2. To investigate the variations in concentrations of various polluting materials with such factors as rainfall intensity, runoff volume and soil cover conditions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Water -- Pollution
Water-supply -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University