Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Some Earthworms Make Septic Systems Work Better, Others Do The Opposite

Date:
July 23, 2008
Source:
USDA/Agricultural Research Service
Summary:
The right earthworms can make home septic systems work better. The wrong ones could do the opposite. That's the finding in a study of worm populations living in the soil near trenches receiving septic tank flow outside five single family homes.

The right earthworms can make home septic systems work better. The wrong ones could do the opposite.

That’s the finding in a study of worm populations living in the soil near trenches receiving septic tank flow outside five single family homes in Arkansas. Carrie L. Hawkins of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville performed the study in collaboration with Agricultural Research Service (ARS) soil scientist Martin J. Shipitalo of the North Appalachian Experimental Watershed in Coshocton, Ohio.

The scientists found that the worms were favoring the area near the trenches because they were feeding on the household wastes discharged in the trenches. They found fives species of earthworms. None of the species were deep-burrowers like nightcrawlers.

Their burrowing near the surface actually helped the septic wastewater spread through the soil more evenly, resulting in better cleansing of the water. Had they been nightcrawlers, the worm burrows might have drained the trenches so fast that it would bypass the soil filtering.

The results of this study will be published in the journal Applied Soil Ecology and are currently online.

The earthworm study is part of a longstanding series of worm studies across the country by Shipitalo, ARS colleagues at Coshocton and elsewhere, and cooperating university scientists.

This body of earthworm knowledge is one of many aspects of ARS research on soils that is incorporated into the Smithsonian Institution's Soil Exhibition, which opens on July 19 and ends December 31, 2010. The exhibition is at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and is called "Dig it! The Secrets of Soils."

Ted Zobeck and Michael Russelle, at ARS labs in Texas and Minnesota, respectively, are state liaisons for the exhibit. ARS scientists at the National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa, contributed heavily to the exhibition, as did the late Dennis Linden in Minnesota.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by USDA/Agricultural Research Service. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Some Earthworms Make Septic Systems Work Better, Others Do The Opposite." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080720092819.htm>.
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. (2008, July 23). Some Earthworms Make Septic Systems Work Better, Others Do The Opposite. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080720092819.htm
USDA/Agricultural Research Service. "Some Earthworms Make Septic Systems Work Better, Others Do The Opposite." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080720092819.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins