June 16, 2021
Blind inlets are implemented to promote obstruction-free surface drainage of field depressions as an alternative to tile risers for the removal of sediment and particulate phosphorus (P) through an aggregate bed. However, conventional limestone used in blind inlets does not remove dissolved P, which is a stronger eutrophication agent than particulate P. Steel slag has been suggested as an alternative to limestone in blind inlets for removing dissolved P. The objectives of this study were to construct a blind inlet with steel slag and evaluate its ability to remove dissolved P, nitrogen (N), and herbicides. A blind inlet was constructed with steel slag in late 2015; data from only 2018 are reported due to inflow sampling issues. The blind inlet removed at least 45% of the dissolved P load and was still effective after three years. The dissolved P removal efficiency was greater with higher inflow P concentrations. More than 70% of glyphosate and its metabolite, and dicamba were removed. Total N was removed in the form of organic N and ammonium, although N cycling processes within the blind inlet appeared to produce nitrate. Higher dissolved atrazine and organic carbon loads were measured in outflow than inflow, likely due to the deposition of sediment-bound particulate forms not measured in inflow, which then solubilized with time. At a cost similar to local aggregate, steel slag in blind inlets represents a simple update for improving dissolved P removal.