Field Evaluation of Polyacrylamide (PAM) Effectiveness and Laboratory Studies to Assess Microbial Degradation (PAM IV)

Affiliation(s)PIProject periodFunded by
DHS Young, Michael H 04/01/2006 - 09/30/2009 DOI - Bureau of Reclamation

Project Description

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the Desert Research Institute (DRI) are collaborating to evaluate the effectiveness of polyacrylamide (PAM) when used to reduce seepage in unlined irrigation canals in the 17 western states. Additionally, we seek to improve our understanding of environmental issues related to the use of PAM, particularly those related to human and eco-toxicology, and fate and transport of PAM and its by-products in the natural environment. Loss of irrigation water through the bottom of these unlined channels represents a potential significant quantity of water lost to farmers and other members of the public. This work plan represents the fourth phase in this research. Phase I of this study included a number of activities that supported the broader research conducted under the second phase, PAM II. The PAM I scope included tasks that supported the field research being conducted at Reclamation Grand Junction office, including the purchasing and installation of monitoring equipment in the existing test trough and the purchasing of equipment for future demonstration ditches; developing analytical protocols for PAM and its associated monomer. The PAM II scope included steps that will be taken to better understand the efficacy of PAM use for reducing seepage losses through unlined irrigation canals, including field and laboratory experiments, analytical support activities conducted by the University of Nevada, Reno, and the convening of and collaboration with an external steering committee that provides important perspectives on PAM usage and potential impacts to the environment. The PAM III scope included the field testing of PAM efficiency and fate/transport in full-sized irrigation canals, the development of predictive tools that will help to assess potential aquatic impacts as PAM settles to the bottom of irrigation canals or is released to receiving waters, and the development of microbiological techniques for developing field application protocols.