NTAE: Pollution Prevention & Wastewater Phytoremediation

Delaware State University is piloting the Algal Turf Raceway System (ATS), a green technology that reduces carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus pollution in water that farmers use from bays, lakes, reservoirs, and streams. This publication gives an overview of how the Extension team used NTAE grant support to run the pilot and what it hopes to prove with this technology. The publication is excerpted from the New Technologies for Ag Extension 2022-2023 Yearbook, which documents dozens of projects funded through the New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE) program. NTAE is a cooperative agreement between USDA NIFA, Oklahoma State University, and the Extension Foundation. The goal of the New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE) grant is to incubate, accelerate, and expand promising work that will increase the impact of the Cooperative Extension System (CES) in the communities it serves, and provide models that can be adopted or adapted by Extension teams across the nation. This work is supported by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020-41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Grant projects improve human, environmental, and community health.


Welcome. “Pollution Prevention and Wastewater Phytoremediation” is a publication of the New Technologies for Ag Extension (NTAE) program. This publication celebrates the accomplishments of a team at Delaware State University (DSU) Extension, which received funding for this project in 2022-2023. NTAE is a grant program generously supported by the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and administered through a partnership between Oklahoma State University and the Extension Foundation (EXF). The primary objective of NTAE is to provide financial assistance to competitively selected Extension programs that align with the strategic goal and priority program areas of the USDA and the Extension Com- mittee on Organization and Policy (ECOP). Through this support, NTAE helps teams catalyze, accelerate, and expand their work in their respective fields. Since its inception in 2019, the NTAE program has successfully funded and supported a total of 72 projects and leaders. This includes collaborations with all Regional Rural Development Centers (RRDCs) and ECOP Program Action Teams (PATs). Selected programs receive support for a period of one year. The project leader and their team are provided with invaluable mentoring from a team of catalysts, key infor- mants, and coaches from the EXF. This customized and innovative support model assists teams in exploring new possibilities, enhancing the intended impact of their projects, and sharing their work with a national audience. Additionally, each team receives additional resources and support to create materials and experiences that speed the development of their projects and bring about desired changes. The project showcased in this publication reflects the diversity and breadth of Extension disciplinary work and programming. In this publication, you will gain deeper insights into this exciting project, including the lessons learned, the project’s significance for Extension in a broader context, and what lies ahead for the team.




Editorial Staff Julie Halverson Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith Heather Martin Design & Production Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith Ellen P. Krugel Heather Martin

Gulnihal (Rose) Ozbay Associate Dean, Cooperative Extension & Applied Research and Professor of Natural Resources, DSU Extension Ali Parsaeimehr Post-Doc, DSU Extension Rose Ogutu Horticulture Specialist, DSU Extension Andy Wetherill Small Farm Agent, DSU Extension

1. BE INSPIRED . Use our model to create an agricultural program your state or region.

© Extension Foundation Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommer- cial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0). Published by Extension Foundation. Citations for this publication may be made using the following: Kansas City: Extension Foundation (2022). Pollution Prevention and Waste- water Phytoremediation (1st ed). ISBN: 978-1-955687-26-3. This work, ISBN 978-1-955687-26-3, is supported by New Technologies for Agriculture Extension grant no. 2020- 41595-30123 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

2. ADVOCATE. Show this publication to your

Extension Director and talk about how to use it to enhance your institution’s public outreach. 3. SHARE. Share this publication with potential community partners who could help you scale your program. 4. GIVE FEEDBACK. Did this publication inform your Extension work? Share what you’ve

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Pollution Prevention and Wastewater Phytoremediation IN BRIEF

1. Water flow 2. Water Recirculation 3. Algal Turf Scrubbers 4. Algal Scaffold 5. Benthic algae community 6. CO 2 fixation 7. Photons 8. O 2 production


WITH NTAE GRANT SUPPORT • Constructed an ATS in Aquacul- ture Research and Demonstration facility, Dover, Delaware • Monitored the ATS to determine the dominant macro-algal species for the particular environment • Planned an educational workshop in late July to introduce the system to the farmers living near Rehoboth Bay • Monitored water quality and sediment nutrient with the ATS and without the ATS to gauge efficien- cy of the removal of excess nitro- gen, phosphorous, and sediment


Nutrient pollution (excess carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) in bays, lakes, reservoirs, and streams is a major problem for farms that rely on that water.

This pilot program will prove that the ATS, which has been successful in neighboring states, can help Delaware farmers—especially underserved and coastal producers—reduce farm costs, increase farm profit, improve farm management, and contribute to natural resource conservation and nutrient management goals for the Inland Bays.


On a farm in Rehoboth Bay, Delaware, Delaware State University (DSU) Extension will pilot the use of the Algal Turf Raceway System (ATS), a green technology that not only improves the quality of water down- stream from the farm but creates an alga (aquatic plant, like seaweed) biomass that can be used in place of chemical fertilizers and can also be used in animal feed.

“This project’s team is blending the best of on-farm research with an innovative value-added opportunity for alga biomass.” —Rick Klemme, NTAE Catalyst

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