Kathryn L Farrell-Poe
Department Head, Agricultural-Biosystems Engineering
Specialist, Agricultural-Biosystems Engineering
Primary Department
(520) 626-9120
Work Summary
Kathryn Farell-Poe's work focuses on developing extension environment education programs including: Composting: On-Farm, Backyard, and Municipal; Groundwater; Hazardous Chemicals in the Home - Use, Storage, and Disposal; Nonpoint Source Pollution; Recycling, Precycling; Safe Drinking Water; Onsite Wastewater/Septic Education
Research Interest
Dr. Farrell-Poe is the head of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. Her work focuses on developing extension education programs in cooperation with county faculty and their clientele including county, state, and federal agency staff, local public officials, elementary and secondary teachers, farmers, and ranchers.


Deal, N., Buchanan, J., Farrell-Poe, K., Gross, M., Gustafson, D., Kalen, D., Lesikar, B., Lindbo, D., Loomis, G., Mechell, J., Miles, R., & O'Neill, C. (2007). Speaking the same language: A glossary for the decentralized wastewater treatment field. ASABE - Individual and Small Community Sewage Systems XI, Proceedings of the 11th National Symposium.


Onsite/decentralized terminology originated and evolved on the state or regional level in conjunction with regulatory or Agricultural Engineering Extension activities. Adapting terminology from one locale to match that used in another is increasingly cumbersome since resources originally developed to address local issues and inform consumers are now shared nationally. Significant advances from proprietary and academic research and development have resulted in a wide range of treatment options and best management practices in use nation wide. Several national initiatives are also underway to standardize industry practices, but inconsistent terminology is a barrier to acceptance of nationally-developed training materials and guidance documents. Ever-increasing interaction among industry sectors across the country now dictates the use of consistent vocabulary. To promote standardized terminology, the Consortium of Institutes for Decentralized Wastewater Treatment (CIDWT) has developed a glossary by gathering terms and definitions from a variety of sources. With funding provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Water Environment Research Federation (WERF), the project produced a glossary of commonly-used terms used in the onsite/decentralized wastewater treatment field. Standardization of terms and definitions will facilitate continued education and the exchange of information within both the academic and field practitioner realms. This paper discusses the project concept and goals and provides insight into the initial development of the glossary. It also presents an overview of the rigorous review process used to refine the terminology and definitions. Lastly, it describes the extensive scope of the stakeholders who to participated in the review and refinement process.

Kitamura, Y., Maekawa, T., Tagawa, A., Hayashi, H., & Farrell-Poe, K. (1996). Treatment of strong organic, nitrogenous wastewater by an anaerobic contact process incorporating ultrafiltration. Applied Engineering in Agriculture, 12(6), 709-714.


An anaerobic contact process incorporating an ultrafiltration (UF) unit was used to treat distillery wastewater characterized by high carbon and nitrogen concentrations and a low carbon to nitrogen (C/N) ratio. By diluting the influent to the fermentor with water (2.6 to 2.8 fold), the ammonia accumulation or inhibition caused by its low C/N ratio was avoided. The UF unit was employed to thicken the sludge without washing out the microbes in the process. The resulting treatment system produced a methane yield of up to 0.6 m3/kg-VS and removed up to 80% of the volatile acids. The process ultimately failed when the UF membrane irrevocably fouled and caused a decrease of microbes in the fermentor. The process can be effective for the treatment of high strength, low C/N wastewater with some modifications, especially for membrane flushing. The quantity of fresh water for dilution could be reduced by filtering the UF filtrate using a reverse osmosis unit. To increase the volatile acids (VA) consumption rate, a two-phase fermentation process incorporating an UF unit may be able to thicken the targeted microbes independently of the microbial kinetics. The UF filtrate contained too high a VA concentration to be released into a waterbody directly; thus, this system needs a secondary treatment system to be considered a total wastewater treatment system.

Farrell, K. L., Farrell, K. L., Nye, J. C., & Nye, J. C. (1984). CONCRETE ENCAPSULATION OF PESTICIDE CONTAMINATED SLUDGE.. Paper - American Society of Agricultural Engineers.


Research was conducted to determine the feasibility of encapsulating pesticide contaminated sludge in a concrete-activated carbon matrix. Samples were leached using EPA's regulatory method to simulate worst-case conditions. Alachlor, dinosib and trifluralin were the pesticides used in analysis. Resulting concrete matrix was analyzed for pesticide retention and strength.

Stetson, L. E., Stark, G. L., & Farrell-Poe, K. (1988). ELECTRIC DEMAND CHARACTERISTICS OF NEBRASKA FARMSTEADS.. Transactions of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 31(1), 247-256.


Electric demands on 35 farmsteads in a five-county area in central Nebraska were studied. Graphs of three seasonal peak days for both 1981 and 1982 for the coincidental, average demand of each group are presented and show unique daily demand patterns for each category. In addition, graphs of the maximum, average, and minimum demands are shown for each month of 1981 and 1982 which illustrate sesonal peak demands in summer, fall, and winter. The monthly load factors are also shown. Load duration curves, which illustrate the effectiveness of utilization of power for the peak winter, summer, and fall months for a selected year are presented for each category. Identifiable demand patterns were found for all of the speciality groups within the high category. Additional study results are discussed.

Beard, F. R., Poe, S. E., Farrell-Poe, K., & Deer, H. M. (1997). Handling waste rinsate associated with commercial pesticide application equipment. Paper - American Society of Agricultural Engineers, 2.


The disposal of waste rinsate is a problem confronting commercial pesticide applicators. Environmental and legal issue must be addressed, and economic concerns continue to grow. In arid regions of the U.S. evaporation is a viable solution to reducing waste rinsate. This paper outlines recommendations for the construction of on-site facilities to assist in the collection and reduction of waste rinsate. A flat concrete pad with watertight curbing is recommended as the ideal facility for commercial applicators. Surface area as it relates to evaporation potential is discussed, and consideration is given to the variations in equipment boom width, nozzle discharge height and nozzle spray pattern.