Nutrient losses to surface waters following fertilization contribute to eutrophication. This study was conducted to compare the impacts of fertilization with inorganic fertilizer, swine (Sus scrofa domesticus) manure or poultry (Gallus domesticus) litter on runoff water quality, and how the duration between application and the first runoff event affects resulting water quality. Fertilizers were applied at 35 kg P ha-1, and the duration between application and the first runoff event varied between 1 and 29 days. Swine manure was the greatest risk to water quality 1 day after fertilization due to elevated phosphorus (8.4 mg P L-1) and ammonium (10.3 mg NH4-N L-1) concentrations; however, this risk decreased rapidly. Phosphorus concentrations were 2.6 mg L-1 29 days after fertilization with inorganic fertilizer. This research demonstrates that manures might be more environmentally sustainable than inorganic fertilizers, provided runoff events do not occur soon after application.