Irrigation Science

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 363–379 | Cite as

Influence of chlorine injection on soil enzyme activities and maize growth under drip irrigation with secondary sewage effluent

  • Fengzhen Hao
  • Jiusheng LiEmail author
  • Zhen Wang
  • Yanfeng Li
Original Paper


Chlorination is an effective method to prevent and reduce emitter clogging caused by algae and bacteria in drip irrigation system. The optimal chlorination schemes should be developed to alleviate the potential negative effect of chlorination on soil properties and crop growth. A 2-year experiment was conducted to evaluate the effects of chlorine injection concentrations and duration on soil urease and alkaline phosphatase activities and production of maize for drip irrigation while applying secondary sewage effluent. The experiments were designed with injection concentrations of free chlorine residual at the end of laterals ranging from 0 to 8 mg L−1 and injection duration ranging from 0.5 to 3 h for each irrigation event. The control experiments with groundwater were applied in both seasons. Sewage application increased the residual Cl in soil while chlorination did not cause a substantial chlorine accumulation in the root zone. Compared to enzyme activities measured prior to sowing, soil enzyme activities were generally enhanced by sewage application with or without chlorination. The effects of chlorine concentration and injection duration on plant biomass, nitrogen uptake, enzyme activities, and yield of maize were insignificant although chlorination weakened the increment of soil enzyme activities to some extent. The yield of maize ranged from 12.1 to 13.3 Mg ha−1 and from 10.1 to 10.7 Mg ha−1 in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, respectively. For the treatments with chlorine injected, the yield of maize peaked at 0 mg L−1 in 2015, while the yield of maize peaked at 1.3 mg L−1 of free chlorine residual at the end of laterals and the 3 h chlorine duration in 2016. The results suggested that chlorination is safe for field crops with precipitation leaching.



This study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant nos. 51339007 and 51509270) and the National Key Research and Development Project of China (Grant no. 2016YFC0403103).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


  1. Australian Water Association (2000) Primary industries—rationale and background information (irrigation and general water uses, stock drinking water, aquaculture and human consumers of aquatic foods). In: ANZECC/ARMCANZ (Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand): Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality. vol 3, Department of the Environment, Australian Government, Sydney, AustraliaGoogle Scholar
  2. Ayers RS, Westcot DW (1994) Water quality for agriculture. FAO irrigation and drainage paper 29 Rev. 1. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  3. Beijing Water Authority (2013) Beijing water resources bulletin. Beijing Water Authority, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  4. Capra A, Scicolone B (1998) Water quality and distribution uniformity in drip/trickle irrigation systems. J Agric Eng Res 70(4):355–365. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Carrow RN, Duncan RR, Huck MT (2008) Turfgrass and landscape irrigation water quality: assessment and management. CRC Press, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen W, He Z, Yang X, Mishra S, Stoffella PJ (2010) Chlorine nutrition of higher plants: progress and perspectives. J Plant Nutr 33:943–952. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen W, Lyu S, Jiao W, Wang M, Chang AC (2013) Reclaimed water: a safe irrigation water source? Environ Dev 8: 74–83. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dehghanisanij H, Yamamoto T, Ahmad BO, Fujiyama H, Miyamoto K (2005) The effects of chlorine on emitter clogging induced by algae and protozoa and the performance of drip irrigation. Trans ASAE 48:519–527. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ebrahimizadeh MA, Amiri MJ, Eslamian SS (2009) The effects of different water qualities and irrigation methods on soil chemical properties. Res J Environ Sci 3:497–503. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Elgallal M, Fletcher L, Evans B (2016) Assessment of potential risks associated with chemicals in wastewater used for irrigation in arid and semiarid zones: a review. Agric Water Manag 177:419–431. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. English SD (1985) Filtration and water treatment for microirrigation: drip/trickle irrigation in action. In: International Drip/Trickle Irrigation Congress: Proceeding of international drip/trickle irrigation congress. ASAE, St. Joseph, Michigan, pp 50–68Google Scholar
  12. Feigin A, Ravina I, Shalhere J (1991) Irrigation with treated sewage effluent. Management for environmental protection. Advanced series in agricultural sciences, vol 17. Springer, Berlin, pp 1–216Google Scholar
  13. Feng J, Li Y, Wang W, Song X (2018) Effect of optimization forms of flow path on emitter hydraulic and anti-clogging performance in drip irrigation system. Irrig Sci 36(1):37–47. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Guan SY (1986) Soil enzyme and its research methods. Beijing Agriculture Press, Beijing (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  15. Hills DJ, Tajrishy MA, Tchobanoglous G (2000) The influence of filtration on ultraviolet disinfection of secondary effluent for microirrigation. Trans ASAE 43(6):1499–1505. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jnad I, Lesikar B, Kenimer A, Sabbagh G (2001) Subsurface drip dispersal of residential effluent: I. Soil chemical characteristics. Trans ASAE 44:1149–1157. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Li Y, Li J (2010) Effect of chlorination on yield and nitrogen uptake of tomato and emitter clogging in a drip irrigation system with sewage effluent. Trans CSAE 26(2):18–24. (In Chinese with English abstract)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Li J, Chen L, Li Y (2009) Comparison of clogging in drip emitters during application of sewage effluent and groundwater. Trans ASABE 52(4):1203–1211. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Li J, Chen L, Li Y, Yin J, Zhang H (2010) Effects of chlorination schemes on clogging in drip emitters during applications of sewage effluent. Appl Eng Agric 26:565–578. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Li J, Li Y, Zhang H (2012) Tomato yield and quality and emitter clogging as effected by chlorination schemes of drip irrigation systems applying sewage effluent. J Integr Agric 11(10):1744–1754. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Li Y, Li J, Zhang H (2014) Effects of chlorination on soil chemical properties and nitrogen uptake for tomato drip irrigated with secondary sewage effluent. J Integr Agric 13(9):2049–2060. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liu W, Zhao J, Ouyang Z, Söderlund L, Liu G (2005) Impacts of sewage irrigation on heavy metal distribution and contamination in Beijing, China. Environ Int 31(6):805–812. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Lyu S, Chen W, Zhang W, Fan Y, Jiao W (2016) Wastewater reclamation and reuse in China: opportunities and challenges. J Environ Sci 39(1):86–96. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ma G, Chen M, Li C, Shi W, Feng Q (1993) Effects of Cl on transformation of nitrogenous fertilizers, microbes and enzyme activities in soil. J Zhejiang Agric Univ 19(4):437–440Google Scholar
  25. Mass EV (1990) Crop salt tolerance. In: Tanji KK (ed) Agricultural salinity assessment and management. American Society of Civil Engineers, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Ministry of Agriculture of People’s Republic of China (2006) NY/T 1121.17-2006: soil test. Part 17: method for determination of soil chloride iron content, China (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  27. Nakayama FS, Bucks DA (1981) Emitter clogging effects on trickle irrigation uniformity. Trans ASAE 24(1):77–80. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Nukaya AW, Hashimoto H (2000) Effects of nitrate, chlorine and sulfate ratios and concentration in the nutrient solution on yield, growth and mineral uptake characteristics of tomato plants grown in closed rockwool system. Acta Hortic 511:165–171. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Parker MB, Gaines TP, Gascho GJ (1985) Chloride effects on corn. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 16(12):1319–1333. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pedrero F, Kalavrouziotis I, Alarcón JJ, Koukoulakis P, Asano T (2010) Use of treated municipal wastewater in irrigated agriculture—review of some practices in Spain and Greece. Agric Water Manag 97(9):1233–1241. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Pitts DJ, Haman DZ, Smajstrla AG (2003) Causes and prevention of emitter plugging in microirrigation systems. Bulletin vol 258. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, GainesvilleGoogle Scholar
  32. Qiu Z, Li J, Zhao W (2017a) Effect of applying sewage effluent with subsurface drip irrigation on soil enzyme activities during the maize growing season. Irrig Drain. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Qiu Z, Li J, Zhao W (2017b) Effects of lateral depth and irrigation level on nitrate and Escherichia coli leaching in the North China Plain for subsurface drip irrigation applying sewage effluent. Irrig Sci 35(6):469–482. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Ravina I, Paz E, Sofer Z, Marcu A, Schischa A, Sagi G (1992) Control of emitter clogging in drip irrigation with reclaimed wastewater. Irrig Sci 13(3):129–138. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rubens DC, Ronaldo SR (2001) Biological clogging of Netafim’s drippers and recovering process through chlorination impact treatment. In: ASAE meeting Presentation Paper Number, p 012231Google Scholar
  36. Santos LNS, Matsura EE, Gonçalves IZ, Barbosa EAA, Nazário AA, Tuta NF, Elaiuy MCL, Feitosa DRC, de Sousa ACM (2016) Water storage in the soil profile under subsurface drip irrigation: evaluating two installation depths of emitters and two water qualities. Agric Water Manag 170(31):91–98. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Song P, Li Y, Zhou B, Zhou C, Zhang Z, Li J (2017) Controlling mechanism of chlorination on emitter bio-clogging for drip irrigation using reclaimed water. Agric Water Manag 184:36–45. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tabatabai MA (1994) Soil enzyme. In: Weaver RW, Angel S, Bettomley P, Bezdicek D, Smith S, Tabatabai A, Wollum A (eds) Method of soil analysis: Part 2 microbiological and biochemical properties. Soil Science Society of America, Madison, pp 755–833Google Scholar
  39. Tajrishy MA, Hills DJ, Tchobanoglous G (1994) Pretreatment of secondary effluent for drip irrigation. J Irrig Drain Eng ASCE 120:716–731. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Toze S (2006) Reuse of effluent water—benefits and risks. Agric Water Manag 80(1–3):147–159. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Van Donk SJ, Petersen JL, Davison DR (2013) Effect of amount and timing of subsurface drip irrigation on corn yield. Irrig Sci 31(4):599–609. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wang Z, Li J, Li Y (2014) Effect of drip irrigation system uniformity and nitrogen applied on deep percolation and nitrate leaching during growing seasons of spring maize in semi-humid region. Irrig Sci 32(3):221–236. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yang LS, Zhang YT, Huang XC, Zhang YQ, Zhao YN, Shi XJ (2016) Effects of long-term application of chloride containing fertilizers on the biological fertility of purple soil under a rice-wheat rotation system. Sci Agric Sin 49(4):686–694 (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  44. Zhou B, Li Y, Song P, Zhou Y, Yu Y, Bralts V (2017a) Anti-clogging evaluation for drip irrigation emitters using reclaimed water. Irrig Sci 35(3):181–192. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zhou B, Wang T, Li Y, Bralts V (2017b) Effects of microbial community variation on bio-clogging in drip irrigation emitters using reclaimed water. Agric Water Manag 194:139–149. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zou CM, Gao JS, Wang BR, Shen HP (2004) Effects of long-term application of chloride-containing or sulfur-containing fertilizers on the soil property. J Nanjing Agric Univ 27(1):117–119. (in Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fengzhen Hao
    • 1
  • Jiusheng Li
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zhen Wang
    • 1
  • Yanfeng Li
    • 1
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Simulation and Regulation of Water Cycle in River BasinChina Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower ResearchBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations