Impacts of Municipal Wastewater on Basic Soil Properties as Evaluated by Soil Column Leaching Experiment in Laboratory
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Functional relationships between wastewater-induced predictors (e.g., organic carbon, OC) and amended soil properties are needed to develop pedo-transfer functions for wastewater-amended/-irrigated soils. The objective of this study was to determine the impacts of municipal wastewater on soil health and develop functional relationships between wastewater-amended soil hydro-physico-chemical properties. The objectives were realized by conducting laboratory experiments on repacked columns of four typical agricultural soils. The soil columns, after primary settlement over 7 months, were conditioned by applying tap water over 6 months and then a typical quality wastewater in nine irrigations (total 90 cm, equivalent to irrigation requirement for three wheat seasons) over the next 8 months with an irrigation interval of 25 days. Each irrigation amounting 10 cm wastewater was applied in 5 days (2 cm d−1). Wastewater significantly (p < 0.05) elevated OC (13.85%) but reduced bulk density (3.73%) of the soils; bulk density decreased linearly with OC with a strong correlation (r2 = 0.90). The negative correlation between pore-size distribution index and clay content of the soils became significant (p < 0.05) after wastewater treatment. Plant available soil-water content increased linearly (r2 = 0.71) with increasing micro-porosity. The magnitudes of soil-properties change are however soil- and wastewater-type dependent functions. Municipal wastewater can be used to improve hydro-physico-chemical properties of soils and the strong functional relationships between wastewater-amended predictors (e.g., OC) and predictands (e.g., bulk density) can be used for designing and managing soil amendment and irrigation with wastewater.
KeywordsWastewater Irrigation Soil amendment Functional model
This study was done under the “VLIR-Own Initiatives” program with the Bangladesh Agricultural University at Mymensingh.
This study was funded by the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation (DGDC) through the “Vlaamse Interuniversitaire Raad” (VLIR; Flemish Interuniversity Council) (grant number ZEIN2005PR317).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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