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Quality and Quantity of Leachate in Land Application Systems

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2007 ASAE Annual Meeting  074079.(doi:10.13031/2013.23103)
Authors:   Runbin Duan, Clifford B Fedler
Keywords:   Keywords: Wastewater, nitrogen, salt, water balance, water reuse

Wastewater land application has been considered as one of pathways to reduce the pressure on fresh water resources for irrigation use throughout the world. Two concerns with land application of wastewater are the potential of nitrogen contamination of groundwater and salt accumulation in soils. Current design procedures of surface application systems are required to be optimized to protect groundwater from potential pollution and protect soils from degradation. This research provides a new model design for surface application systems under common climate and soil conditions for safe disposal of wastewater while saving fresh water resources. The procedure is developed based on water, nitrogen, and salt balances to restrict leaching while meeting the salt leaching requirements of the plant used. Another objective of this research is to model the quality and quantity of leachate water passing through root zone in a land application system based on this proposed design approach. Data were collected from a local land application site where Bermuda grass is grown using a solid set irrigation system and wastewater from an aerobic pond treatment system. Deep percolate water is collected in lysimeter type samplers and analyzed approximately monthly. Soil samples have also been collected for analysis in the mass balance analyses. The data shows that the total nitrogen concentration in the leachate is less than 5 mg/L and typically less than 2 mg/L. Salt concentration varies with designed leaching ranging from 1100 to 2500 µS/cm.

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