Effect of irrigation with anaerobic baffled reactor effluent on Swiss chard (Beta vulgaris cicla.) yield, nutrient uptake and leaching

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The disposal of treated wastewater from an anaerobic baffled reactor (ABR) effluent into water bodies can cause pollution. Treated wastewater management through irrigation of crops has the potential of increasing crop production through nutrient uptake while reducing the risks of environmental pollution. However, this study aimed to investigate the effect of irrigation with ABR effluent on Swiss chard yield, nutrient (N and P) uptake and leaching. Field experiments were done over three seasons at Newlands, Durban, South Africa. The experiments were laid out in a randomised complete block design with three treatments: ABR effluent irrigation (ABR), tap water irrigation with fertiliser (TWF) and rain-fed with fertiliser (RFF). Data were collected on nutrient (N and P) leaching at 30 and 50 cm depths, crop growth, soil chemical properties and nutrient uptake. Effects of irrigation with ABR effluent on soil chemical properties, Swiss chard growth, plant nutrient uptake and leaching were comparable to TWF and RFF treatments. This implies that irrigating crops with ABR effluent is a potential method for wastewater management in a manner that will not cause environmental pollution while benefiting peri-urban farmers.

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