Reuse of treated wastewater and sewage sludge for fertilization and irrigation

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The objective of the present work was to assess the short term potential of treated wastewater and sewage sludge for ornamental lawn fertilization and irrigation. A field experiment was performed and the following treatments were considered: sewage sludge application + irrigation with public water; sewage sludge application + irrigation with treated wastewater; irrigation with public water; irrigation with treated wastewater (TW). Irrigation with treated wastewater showed a positive effect on lawn installation through higher growth of grass (1,667 cm) and higher dry matter yield (18,147 g m−2). These results represent a significant increase in the grass yield compared with public water irrigation. The grass height (2,606 cm) and dry matter yield (23,177 g m−2) increased even more, when sewage sludge produced in the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) was applied to soil, which proves once more its benefits as an organic fertilizer. At the end of the experiment, an increase of some soil parameters (pH, electrical conductivity, organic matter, Ca2+, Na+, K+, Mg2+ and NH4+) was observed, indicating that treated wastewater irrigation can cause a soil sodization. This short term study indicated that use of treated wastewater and sewage sludge for ornamental lawn fertilization and irrigation is an environmentally sustainable option for re-use of the WWTP by-products.

Keywords: fertilization, irrigation, lawn, nitrogen, sewage sludge, treated wastewater

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