Irrigation with Treated Wastewater: Quantification of Changes in Soil Physical and Chemical Properties
- *Corresponding Author:
- Manoj K. Shukla
Dept. of Plant and Environmental Sciences
New Mexico State University, New Mexico 88003-8003, USA
E-mail: [email protected]
Received November 21, 2013; Accepted January 23, 2014; Published January 28, 2014
Citation: Adhikari P, Shukla MK, Mexal JG, Daniel D (2014) Irrigation with Treated Wastewater: Quantification of Changes in Soil Physical and Chemical Properties. Irrigat Drainage Sys Eng 3:117. doi:10.4172/2168-9768.1000117
Copyright: © 2014 Adhikari P, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Land application of treated wastewater is increasing particularly in areas where water stress is a major concern. The primary objective of this study was to quantify the effect of irrigation with aerated lagoon treated wastewater on soil properties. Core and bulk soil samples were collected from areas under the canopies of mesquite and creosote and intercanopy areas from each of the three plots. Irrigation water quality from 2006 to 2008 showed that average sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), electrical conductivity (EC) and pH of irrigation water were 37.16, 5.32 dS m-1 and 9.7, respectively. The sprinkler uniformity coefficients of irrigated plot-I was 49.34 ± 2.23 % and irrigated plot-II was 61.57 ± 2.11 %. Within irrigated and between irrigated and un-irrigated plots, most soil physical properties remained similar except saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) which was significantly higher under mesquite canopies than in the intercanopy areas. Chloride (Cl-) concentrations below 60 cm depth were higher under creosote than mesquite canopies in irrigated plots indicating deeper leaching of Cl-. Nitrate (NO3 -) concentrations below 20 cm depth under canopy and intercanopy areas were low indicating no leaching of NO3 -.The average SAR to 100 cm depth under shrub canopies was 18.46 ± 2.56 in irrigated plots compared to 2.94 ± 0.79 in the un-irrigated plot. The Na+ content of creosote was eleven times higher un-irrigated than un-irrigated plot and Na+ content of herbaceous vegetation was three times higher in the irrigated than unirrigated. Thus irrigation with high sodium wastewater has exacerbated the soil sodicity and plant Na+ content. Since the majority of mesquite roots are found within 100 cm, and creosote and herbaceous vegetation roots are found within 25 cm from soil surface, a further increase in sodicity may threaten the survival of woody and perennial herbaceous vegetation of the study site.