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Australian National University (2011)

The impact of wastewater irrigation on soils in the ACT

Puttyfoot, Bronwyn Louise Yvonne

Titre : The impact of wastewater irrigation on soils in the ACT

Auteur : Puttyfoot, Bronwyn Louise Yvonne

Université de soutenance : Australian National University

Grade : Master of Philosophy 2011

Description partielle
Degrading catchments and water shortages are the most immediate and arguably the biggest environmental issues affecting the world today. In recent years, wastewater irrigation has gained popular support as a substitute to irrigation of potable water. The use of wastewater for irrigation is considered beneficial recycling of a limited resource ; in this case freshwater within Australia. Although it has economic, environmental and social benefits, it is sometimes questioned as an environmentally sound method, because wastewater irrigation has been shown to change the chemical, physical and biological properties of soil. Soil is an excellent medium for the removal of some contaminants in wastewater. However, there is a lack of in-depth knowledge and the need for further research into the influence of site conditions and climate which may inhibit the performance of the wastewater irrigation scheme. This research is focused on determining the impacts of wastewater irrigation on the chemical and physical properties of the soils at selected sites within the Australian Capital Territory. Specifically, this study of wastewater irrigation of urban greenspaces sets out to (a) determine the differences in chemical and physical properties of the irrigated soils to nearby control sites for a single time slice, and (b) evaluate any changes that occurred over a six-year monitoring period. Temporal data analysis for a six-year monitoring period of Southwell Park and North Canberra Water Reuse Scheme revealed some broadscale trends in the chemical and physical properties of wastewater-irrigated soils. Generally, the chemical properties pH, electrical conductivity (EC), total dissolved solids (TDS), and nutrients have increased and the physical property hydraulic conductivity has decreased over the monitoring period. Non-wastewater-irrigated (control) soils were used to provide background concentrations to assess the extent of change as a result of wastewater irrigation

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