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Evaluation of the potential to dispose of sewage-sludge. 1. Soil hydraulic and overland-flow properties of Pinus plantations in Queensland

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Constantini, A., Loch, R.J., Glanville, S.F. and Orange, D.N. (1995) Evaluation of the potential to dispose of sewage-sludge. 1. Soil hydraulic and overland-flow properties of Pinus plantations in Queensland. Australian Journal of Soil Research, 33 (6). pp. 1041-1052. ISSN 0004-9573


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/SR9951041


The studies reported in this paper were designed to evaluate the potential for disposal of sewage sludge in commercial Pinus plantations at Beerburrum, 50 km north of Brisbane. Soil descriptions and measurements of hydraulic properties were made in three soils, covering the range of perceived site suitability for sludge application. Disc permeameters and a rainfall simulator were used to characterize surface infiltration properties both with and without sludge, and ponded rings were used to assess permeability of the upper B horizon. Although surface hydraulic conductivities were potentially high, infiltration into dry soil was reduced by water repellence associated with fungal matting at the soil surface and mycelia extending through the Al horizon. Surface runoff could be generated from dry soils by relatively low intensity rainfall events, and the rate and volume of runoff was not increased by broadcast sludge application. Hydraulic conductivities of the upper Bt horizons in the lateritic and yellow podzolic soils were high, suggesting that persistent perched watertable development was unlikely. However, the presence of bleached A2 horizons and gleyed Bt horizons with prominent mottling in these soils were interpreted as evidence of periodic regional ground-water intrusion. By contrast, hydraulic conductivity in the Bt horizon of the soloth was low, suggesting that locally restricted drainage occurs. Likely pathways of water movement were inferred for three representative soil types in the proposed sludge application project. There is potential for both Hortonian runoff when antecedent conditions are dry, and saturated runoff during prolonged wet periods. Potential off-site pollution could therefore occur if either solids or solutes from the sludge are susceptible to transport. In addition, preferential how paths of water infiltration were demonstrated, and the potential for accelerated water and solute movement to ground watertables was inferred. The studies reported in this, and the second, paper in the series were used to appraise the potential for either surface water or ground water pollution from land-based sludge disposal.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Pinus, sludge disposal, infiltration, rainfall simulation, water repellency
Subjects:Forestry > Research. Experimentation
Forestry > Forest soils
Live Archive:16 Apr 2024 23:09
Last Modified:16 Apr 2024 23:09

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