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Effect of Sewage Sludge on Soil Physical Properties

Keywords: Bulk density , Hydraulic conductivity , Sewage sludge , Infiltration , Available moisture , Mean weight diameter (MWD)

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Abstract:

A field experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of sewage sludge and of time lapse after sludge application on soil physical properties. Four sewage sludge treatments (0, 25, 50, and 100 ton/ha) in a complete randomized block design with three replications were applied and mixed to a depth of 20 cm. Wheat was planted and soil physical properties were measured 23, 85, 148, and 221 days after sewage sludge application. Sewage sludge application significantly increased MWD, hydraulic conductivity, final infiltration rate, moisture percentage at 1/3 and 15 bars, and plant available soil moisture, while it significantly decreased soil bulk density. In general, the best results obtained with the 100 ton/ha sewage sludge treatment. Time lapse after sewage sludge application caused soil physical properties to approach the values of the control. However, even 221 days after sludge application, the 50 and 100 ton/ha treatments had significantly different values compared with the control treatment. The results in this research show that sewage sludge can help to improve soil physical conditions and this effect persists over long periods. This effect is specially important with plant available soil moisture and infiltration.

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