Impact of brackish groundwater and treated wastewater on soil chemical and mineralogical properties

Jeffry Tahtouh, Rabi Mohtar, Amjad Assi, Paul Schwab, Anish Jantrania, Youjun Deng, Clyde Munster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

The long-term effect of using treated wastewater is not clearly defined: some researchers argue that it is better than freshwater for the soil health; others disapprove, claiming that irrigation with unconventional water resources causes soil degradation. This study assesses the impact of irrigation with non-traditional water on the chemical and mineralogical properties of a calcareous clayey soil from West Texas. The exponential rise in population and the realities of climate change contribute to the global increase in freshwater scarcity: non-conventional water sources, such as treated wastewater (TWW) and brackish groundwater (BGW), offer potentially attractive alternative water resources for irrigated agriculture. For this research, the differences between TWW and BGW were addressed by collecting and analyzing water samples for salt and nutrient content. Soil samples from three horizons (Ap, A, and B) were obtained from three different fields: Rainfed (RF), BGW irrigated, and TWW irrigated. Soil was analyzed for texture, salinity, sodicity, and carbon content. Clay mineralogy of the three different fields was analyzed using the B-horizons. The outcomes from the analysis showed that the BGW from the Lipan aquifer has higher salinity and is harder compared to TWW. Although the exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP), sodium adsorption ratio (SAR), and electroconductivity (EC) increased marginally compared to the control soil (RF), the soils were in good health, all the values of interest (SAR < 13, ESP < 15, pH < 8.5, and EC < 4) were low, indicating no sodicity or salinity problems. Smectite, illite, and kaolinite were identified in the three B-horizon samples using bulk X-ray diffraction (XRD). Overall, no major changes were observed in the soil. Thus, TWW and BGW are viable replacements for freshwater irrigation in arid and semi-arid regions.

LanguageEnglish
Pages99-109
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume647
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2019

Fingerprint

Groundwater
Wastewater
Soils
wastewater
groundwater
sodium
sodicity
soil
Sodium
Irrigation
irrigation
salinity
Water resources
water resource
adsorption
Water
soil degradation
calcareous soil
Health
semiarid region

Keywords

  • Brackish groundwater
  • Irrigated agriculture
  • Non-traditional water sources
  • Soil chemistry
  • Soil mineralogy
  • Treated wastewater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

Cite this

Impact of brackish groundwater and treated wastewater on soil chemical and mineralogical properties. / Tahtouh, Jeffry; Mohtar, Rabi; Assi, Amjad; Schwab, Paul; Jantrania, Anish; Deng, Youjun; Munster, Clyde.

In: Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 647, 10.01.2019, p. 99-109.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Tahtouh, Jeffry ; Mohtar, Rabi ; Assi, Amjad ; Schwab, Paul ; Jantrania, Anish ; Deng, Youjun ; Munster, Clyde. / Impact of brackish groundwater and treated wastewater on soil chemical and mineralogical properties. In: Science of the Total Environment. 2019 ; Vol. 647. pp. 99-109.
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