Misra, Rabindra K. and Sivongxay, Amphone (2009) Reuse of laundry greywater as affected by its interaction with saturated soil. Journal of Hydrology, 366 (1-4). pp. 55-61. ISSN 0022-1694
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2008.12.010
Identification Number or DOI: doi: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2008.12.010
We conducted laboratory experiments on a well aggregated, non-swelling clay soil to measure water retention, saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ks) and salts present in the irrigation and drainage water to study the impacts of reusing untreated laundry greywater (GW) to irrigate soils in the residential garden beds. We used undisturbed (field) and disturbed (loose and compacted) soil cores to represent situations typical in old and recently established garden beds. Using tap water (TW), soil water retention within 0-10 kPa matric suction was found to be significantly lower and hysteresis significantly higher for the loose soil than the field or compacted soil. Measured values of Ks with TW were in the order loose >field >compacted soil, but these values were reduced to 5-16% when GW was used. Further measurements of Ks with application of TW to soil cores which had been previously saturated with GW, greater reduction in Ks occurred with Ks - 0 for the compacted soil. A comparison of the quality of GW with TW as irrigation water indicated an approx. increase in pH of GW by 3 pH units over TW, two-fold increase in EC, 5-fold increase in Na concentration and a 10-fold increase in Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR). Measurements of drainage water during the water flux measurements for Ks showed that the soil was able to reduce pH and EC of infiltrating water, store some salts (Na and K) and released Ca and Mg from soil so that the quality of drainage water improved substantially to become similar in quality to TW. Thus, long-term use of untreated laundry greywater may reduce salt contamination of groundwater, but predispose soils to future environmental hazards from excess sodium accumulation.
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