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Facultative lagoons and evaporation cells are commonly used by communities in the southwest U.S. to store, treat, and dispose of wastewater. The Pueblo of Acoma, New Mexico wastewater lagoon system was unable to adequately evaporate current and expected future sewage flows, and a permanent solution other than construction of additional lagoons was needed. A 12.6 acre reuse system based on saltgrass was developed for this domestic wastewater. A previously unused field was reclaimed as a reuse site. Reclamation consisted of removing existing vegetation, applying soil amendments, tillage, and leaching salts from the surface soil. Wastewater is conveyed to the field by means of a new pump and forcemain and is applied through a micro-sprinkler irrigation system. Saltgrass was established in the initial phase of the project because it is tolerant to the relatively high salinity and sodium content of both the soil and the wastewater that has accumulated in the lagoon system. After a few years of reclamation and expected improvements in irrigation water quality, other types of vegetation such as trees may be established that will allow increased hydraulic loading rates.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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