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Effect of Graywater Application for Landscape Irrigation on Soil Quality

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As communities throughout the United State and abroad are becoming interested in innovative approaches to water resource sustainability, household graywater reuse for residential landscape irrigation is gaining popularity. However, the application of graywater for irrigation may result in increased levels of pathogens, negative impacts to soil quality, potential groundwater contamination, or negative impacts to plant health. The objective of this research project is to elucidate information on the fate and occurrence of graywater chemical constituents and pathogens and their long-term potential impacts on soil quality, as a result of its application for residential landscape irrigation with the experiments on households with existing graywater irrigation systems. Data has been collected on soil quality from three homes with differing climatic and geological conditions that have had graywater irrigation systems in place for more than 5 years. SAR was higher in graywater irrigated locations than freshwater, but still below the level of concern for soil quality and plant health. Surfactants were also present in higher concentrations in graywater irrigated areas, but lower than biosolids ammended soils or areas receiving septic tank discharge. No clear trends were observed for presence of indicator organisms. Results from this study are preliminary and further data collected in the coming years will enable more strong conclusions.
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Keywords: antimicrobial; graywater irrigation; surfactants; water reuse

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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