Assessment of physical and chemical properties of sub-tropical soil to predict long term effluent treatment potential
Dawes, Les A., Goonetilleke, Ashantha, & Cox, Malcolm E. (2005) Assessment of physical and chemical properties of sub-tropical soil to predict long term effluent treatment potential. Soil and Sediment Contamination, 14(3), pp. 211-230.
On-site wastewater treatment systems aim to assimilate domestic effluent into the environment. Unfortunately failure of such systems is common and inadequate effluent treatment can have serious environmental implications. A research project was undertaken to determine the role of physical and chemical soil properties in the treatment performance of subsurface effluent disposal areas. Monitoring changes in these properties permit improved prediction of the treatment potential of a soil. The changes within soil properties of the disposal area due to effluent application were found to be directly related to the subsurface drainage characteristics including permeability, clay content and clay type. The major controlling soil physical and chemical attributes were found to be moderate drainage, significant soil cation exchange capacity and dominance of exchangeable Ca or exchangeable Mg over exchangeable Na, low exchangeable Na, clay type and a minimum depth of 0.4m of potential unsaturated soil before encountering a restrictive horizon. The study confirmed that both the physical properties and chemistry of the soil can be valuable predictive tools for evaluating the long term operation of sewage effluent disposal systems.
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