Phosphorus as a limiting factor on sustainable greywater irrigation

Turner, Ryan D.R., Will, Geoffrey D., Dawes, Les A., Gardner, Edward A., & Lyons, David J. (2013) Phosphorus as a limiting factor on sustainable greywater irrigation. Science of the Total Environment, 456-457, pp. 287-298.

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Water reuse through greywater irrigation has been adopted worldwide and has been proposed as a potential sustainable solution to increased water demands. Despite widespread adoption there is limited domestic knowledge of greywater reuse, there is no pressure to produce lowlevel phosphorus products and current guidelines and legislation, such as those in Australia, may be inadequate due to the lack of long-term data to provide a sound scientific basis.

Research has clearly identified phosphorus as a potential environmental risk to waterways from many forms of irrigation. To assess the sustainability of greywater irrigation, this study compared four residential lots that had been irrigated with greywater for four years and adjacent non-irrigated lots that acted as controls. Each lot was monitored for the volume of greywater applied and selected physic-chemical water quality parameters and soil chemistry profiles were analysed.

The non-irrigated soil profiles showed low levels of phosphorus and were used as controls. The Mechlich3 Phosphorus ratio (M3PSR) and Phosphate Environmental Risk Index (PERI) were used to determine the environmental risk of phosphorus leaching from the irrigated soils. Soil phosphorus concentrations were compared to theoretical greywater irrigation loadings. The measured phosphorus soil concentrations and the estimated greywater loadings were of similar magnitude.

Sustainable greywater reuse is possible; however incorrect use and/or a lack of understanding of how household products affect greywater can result in phosphorus posing a significant risk to the environment.

Impact and interest:

7 citations in Scopus
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5 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 62969
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: greywater, irrigation, water reuse, phosphorus
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.02.061
ISSN: 1879-1026
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Monitoring (050206)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > SOIL SCIENCES (050300) > Land Capability and Soil Degradation (050302)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENGINEERING (090000) > ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING (090700) > Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified (090799)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Chemistry, Physics & Mechanical Engineering
Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright Elsevier BV 2013
Copyright Statement: This is the author's version of a work that was accepted for publication in Science of the Total Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Science of the Total Environment, [456-457, (2013)]
Deposited On: 29 Sep 2013 23:06
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2015 01:48

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