Agronomic Issues with Alum-Sludge
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A two year field experiment was established to investigate the use of alum sludge from wastewater treatment for cereal production. Alum sludge (5.0% N, 3.7% P, 7.5% Al) was applied at six rates (0, 3.4, 6.7, 10.1, 13.5 and 20.1 Mg DS ha-1) on a P deficient sand, supplying up to 744 kg P ha-1 at the highest rate. In addition, one rate of inorganic fertiliser at district practice was applied, containing 72 kg N ha-1 and 20 kg P ha-1, this was reapplied in the second year. The inorganic fertiliser treatment yielded 44-58% higher than the nil fertiliser treatment at final grain harvest, demonstrating the requirement for applied N and P on this site for crop production. Alum sludge was an adequate source of nitrogen (N) for crop growth as indicated by plant tissue N content, and supplied sufficient residual N to meet crop requirements in the second year.However, grain yield in alum sludge treatments was reduced to 62% (year 1) and 69% (year 2) of the yield in the inorganic fertiliser treatment, though greater than the nil fertiliser treatment in both years. Plant shoot tissue analysis at 9 weeks after establishment at the tillering stage of development indicated that plants sown in alum sludge-amended soil and in the nil fertiliser treatment were P deficient, whereas P was adequate in the inorganic fertiliser treatment. There was no evidence of any other nutrient deficiency in plant shoot samples besides P. Therefore, it is suggested that on this P deficient soil, the ability of alum sludge to provide P for plant production was limited in the two years after application.
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Rigby, H.; Pritchard, Deborah (2009)Effluent discharged from wastewater treatment plants to inland water bodies has the potential to cause eutrophication unless the phosphorus (P) concentration is reduced by methods such as dosing with alum (Al2(SO4)3), to ...
Rigby, Hannah; Pritchard, Deborah; Collins, D.; Walton, K.; Penney, N. (2013)Alum sludge from wastewater treatment was applied at five rates on a phosphorus-deficient sand, and the effects on cereal growth and nutrition were investigated over 2 years. An inorganic fertilizer treatment, reapplied ...
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