Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 30135
Effects of Reclaimed Agro-Industrial Wastewater for Long-Term Irrigation of Herbaceous Crops on Soil Chemical Properties

Authors: E. Tarantino, G. Disciglio, G. Gatta, L. Frabboni, A. Libutti, A. Tarantino


Worldwide, about two-thirds of industrial and domestic wastewater effluent is discharged without treatment, which can cause contamination and eutrophication of the water. In particular, for Mediterranean countries, irrigation with treated wastewater would mitigate the water stress and support the agricultural sector. Changing global weather patterns will make the situation worse, due to increased susceptibility to drought, which can cause major environmental, social, and economic problems. The study was carried out in open field in an intensive agricultural area of the Apulian region in Southern Italy where freshwater resources are often scarce. As well as providing a water resource, irrigation with treated wastewater represents a significant source of nutrients for soil–plant systems. However, the use of wastewater might have further effects on soil. This study thus investigated the long-term impact of irrigation with reclaimed agro-industrial wastewater on the chemical characteristics of the soil. Two crops (processing tomato and broccoli) were cultivated in succession in Stornarella (Foggia) over four years from 2012 to 2016 using two types of irrigation water: groundwater and tertiary treated agro-industrial wastewater that had undergone an activated sludge process, sedimentation filtration, and UV radiation. Chemical analyses were performed on the irrigation waters and soil samples. The treated wastewater was characterised by high levels of several chemical parameters including TSS, EC, COD, BOD5, Na+, Ca2+, Mg2+, NH4-N, PO4-P, K+, SAR and CaCO3, as compared with the groundwater. However, despite these higher levels, the mean content of several chemical parameters in the soil did not show relevant differences between the irrigation treatments, in terms of the chemical features of the soil.

Keywords: Agro-industrial wastewater, broccoli, long-term re-use, tomato.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 706


[1] ARTI (Agenzia Regionale per la Tecnologia e l’Innovazione), 2008. La domanda d’innovazione della filiera agroalimentare in Puglia, pp.144.
[2] T. Todolini, R. Tinelli, L. Tulipano, 1983. Discharge conditions and variation of the main hydrological parameters of some coastal Apulian springs relating to sea water influence of groundwater. Geology Applied Hydrogeology, 18, 117-127.
[3] V. Cotecchia, M. Polemio, 1996. L’inquinamento e il sovrasfruttamento delle risorse idriche sotterranee pugliesi. Workshop Progetto Strategico Clima, Ambiente e Territorio nel Mezzogiorno, Taormina.
[4] S. Toze, 2006. Reuse of effluent water - benefits and risks. Agricultural Water Management, 80, 147-159.
[5] R.M. Kirby, J. Bartram, R. Carr, 2003. Water in food production and processing: quantity and quality concerns. Food Control, 14, 283-299.
[6] M. Steele, J. Odumero, 2004. Irrigation water as source of foodborne pathogens on fruit and vegetables. Journal of Food Protection, 67, 2839-2849.
[7] G. Gatta, Libutti A., A. Gagliardi, L. Beneduce, L. Brusetti, L. Borruso, G. Disciglio, E. Tarantino, 2015. Treated agro-industrial wastewater irrigation of tomato crop: effects on qualitative/ quantitative characteristics of production and microbiological properties of the soil. Agricultural Water Management 149: 33-43.
[8] G. Gatta G., A. Libutti, A. Gagliardi , G. Disciglio, L. Beneduce, M. d’Antuono, M. Rendina, E. Tarantino, 2016. Effects of treated agro-industrial wastewater irrigation on tomato processing quality. Italian Journal of Agronomy 10(2), 97-100.
[9] E. Tarantino, A. Pollice, A. Libutti, P. Vergine, C. Salerno, G. Gatta , G. Disciglio, A. Gagliardi, L. Beneduce, G. Berardi, 2016. Treated agro-industrial wastewater for irrigation of herbaceous crops in succession AIIA 2015 International Mid - Term Conference, Naple 22-23 Giugno.
[10] R.G. Allen, L.S. Pereira, D. Raes, M. Smith, 1998. Crop Evapotranspiration Guidelines for Computing Crop Water Requirements. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Irrigation and Drainage Paper, n. 56, Rome.
[11] APAT IRSA-CNR, 2003.Analytical Methods for Water, Section 5150.Rome: APAT, Manuals and Guidelines, 29/2003.
[12] APHA, AWWA, WEF, 1998. Standard methods for examination of water and wastewater. 22nd ed. Washington: American Public Health Association; 2012, 1360 pp.
[13] A. Richards, 1954. Diagnosis and improvement of saline and alkali soils. USDA Agriculture Handbook, no 60, Washington D.C., 1954.
[14] S.R. Olsen, L.E. Sommers, 1954. Phosphorus: In Page A.L., Miller R.H., Keeney D.R., Editors, Methods of Soil Analysis, American Soc. Agron., Madison, Wisc, 403.430.
[15] A. Walkley, L.A. Black, 1934. An examination of the Degtjareff method for determining organic carbon in soils: effect of variations in digestion conditions and of inorganic soil constituents. Soil Science, 63, 251-263.
[16] D.R. Keeney, D.W. Nelson, 1982. Nitrogen inorganic forms”. Methods of soil analysis. Part. 2 2nd ed. Agr. Monogr. 9 ASA and SSA. Madison, USA, pp. 643-698, 1982.
[17] JMP, Statistical software (Version 8.1). SAS Institute. Inc, Cary, North Caroline 27513, 2008.
[18] Decree of the Ministry for the Environmental 2006. No 152. Gazzetta Ufficiale, Rome Aprile 14, 2006.
[19] J.A. Rodriguez-Liébana, S. El Gouzi, M.D. Mingorange, A. Castillo, A. Peña, 2014. Irrigation of a Mediterranean soil under field conditions with urban wastewater: effect on pesticide behavior. Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment, 185, 176-185.
[20] A. Lopez, A. Pollice, A. Lonigro, S. Masi, A.M. Palese, G.L. Cirelli, A. Toscano, R. Pasino, 2006. Agricultural wastewater reuse in southern Italy. Desalination 187, 323-334.
[21] A. Lonigro, P. Rubino, O. Brandonisio, R. Spinelli, A. Pollice, G. Laera, 2007. Vegetable crop irrigation with tertiary filtered municipal wastewater. Plant Biosystems, 141(2), 275-281.
[22] A.M Palese, V. Pasquale, G. Celano ,G. Figliolo, S. Masi, C., Xiloyannis, 2009. Irrigation of olive groves in southern Italy treated municipal wastewater: effects on microbiological quality of soil and fruits. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 129, 43-51.
[23] R.S. Ayers, D. Westcot, 1985. Water Quality for Agriculture. FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper No. 29. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), Rome.
[24] L.A. Shipper, J.C. Williamson, H.A., Kettles, T.W. Speir, 1996. Impact of land-applied tertuiary-treated effluent on soil biochemical properties. Journal of Environmental Quality, 25(5), 1073-1077.
[25] M.J.M., Rusan, S. Hinnawi, L., Rousan, 2007. Long-term effect of wastewater irrigation of forage crops on soil and plant quality parameters. Desalination, 215, 143-152.
[26] R.K., Rattan, S.P. Datta, P.K. Chhonkar, K. Suribabu, A.K., Sing, 2005. Long-term impact of irrigation with sewage effluents on heavy metal content in soil, crops and groundwater – a case study. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 109, 310-322.
[27] P. Sarah, 2004. Soil sodium and potassium adsorption ratio along a Mediterranean – arid transept. Journal of Arid Environments, 59, 731-741.
[28] S. Bedbabis, B. Ben Rouina, M. Boukhris, G. Ferrara, 2014. Effect of irrigation with treated wastewater on soil chemical properties and infiltration rate. Journal of Environmental Management 133, 45-50.
[29] L. Giardini, 1992. Agronomia Generale Ambientale e Aziendale. Patron Editore, pp 660.
[30] R. Duan, CB. Fedler, 2007. Quality and quality of leachate in land application systems. ASABE Annual International Meeting. Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN, June 17-20. Paper n. 074079.
[31] US Salinity Laboratory Staff 1954. Diagnostic and Improvement of Saline and Alkali Soils. In: Agriculture Handbook, vol. 60. US Department of Agriculture Washington DC, USA.
[32] V.E., Emongor, G.M. Ramolemana, 2004. Treated sewage effluent (water) potential to be used for horticultural production in Bostwana. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, 29, 1101-1108.
[33] M. Heidarpour, B. Mostafazadeh-Fard, J. Abedi Koupai, R. Malekian, 2007. The effects of treated wastewater on soil chemical properties using subsurface and surface irrigation methods. Agricultural Water Management 90, 87-94.
[34] B. Mechri, F. Ben Mariem, M. Baham, S. Ben Elhadj, M. Hammami, 2008. Change in soil properties and the soil microbiological community following land spreading of olive mill wastewater affects olive tree key physiological parameters and the abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 40, 152-161.
[35] B. Lanza, M.R. Mucciarella, F. Russi, E. Iannucci, P. Marfisi, A. Madeo, 2008. Effects of olive mill wastewater spreading on the physico-chemical and microbiological characteristics of soil. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 62, 403-407.