SLUDGE APPLICATION EFFECTS ON RUNOFF, INFILTRATION, ANDWATERQUALITY
JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN WATER RESOURCES ASSOCIATION , 29 , 1993

Bruggeman, A.C., Mostaghimi, S.

ABSTRACT: Land application of sewage sludge requires careful monitoring because of its potential for contamination of surface water and ground water. A rainfall simulator was used th investigate the effects of freshly applied sludge on infiltration, and on runoff of sediment and nutrients from agricultural crop lands. Rain was applied to 16 experimental field plots. A three-run sequence was used to simulate different initial moisture conditions. Runoff, sediment, and nutrient losses were monitored at the base of each plot during the simulated rainfall events. Sludge was surface applied and incorporated at conventionally-tilled plots and surface applied at no-till plots, at rates of 0, 75, 150 kg-N/ha. Steady-state infiltrability increased as a result of sludge application, although the no-till practice was more effective in increasing the infiltrability than the sludge application. No-till practices greatly reduced runoff, sediment, and nutrient losses from the sludge treated plots, relative to the conventional tillage practices. Incorporation of the sludge was effective in reducing nutrient yields at the conventionally-tilled plots. This effect was more pronounced during the third rainstorm, with wet initial conditions. Peak loadings of nutrients appeared during the rainstorm with wet initial conditions.