Land application of biosolids from processed sewage sludge may deteriorate soil, water, and plants. We investigated the impact of the N-Viro biosolids land-application on the quality of the soil water that moved through Orthic Humo-Ferric Podzols soil of Nova Scotia (NS) at the Wild Blueberry Research Institute, Debert, NS Canada. In addition, the response of major soilproperties and crop yield was also studied. Wild blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium. Ait) was grown under irrigated and rainfed conditions in 2008 and 2009. Four experimental treatments including (i) NI: N-Viro irrigated, (ii) NR: N-Viro rainfed, (iii) FI: inorganic fertilizer irrigated, and (iv) FR: inorganic fertilizer rainfed (control) were replicated 4 times under randomized complete block design. Soil samples were collected at the end of each year and analyzed for changes in cation exchange capacity (CEC), soil organic matter (SOM), and pH.Soil water samples were collected four times during the study period from the suction cup lysimeters installed within and below crop root zone at 20 and 40 cm depths, respectively. The samples were analyzed for a range of water quality parameters including conductance, hardness, pH, macro- and micronutrients, and the infectious pathogens Escherichia coli (E. coli) and salmonella. Berries were harvested for fruit yield estimates. Irrigation significantly increased CEC during 2008 and the soil pH decreased from 4.93 (2008) to 4.79 (2009). There were significant influences of irrigation, fertilizer, and their interaction, in some cases, on most of the soil water quality parameters except on the infectious bacteria. No presence of E. coli or salmonella were observed in soil and water samples, reflecting the absence of these bacteria in bio-solids used in this experiment. Nutrient concentration in the soil water samples collected from the four treatments were higher in the sequence NI > NR > FI > FR. The irrigation treatment had significant effect on the unripe fruit yield. We conclude that the comparable performance of N-Viro bio-solids and the increasing prices of inorganic fertilizers would compel farmers to use economically available N-Viro biosolids that, coupled with the supplemental irrigation, did not deteriorate the studied soil properties, soil water quality, and the wild blueberry yield during this experiment.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Journal of Environmental Science and Health - Part B Pesticides, Food Contaminants, and Agricultural Wastes|
|Publication status||Published - May 2011|
- N-Viro biosolids
- Water quality
- Wild blueberry