Contribution of sewage sludge to erosion control in the rehabilitation of limestone quarries

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of high doses of municipal sludge on soil aggregation and to assess its value for soil erosion reduction, both under natural and in simulated rainfall conditions. Doses of 200 and 400 Mg ha-1sewage sludge (dry weight) were applied to the soil of experimental plots situated on a 28 degree slope. Two sludge application procedures were tested: pre-mixing into the soil before disposal on the slope, and direct application on the soil surface. Sheet erosion was measured by collecting the sediment carried down to a Gerlach trough situated at the base of the plots. Simulated rainfall, with an intensity of 64 mm h-1, was applied to evaluate soil erodibility. When the soil had no vegetation, the erosion measured on plots treated with sludge represented less than 10 per cent of the erosion from the control plot. Even when the vegetation was well developed, the erosion was also lower in the plots where sludge had been applied. In simulated rainfall, the soil loss was inversely proportional to the sludge dose, and when sludge was applied directly on the soil surface the erosion rates and particle mobilization caused by raindrop impact were minimal. Sludge amendments increase infiltration rates and improve soil structure, increasing the mean weight diameter of aggregates and their water resistance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
JournalLand Degradation and Development
Volume7
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1996

Keywords

  • Aggregate stability
  • Rainfall simulator
  • Runoff
  • Sewage sludge
  • Sheet erosion
  • Soil rehabilitation
  • Splash

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