Impact of treated urban wastewater for reuse in agriculture on crop response and soil ecotoxicity

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 2016, 23 (16), pp. 15877 - 15887
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2015, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. The scarcity of freshwater resources is a serious problem in arid regions, such as Tunisia, and marginal quality water is gradually being used in agriculture. This study aims to study the impact of treated urban wastewater for reuse in agriculture on the health of soil and food crops. The key findings are that the effluents of Sfax wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) did not meet the relevant guidelines, therefore emitting a range of organic (e.g., up to 90 mg L−1 COD and 30 mg L−1 BOD5) and inorganic pollutants (e.g., up to 0.5 mg L−1 Cu and 0.1 mg L−1 Cd) in the receiving aquatic environments. Greenhouse experiments examining the effects of wastewater reuse on food plants such as tomato, lettuce, and radish showed that the treated effluent adversely affected plant growth, photosynthesis, and antioxidant enzyme contents. However, the pollution burden and biological effects on plants were substantially reduced by using a 50 % dilution of treated sewage effluent, suggesting the potential of reusing treated effluent in agriculture so long as appropriate monitoring and control is in place.
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