WIT Press

Systems For The Sustainable Management Of Agricultural Wastewaters


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WIT Press


S. Barrington, I. Ali, S. Morin & J. Whalen


Agricultural enterprises produce wastewaters in large quantities and from multiple sources. These wastewaters offer relatively low levels of nutrients and conventional land spreading equipment cannot apply these at a sustainable rate of 1000m3/ha. Two new application technologies were developed to better use the nutrients of these wastewaters in a sustainable fashion, while also using the water applied to the crop and reducing the application costs: a modified surfaced irrigation method and a modified seepage field associated with an organic matter trap and septic tank. The project tested the performance of both systems to obtain the best management practices. The modified surface irrigation system performed with minimal environmental impact when using a plot larger than that required for infiltration and applying the wastewater on dry soils using recommended irrigation rates. The adapted surface irrigation technique reduced the land spreading costs from $3.50 to $1.00 Can m-3. The modified seepage field coupled with a septic tank worked well for the disposal of milk house wastewaters when managing the sediments and milk fat. The modified seepage field had limited impact on groundwater quality, but provided crop nutrients and reduced the investment cost of a treatment system for milk house wastewaters $15 000 to $6 000 Ca., for a 60 cows dairy herd. Keywords: agricultural wastewater, sustainable and economical treatment. 1 Introduction Agricultural enterprises produce large volumes of wastewaters which are generally costly to handle because of their low nutrient content [1]. These wastewaters consist mainly of manure seepage produced from the decomposition


agricultural wastewater, sustainable and economical treatment.