State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2009NM103B
Title: Land application of industrial effluent on a Chihuahuan Desert ecosystem: Impact on soil physical and hydraulic properties
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: 2
Focus Categories: Wastewater, Solute Transport, Wastewater
Principal Investigator: Shukla, Manoj ; Mexal, John G. ; Sammis, Theodore
Federal Funds: $ 30,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 13,530
Abstract: Land application of industrial effluent could be beneficial especially in areas where water stress is a major concern primarily due to limited water resources, higher water demands and limited economic resources. Only few researches have been conducted to determine the influence of biologically treated wastewater in the native terrestrial ecosystem of the southwestern region of US and Mexico. The West Mesa Industrial Park near Las Cruces, New Mexico USA has applied industrial effluent since 2002 to 36-ha of Chihuahuan Desert native vegetation (e.g. mesquite and creosote) by fixed-head sprinkler irrigation system. From the beginning of 2002 different researches on biomass and mineral concentration, influence of effluent irrigation on soil physical and hydraulic properties has been going on the small area of entire 36 ha area. The objectives of this study are to (i) determine the variability of soil chemical and hydraulic properties in the entire 36 ha area, (ii) model soil moisture, salinity and temperature in the field during irrigation cycles using time domain reflectometry (TDR) sensors, (Campbell Scientific Inc. model TDR-100 sensors), and temperature sensors, and (iii) determine the infiltration into the soil by using tension infiltrometer (Soil Measurement System). Two stations will be established to install TDR and temperature sensors, one in the southeast corner and one will be in the middle of the study area and data. About 60 core and bulk soil samples at a spatial grid of 50x50 m will be collected from the entire 36 ha area. Additional samples will be collected to take into account the variability at smaller legs. All the samples will be analyzed for bulk density, hydraulic conductivity, moisture retention, pH, electrical conductivity, sodium adsorption ratio, exchangeable sodium percentage, nitrate and organic matter. Several nonrecording rainguages have been installed in the experimental plots. The precipitation and effluent collected will be measured about four times during the year. The geospatial analysis of the soil properties will be done by Variowin (Pannatier, 1996) and ArcGIS geostatistical Analyst to analyze the spatial structure of the data and to define the semivariograms and cross-variograms of each soil property. We will use kriging to develop continuous maps of all of the individual attributes and to quantify the interactive effects of land use and management practices on soil properties and yields. Distinct classes of spatial dependence for each soil variable will be obtained by the ratio of the nugget to the total sill value. The project will try to relate the spatial variability of wastewater application to that of the soil properties.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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