Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2011KY166B

Sewage to fertilizer: a proposed solution to water pollution

Institute: Kentucky
Year Established: 2011 Start Date: 2011-03-01 End Date: 2012-02-29
Total Federal Funds: $5,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $14,653

Principal Investigators: Rebecca Kelley

Abstract: Recent research showed that growing algae significantly reduces the nutrient content of sewage and polluted runoff. Some studies demonstrated that dried algae and algal extracts used as fertilizers improve productivity and yield of several food crops. Little work has been done using Cladophora, a common filamentous algae that grows well in the laboratory. Here, growing Cladophora in a sanitized sewage effluent and using the harvested biomass as fertilizer in experimental treatments of tomato seedlings is proposed. Data collection will include analysis of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) reduction in sewage, as well as N, P, and potassium (K) concentration in Cladophora. The projected outcome of this study includes calculation of nutrient uptake rates by Cladophora, and germination, growth rates, and fruit production of tomato plants grown in soil amended with Cladophora.