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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Nutrient Removal by Grasses Irrigated with Wastewater and Nitrogen Balance for Reed Canarygrass


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 2, p. 398-406
    Received: Dec 28, 1998

    * Corresponding author(s): Ulrika.Geber@evp.slu.se
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  1. Ulrika Geber *
  1. Department of Ecology and Crop Production Science, Box 7043, SE-750 07 Uppsala, Swedish Univ. of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden.



To develop complementary wastewater treatment systems that increase nutrient reduction and recycling, an experiment was conducted to evaluate the efficiency of three grass species as catch crops for N, P, and K at Surahammar wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in the southern part of Sweden. Another objective was also to assess soil accumulation of N, P, and K and the risk of N leaching by drainage. Three grasses—reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.), meadow foxtail (Alopecurus pratensis L.), and smooth bromegrass (Bromus inermis Leyss.)—were irrigated with a mixture of treated effluent and supernatant at two levels of intensity [optimum level (equal to evapotranspiration) and over-optimal level] and at two nutrient levels, approximately 150 and 300 kg N ha−1. There were small differences in dry matter (DM) yield between grass species and no difference in N removal among species. The amount of N removed in harvested biomass to N applied was 0.58 in 1995 and 0.63 in 1996. The amount of N removed increased with increased nutrient load. Applied amounts of P were the same as P in harvested biomass. All species removed K amounts several times greater than applied amounts. Increased nutrient load increased overall K removal. The low amount of mineral N and especially NO3-N in the soil profile in autumn samplings indicate the risk for leaching is small. Soil water NO3 contents were also low, <2.5 mg NO3-N L−1 during the growing season, with a mean value of <1 mg NO3-N L−1.

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