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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Multiple Applications of Paper Mill Sludge in an Agricultural System: Soil Effects


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 6, p. 1975-1981
    Received: Jan 24, 2000

    * Corresponding author(s): lzibilske@weslaco.ars.usda.gov
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  1. L. M. Zibilske *,
  2. W. M. Clapham and
  3. R. V. Rourke
  1. D ep. of Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 04401-5722.
    A ppalachian Soil and Water Conservation Research Lab., USDA-ARS, P.O. Box 400, Beaver, WV 25813-0400.
    D ep. of Plant & Soil Sciences, Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 04469-5722.



Little information exists regarding the effects of field-scale application of paper mill sludge on soil properties. A 5-yr field study determined the long-term effects of land application of paper mill sludge on an agricultural soil. The goal of this study was to determine the responses of soil chemical and physical properties to multiple applications of sludge. Five rates of sludge application were tested, ranging from 0 to 225 Mg ha−1 in multiple applications under three management protocols: applied once, applied in alternate years, or applied annually. Results indicate strong relationships between added sludge C and several soil physical properties. Increases or maintenance of soil C were observed when sludge was applied annually or biennially, but little residual effect of the single application was seen after 5 yr. Significant increases were observed in soil aggregation and moisture holding properties at higher rates of sludge application and when cumulative C additions reached 225 Mg ha−1 in other sludge application rates. It was concluded that long-term paper mill sludge application can be managed to effect positive changes in soil physical properties that are correlated to soil quality.

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