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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 7 No. 2, p. 193-196
    Received: July 13, 1977

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Elimination of Fecal Coliform Bacteria from Soil Irrigated with Municipal Sewage Lagoon Effluent1

  1. R. G. Bell and
  2. J. B. Bole2



Unchlorinated sewage lagoon effluent was applied to a stand of reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) each week at a rate equal to the weekly difference between evapotranspiration and precipitation of the preceding week, about 4.5 cm. Most of the fecal coliforms applied in the effluent were retained in the surface 8 cm of the Brown Cavendish loamy sand. During two growth periods preceding first and second harvests, when effluent was applied at weekly intervals, no bulldup of coliforms occurred in the surface soil nor did they penetrate the profile below 69 cm. Die-off of the fecal coliforms occurred in two phases: an initial rapid phase in which 90% of the bacteria died within 48 hours of irrigation and a subsequent slower decline over about 2 weeks as the remaining 10% were eliminated. The results are interpreted as indicating that the soil no longer constitutes a serious public health hazard for enteric diseases of bacterial etiology 2 weeks after irrigation with sewage lagoon effluent.

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