Source: AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE submitted to
WASTEWATER IRRIGATION AND GROUNDWATER RECHARGE
Sponsoring Institution
Agricultural Research Service/USDA
Project Status
NEW
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
0404754
Grant No.
(N/A)
Project No.
5344-13000-012-00D
Proposal No.
(N/A)
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
(N/A)
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2001
Project End Date
Jun 18, 2004
Grant Year
(N/A)
Project Director
WILLIAMS C F
Recipient Organization
AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE
(N/A)
PHOENIX,AZ 85040
Performing Department
(N/A)
Non Technical Summary
(N/A)
Animal Health Component
60%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
40%
Applied
60%
Developmental
0%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
1110210202050%
4030210202050%
Goals / Objectives
To develop design and management principles for the safe and sustainable use of treated sewage effluent for crop irrigation and potable water supplies. Emphasis will be on the long-term, effects of irrigation with conventionally treated effluent (including tertiary treatment) on underlying groundwater and on the role of artificial recharge for soilaquifer treatment and seasonal storage of sewage effluent for potable water reuse. Focus will be on pathogens and organic compounds.
Project Methods
Large soil columns in the greenhouse will be irrigated with secondary sewage effluent to see how vegetation and irrigation efficiency affect the transport of pathogens and pharmaceuticals and hormnes through the columns as indications of potential contamination of underlying groundwater. Other columns will simulate artificial recharge of groundwater with sewage effluent and Colorado River water to determine the underground fate and potential contamination of groundwater with pathogens and organic compounds. In addition, samples of shallow groundwater from below fields with a long history of sewage irrigation and analyzed for pathogens and organics to evaluate long-term effects of sewage irrigation on groundwater.

Progress 10/01/02 to 09/30/03

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it? Increasing populations and finite water resources necessitate more water reuse (Asano, 1998; Bouwer, 1993 and 1999). Also, increasingly stringent treatment requirements for discharge of sewage effluent into surface water make water reuse more attractive. The present focus in the U.S. is on sustainability of irrigation with sewage effluent and of soilaquifer treatment, particularly the longterm fate of synthetic organic compounds (including pharmaceutically active chemicals and disinfection byproducts) in the underground environment (Lim et al., 2000; Bouwer, 2000; Drewes and Shore, 2001). The fate of pathogens and nitrogen also needs to be better understood. In Third World countries, simple, lowtech methods must be used to treat sewage for reuse. These methods include lagooning, groundwater recharge, and intermittent sand filtration (Bouwer, 1993). While most standards or guidelines for irrigation with sewage effluent focus on indicator organisms and pathogens, other water quality aspects must also be considered (Bouwer and Idelovitch, 1987). 2. How serious is the problem? Why does it matter? Water demands in the western United States currently exceed available supplies. Legal battles over water are becoming more common. Irrigation water supplies have been cut off in several cases. The long-term sustainability of irrigated agriculture is being challenged. Some irrigated land is likely to go out of production. How much, know one knows. Environmental concerns make addition storage reservoirs on stream impractical. Groundwater recharge and water reuse are two practical options for stretching limited water supplies. As land is converted from agricultural to municipal use, increasing volumes of sewage effluent will become available. Reuse of this wastewater is a necessity. 3. How does it relate to the National Program(s) and National Program Component(s) to which it has been assigned? This research directly addresses national and global problems dealing with safety of food produced in fields that have been irrigated with sewage effluent or with effluent contaminated water. It also addresses water conservation and integrated water management through water reuse. These issues occur or emerge in many parts of the U.S. and the rest of the world wherever there is not enough water to meet all demands for municipal, industrial, and agricultural (irrigation) purposes. All objectives fall under National Program 201, Water Quality and Management. Objectives 1 and 2 fall under Problem Area 2.5 (Waste Water Reuse), Goal 2.5.3 (Waste Water Standards). They address water conservation and integrated water management through water reuse. Objective 3 addresses Problem Area 2.3 (Water Conservation Management), Goal 2.3.1 (Water Conservation Technologies). 4. What were the most significant accomplishments this past year? A. New scientist hired on project, no significant accomplishments yet D. Progress Report A new scientist was hired on this project during FY03. Field lysimeters were installed in six locations where sewage effluent is used for irrigation. Drainage collected from the lysimeters will be analyzed for various organic and inorganic contaminants to determine the environmental impacts and sustainability of using reclaimed sewage effluent for irrigation. Data collection continued for the column studies where sewage effluent is used for irrigation at various efficiencies. Subordinate Projects Constructed wetlands are potentially an important means of treating sewage effluent before release to surface water bodies. The Tres Rios constructed wetland at the Phoenix Arizona 91st Avenue Sewage treatment plant experienced a failure of the bulrush population in the wetland. The Bureau of Reclamation has funded a study to evaluate chemical and biological conditions that may have lead to the decline of the plant population of the wetland. This project was initiated in July of 2003. A set of preliminary values of oxidation-reduction potentials of areas in which bulrush survived and where it died out was collected. The wetland was then drained and the pond bottom reshaped in portions of the pond. Samples were taken from the experimental areas and are currently being analyzed. The wetland was refilled and then replanted. The site will be released by the contractor to the City of Phoenix in August of 2003. At that time the monitoring of redox will be resumed. A PhD level graduate student in the Ag. and Bio Engineering department has been recruited to conduct chemical, biological, and operational evaluations of the wetland to isolate the cause of the decline of the bulrush population. 5. Describe the major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact. New scientist hired on new project, no significant accomplishments 6. What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years? FY04 - Field lysimeters will be characterized for flow dynamics and sportive properties. Leachate will also be collected for water quality analysis, including organic and inorganic contaminants. Studies will also be initiated in cooperation with the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and the South Davis Sewer District to determine suitability and best management practices in reusing reclaimed sewage effluent in municipal secondary irrigation systems. FY05 - Continue data collection from the field lysimeters. Collect data from secondary irrigation system and investigate various management practices that will provide for the safe use of reclaimed sewage effluent in a municipal setting. FY06 - Continue data collection from the field lysimeters and secondary irrigation system. Investigate the fate and transport of organic contaminants found in sewage effluent and publish results. 7. What science and/or technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the science and/or technology likely to become available to the end- user (industry, farmer, other scientists)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption and durability of the technology products? No technology transfer to report.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Strelkoff, T.S., R. Fernandez-Gomez, L. Mateos, J.V. Giraldez, A.J. Clemmens. On tracking sediment particle sizes in furrow-irrigation induced erosion for modeling phosphorus transport. pp. 423-433. In Proceedings USCID/EWRI Conference, San Luis Obispo, CA, July 10-13, 2002.
  • Bautista, E., T.S. Strelkoff, A.J. Clemmens. Sensitivity of surface irrigation to infiltration parameters: implications for management. p. p. 475-485. In Proceedings USCID/EWRI Conference, San Luis Obispo, CA, July 10-13, 2002.
  • Bouwer, H. Artificial recharge of groundwater: hydrogeology and engineering. Hydrogeology Journal 10(1):121-142. 2002.
  • Bouwer, H. Integrated water management for the 21st century: problems and solutions. Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 128(4):193-202. 2002.
  • Bouwer, H., J. Ludke, R.C. Rice. Sealing pond bottoms with muddy water. Journal of Ecol. Eng. 18(2):233-238. 2001.
  • Bouwer, H. Capturing flood waters for artificial recharge of groundwater. 99-106.In Proc.10th Artificial Recharge Symposium,, Tucson, AZ, June 7-8, 2001. 2001.


Progress 10/01/01 to 09/30/02

Outputs
1. What major problem or issue is being resolved and how are you resolving it? Increasing populations and finite water resources necessitate more water reuse (Asano, 1998; Bouwer, 1993 and 1999). Also, increasingly stringent treatment requirements for discharge of sewage effluent into surface water make water reuse more attractive. The present focus in the U.S. is on sustainability of irrigation with sewage effluent and of soil-aquifer treatment, particularly the long-term fate of synthetic organic compounds (including pharmaceutically active chemicals and disinfection byproducts) in the underground environment (Lim et al., 2000; Bouwer, 2000; Drewes and Shore, 2001). The fate of pathogens and nitrogen also needs to be better understood. In Third World countries, simple, low-tech methods must be used to treat sewage for reuse. These methods include lagooning, groundwater recharge, and intermittent sand filtration (Bouwer, 1993). While most standards or guidelines for irrigation with sewage effluent focus on indicator organisms and pathogens, other water quality aspects must also be considered (Bouwer and Idelovitch, 1987). 2. How serious is the problem? Why does it matter? Water demands in the western United States currently exceed available supplies. Legal battles over water are becoming more common. Irrigation water supplies have been cut off in several cases. The long-term sustainability of irrigated agriculture is being challenged. Some irrigated land is likely to go out of production. How much, no one knows. Environmental concerns make additional storage reservoirs on streams impractical. Groundwater recharge and water reuse are two practical options for stretching limited water supplies. As land is converted from agricultural to municipal use, increasing volumes of sewage effluent will become available. Reuse of this wastewater is a necessity. 3. How does it relate to the national Program(s) and National Program Component(s) to which it has been assigned? This research directly addresses national and global problems dealing with safety of food produced in fields that have been irrigated with sewage effluent or with effluent contaminated water. It also addresses water conservation and integrated water management through water reuse. These issues occur or emerge in many parts of the U.S. and the rest of the world wherever there is not enough water to meet all demands for municipal, industrial, and agricultural (irrigation) purposes. All objectives fall under National Program 201, Water Quality and Management. Objectives 1 and 2 fall under Problem Area 2.5 (Waste Water Reuse), Goal 2.5.3 (Waste Water Standards). They address water conservation and integrated water management through water reuse. Objective 3 addresses Problem Area 2.3 (Water Conservation Management), Goal 2.3.1 (Water Conservation Technologies). 4. What was your most significant accomplishment this past year? A. New project, no significant accomplishments Pathogens and organic wastewater contaminants (OWCs) can endure wastewater treatment hence there is a potential threat to human health and the environment when treated wastewater is used for agricultural/urban irrigation or artificial recharge of ground water. A study was conducted using a 1ft diameter x 8 ft long soil column at the U. S. Water Conservation Laboratory to determine if pathogens and wastewater contaminants persist in the soil and reach ground water under a set of likely recharge conditions, with collaboration by the USGS for chemical analyses. The results demonstrated that Legionella and 13 of the original 34 OWCs including two antibiotics (sulfamethanize and sulfamethoxazole) present in the secondarily treated effluent used to recharge the column, persisted throughout the experiment and were detected in samples collected from the bottom of the column (column drainage). This preliminary study helps establish that under a set of likely recharge conditions there is a potential for pathogens, pharmaceuticals and other OWCs to be transported into the ground water and merits the attention of consulting engineers, scientists and regulatory agencies involved in ground water recharge projects. D. Progress Report Only scientist on this project retired. Data is being collected on the column studies, where sewage effluent is being used to irrigate grass and alfalfa at various irrigation efficiency or where Colorado River water is being used for recharge. Samples are being analyzed for basic chemical constituents, pathogens, and in cooperation with USGS, various exotic chemicals (e.g., endocrine distupters). A new position has been advertised and should be filed early in FY03. 5. Describe your major accomplishments over the life of the project, including their predicted or actual impact? New project, no significant accomplishments. 6. What do you expect to accomplish, year by year, over the next 3 years? New scientist to be hired, which may change direction of current project. 7. What technologies have been transferred and to whom? When is the technology likely to become available to the end user (industry, farmer other scientist)? What are the constraints, if known, to the adoption durability of the technology? New project, no technology transfer to report.

Impacts
(N/A)

Publications

  • Bautista, E., T.S. Strelkoff, A.J. Clemmens. Sensitivity of surface irrigation to infiltration parameters: implications for management. p. p. 475-485. In Proceedings USCID/EWRI Conference, San Luis Obispo, CA, July 10-13, 2002.
  • Bouwer, H. Artificial recharge of groundwater: hydrogeology and engineering. Hydrogeology Journal 10(1):121-142. 2002.
  • Bouwer, H. Integrated water management for the 21st century: problems and solutions. Irrigation and Drainage Engineering 128(4):193-202. 2002.
  • Bouwer, H., J. Ludke, R.C. Rice. Sealing pond bottoms with muddy water. Journal of Ecol. Eng. 18(2):233-238. 2001.
  • Bouwer, H. Capturing flood waters for artificial recharge of groundwater. 99-106.In Proc.10th Artificial Recharge Symposium,, Tucson, AZ, June 7-8, 2001. 2001.
  • Strelkoff, T.S., R. Fernandez-Gomez, L. Mateos, J.V. Giraldez, A.J. Clemmens. On tracking sediment particle sizes in furrow-irrigation induced erosion for modeling phosphorus transport. pp. 423-433. In Proceedings USCID/EWRI Conference, San Luis Obispo, CA, July 10-13, 2002.