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Assessment of contamination by percolation of septic tank effluent through natural and amended soils

Cheung, K.C. and Venkitachalam, T.H. (2004) Assessment of contamination by percolation of septic tank effluent through natural and amended soils. Environmental Geochemistry and Health, 26 (2). pp. 157-168.

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Fly ash has been found to be a potential material for the treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater, and may be useful in the treatment of septic tank effluent. Laboratory columns (30 cm) were used to determine the sorption capacity and hydraulic properties of lagoon fly ash, loamy sand, sand, and sand amended by lagoon fly ash (30 and 60%) and red mud gypsum (20%). The removal of chemical oxygen demand (COD) was high in all column effluents (71-93%). Extent of nitrification was high in Spearwood sand, Merribrook loamy sand and 20% red mud gypsum amended Spearwood sand. However, actual removal of nitrogen (N) was high in columns containing lagoon fly ash. Unamended Spearwood sand possessed only minimal capacity for P sorption. Merribrook loamy sand and red mud gypsum amended sand affected complete P removal throughout the study period of 12 weeks. Significant P leakage occurred from lagoon fly ash amended sand columns following 6-10 weeks of operation. Neither lagoon fly ash nor red mud gypsum caused any studied heavy metal contamination including manganese (Mn), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd) and chromium (Cr) of effluent. It can be concluded that Merribrook loamy sand is better natural soil than Spearwood sand as a filter medium. The addition of lagoon fly ash enhanced the removal of P in Spearwood sand but the efficiency was lower than with red mud gypsum amendment.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Copyright: © 2004 Kluwer Academic Publishers.
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