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Assessment of an arid region soil capacity on natural attenuation of municipal treated wastewater: a column experiment using soil of Varamin area, Iran

Mahmoudi, Nina, Nakhaei, Mohammad, Porhemmat, Jahangir
Environmental earth sciences 2018 v.77 no.4 pp. 140
aquifers, arid zones, barium, calcium, chlorides, chromium, copper, electrical conductivity, groundwater contamination, groundwater recharge, ions, lead, magnesium, minerals, nickel, nitrates, pH, phosphates, potassium, risk, sandy loam soils, sodium, strontium, sulfates, wastewater, water reuse, wet-dry cycles, zinc, Iran
Soil aquifer treatment (SAT) is an effective indirect technique for wastewater reuse. The present study aims at assessing the soil capacity in arid region of Varamin on natural attenuation of inorganic constituents of municipal treated wastewater of Tehran City. In order to simulate SAT pond, four columns of 30 cm in height and 4 cm in diameter were filled with sandy loam soil taken from artificial recharge pond in Varamin plain. These columns were recharged by secondary treated wastewater from Shahre-Rey treatment plant under the plan of 12-h wetting and drying cycles. During the experiment, 50 pore volume passed through each column. The pH, EC, TDS, SAL, SAR, major ions, nitrate, phosphate and trace elements were measured in influent and effluent samples. The concentration of Na⁺, Ca²⁺, Mg²⁺, Cl⁻ and SO₄²⁻ increased in effluent samples due to a washout process and dissolution of minerals. The soil could only attenuate NO₃⁻, K⁺, Rb and PO₄³⁻ with the percentage of 18.4, 24.6, 67.7 and 83.6, respectively. The soil of studied area is rich in Cr, Ni, Sr, Pb, Cu, Zn, Ba and Rb. The concentrations of all mentioned trace elements, with the exception of Rb, have increased in the effluent samples with respect to influent. Also, the quality indices of TDS, SAL and SAR have increased 10.6, 25.2 and 8.7%, respectively, in effluent. Soil column samples, at the end of experiment, contain high amounts of major and trace elements. Consequently, there is a potential risk for groundwater contamination in long-term recharge.