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Sci Total Environ. 2004 May 25;324(1-3):201-10.

Tertiary filtered municipal wastewater as alternative water source in agriculture: a field investigation in Southern Italy.

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CNR Istituto di Ricerca Sulle Acque, Viale F. De Blasio n. 5, 70123 Bari, Italy.


Results are reported concerning a 2-year field investigation on municipal wastewater reclamation for the irrigation of two experimental crops: tomato and fennel. Throughout the investigation, approximately 500 m(3) of tertiary membrane filtered wastewater without further disinfection was supplied to one of two parcels (500 m(2) each) of a test field located in Southern Italy. The second parcel was comparatively irrigated with 500 m(3) of conventional well water. Objectives of the investigation were (i) the evaluation of the performance of a membrane filtration pilot plant (productivity=0.7 m(3)h(-1)) for tertiary treatment and (ii) the comparison between agronomic results (features of soil and crops) after irrigation with reclaimed wastewater versus conventional groundwater. Over long term operation, the pilot plant performance resulted very good in terms of suspended solids and bacterial removal. Referring to the agronomic results, no substantial differences were observed after 2 years, both in terms of microbiological quality of the crops and characteristics of the soil. The whole results indicate membrane filtered municipal effluent as a viable alternative water resource for irrigation.

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