Treated wastewater irrigation effects on soil hydraulic conductivity and aggregate stability of loamy soils in Israel

Open access


The use of treated wastewater (TWW) for agricultural irrigation becomes increasingly important in water stressed regions like the Middle East for substituting fresh water (FW) resources. Due to elevated salt concentrations and organic compounds in TWW this practice has potential adverse effects on soil quality, such as the reduction of hydraulic conductivity (HC) and soil aggregate stability (SAS). To assess the impact of TWW irrigation in comparison to FW irrigation on HC, in-situ infiltration measurements using mini disk infiltrometer were deployed in four different long-term experimental orchard test sites in Israel. Topsoil samples (0-10 cm) were collected for analyzing SAS and determination of selected soil chemical and physical characteristics.

The mean HC values decreased at all TWW sites by 42.9% up to 50.8% compared to FW sites. The SAS was 11.3% to 32.4% lower at all TWW sites. Soil electrical conductivity (EC) and exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) were generally higher at TWW sites. These results indicate the use of TWW for irrigation is a viable, but potentially deleterious option, as it influences soil physical and chemical properties.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Amezketa E. 1999. Soil aggregate stability: A review. J. Sustain. Agr. 14 83-151.

  • Angulo-Jaramillo R. Vandervaere J.P. Roulier S. Thony J.L. Gaudet J.P. Vauclin M. 2000. Field measurement of soil surface hydraulic properties by disc and ring infiltrometers: A review and recent developments. Soil Till. Res. 55 1-29.

  • Assouline S. Narkis K. 2011. Effects of long-term irrigation with treated wastewater on the hydraulic properties of a clayey soil. Water Resour. Res. 47 8 DOI: 10.1029/2011WR010498/

  • Bhardwaj A.K. Goldstein D. Azenkot A. Levy G.J. 2007. Irrigation with treated wastewater under two different irrigation methods: Effects on hydraulic conductivity of a clay soil. Geoderma 140 199-206.

  • Bond W.J. 1998. Effluent irrigation - an environmental challenge for soil science. Aust. J. Soil Res. 36 543-555.

  • Brenner A. 2012. Limitations and challenges of wastewater reuse in Israel. In: Quercia F.F. Vidojevic D. (Eds.): Clean Soil and Safe Water. Springer Dordrecht.

  • Carsel R.F. Parrish R.S. 1988. Developing joint probability distributions of soil water retention characteristics. Water Resour. Res. 24 755-769.

  • Dan J. Yaalon D.H. Koyumdjisky H. Raz Z. 1972. The soil association map of Israel. Israel J. Earth Sci. 21 29-49.

  • Decagon Devices Inc. 2012. Mini disk infitrometer user´s manual version 10. Decagon Devices In. Pullman.

  • Díaz-Zorita M. Grove J.H. Perfect E. 2002. Aggregation fragmentation and structural stability measurement. In: Lal R. (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Soil Science. Marcel Dekker New York.

  • Feigin A. Ravina I. Shalhevet J. 1991. Irrigation with Treated Sewage Effluent: Management for Environmental Protection. Springer Berlin.

  • Friedler E. 2001. Water reuse - an integral part of water resources management: Israel as a case study. Water Policy 3 29-39.

  • Gharaibeh M. Eltaif N. Al-Abdullah B. 2007. Impact of field application of treated wastewater on hydraulic properties of vertisols. Water Air Soil Poll. 184 347-353.

  • Halliwell D.J. Barlow K.M. Nash D.M. 2001. A review of the effects of wastewater sodium on soil physical properties and their implications for irrigation systems. Aust. J. Soil Res. 39 1259-1267.

  • Hamilton A.J. Stagnitti F. Xiong X. Kreidl S.L. Benke K.K. Maher P. 2007. Wastewater irrigation: The state of play. Vadose Zone J. 6 823-840.

  • Inbar Y. 2007. New standards for treated wastewater reuse in Israel. In: Zaidi M. (Ed.) Wastewater Reuse-Risk Assessment Decision-Making and Environmental Security. Springer Dordrecht.

  • Israeli Water Authority 2014. Water Consumption Survey 2012 - Consumption from 1996 to 2012 [Online]. Available: (In Hebrew.) [Accessed 2014/06/01]

  • Kemper W.D. Koch E.J. 1966. Aggregate stability of soils from western United States and Canada: measurement procedure correlations with soil constituents. U.S. Department of Agriculture Technical Bulletin Vol. 1355.

  • Kemper W.D. Rosenau R.C. 1986. Aggregate stability and size distribution. In: Klute A. (Ed.): Methods of Soil Analysis. Part 1: Physical and Mineralogical Methods. American Society of Agronomy-Soil Science Society of America Madison.

  • Krasilnikov P. Arnold R.W. 2009. Soil classification of Israel. In: Krasilnikov P. Ibánez Martí J.J. Arnold R.W. Shoba S. (Eds.): A Handbook of Soil Terminology Correlation and Classification. Earthscan London.

  • Lado M. Ben-Hur M. 2010. Effects of irrigation with different effluents on saturated hydraulic conductivity of arid and semiarid soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 74 23-32.

  • Lahav O. Kochva M. Tarchitzky J. 2010. Potential drawbacks associated with agricultural irrigation with treated wastewaters from desalinated water origin and possible remedies. Water Sci. Technol. 61 2451-2460.

  • Le Bissonnais Y. Arrouays D. 1996. Aggregate stability and assessment of soil crustability and erodibility: I. Theory and methodology. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 47 425-437.

  • Letey J. 1991. The study of soil structure - science or art. Aust. J. Soil Res. 29 699-707.

  • Levy G.J. 2011. Impact of long-term irrigation with treated wastewater on soil-structure stability - The Israeli experience. Israel J. Plant Sci. 59 95-104.

  • Levy G.J. Mamedov A.I. 2002. High-energy-moisturecharacteristic aggregate stability as a predictor for seal formation. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 66 1603-1609.

  • Levy G.J. Rosenthal A. Tarchitzky J. Shainberg I. Chen Y. 1999. Soil hydraulic conductivity changes caused by irrigation with reclaimed waste water. J. Environ. Qual. 28 1658-1664.

  • Levy G.J. Mamedov A.I. Goldstein D. 2003. Sodicity and water quality effects on slaking of aggregates from semi-arid soils. Soil Sci. 168 552-562.

  • Levy G.J. Goldstein D. Mamedov A.I. 2005. Saturated hydraulic conductivity of semiarid soils: Combined effects of salinity sodicity and rate of wetting. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 69 653-662.

  • Magesan G.N. Williamson J.C. Sparling G.P. Schipper L.A. Lloyd-Jones A.R. 1999. Hydraulic conductivity in soils irrigated with wastewaters of differing strengths: Field and laboratory studies. Aust. J. Soil Res. 37 391-402.

  • Magesan G.N. Williamson J.C. Yeates G.W. Lloyd-Jones A.R. 2000. Wastewater C : N ratio effects on soil hydraulic conductivity and potential mechanisms for recovery. Bioresource Technol. 71 21-27.

  • Maher P. Hermon K. Ierodiaconou D. Stagnitti F. Allinson G. Armstrong R. Leblanc M. De Rooij G.H. Hogervorst F. Bloem E. 2004. Recycled effluent irrigation in vineyards: An Australian case study. II. Management for sustainability. Recent Res. Dev. Crop Sci. 1 433-449.

  • Marshall T.J. Holmes J.W. Rose C.W. 1996. Soil Physics. Cambridge University Press Cambridge.

  • Milano M. Ruelland D. Fernandez S. Dezetter A. Fabre J. Servat E. 2012. Facing climatic and anthropogenic changes in the Mediterranean basin: What will be the medium-term impact on water stress? C. R. Geosci. 344 432-440.

  • Minasny B. George B.H. 1999. The measurement of soil hydraulic properties in the field. In: Cattle S.R. George B.H. (Eds.): Proc. DAMOS´99 workshop Describing analysing and managing our soil. The University of Sydney and the Australian Soil Science Society Inc. (NSW Branch) Sydney.

  • Murer E.J. Baumgarten A. Eder G. Gerzabek M.H. Kandeler E. Rampazzo N. 1993. An improved sieving machine for estimation of soil aggregate stability (SAS). Geoderma 56 539-547.

  • Nimmo J.R. 2004. Aggregation: Physical aspects. In: Hillel D. (Ed.): Encyclopedia of Soils in the Environment. Academic Press London.

  • Provizor M. 2009. Water reuse as a national policy. In: Proc. Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference Orlando Florida 10-14 October 2009 pp. 6524-6531.

  • Rhoades J.D. Miyamoto S. 1990. Testing soils for salinity and sodicity. In: Westermann R.L. (Ed.): Soil Testing and Plant Analysis. Soil Science Society of America Madison.

  • Rohoskova M. Valla M. 2004. Comparison of two methods for aggregate stability measurement - A review. Plant Soil Environ. 50 379-382.

  • Schacht K. Chen Y. Tarchitzky J. Lichner L. Marschner B. 2014. Impact of treated wastewater irrigation on water repellency of Mediterranean soils. Irrig. Sci. 32 369-378.

  • Sepaskhah A.R. Karizi A. 2011. Effects of alternate use of wastewater and fresh water on soil saturated hydraulic conductivity. Arch. Agron. Soil Sci. 57 2 149-158.

  • Shainberg I. Letey J. 1984. Response of soils to sodic and saline conditions. Hilgardia 52 1-57.

  • Shannon M.A. Bohn P.W. Elimelech M. Georgiadis J.G. Marinas B.J. Mayes A.M. 2008. Science and technology for water purification in the coming decades. Nature 452 301-310.

  • Smiatek G. Kunstmann H. Heckl A. 2011. High-resolution climate change simulations for the Jordan River area. J. Geophys. Res.-Atmos. 116 D16.

  • Tarchitzky J. Golobati Y. Chen Y. Keren R. 1999. Wastewater effects on montmorillonite suspensions and hydraulic properties of sandy soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 63 554-560.

  • Tarchitzky J. Lerner O. Shani U. Arye G. Lowengart- Aycicegi A. Brener A. Chen Y. 2007. Water distribution pattern in treated wastewater irrigated soils: hydrophobicity effect. Eur. J. Soil Sci. 58 573-588.

  • U.S. Salinity Laboratory Staff 1954. Diagnosis and Improvement of Saline and Alkali Soils. USDA Handbook 60. U.S. Government Print Office Washington.

  • Vinten A.J.A. Mingelgrin U. Yaron B. 1983. The effect of suspended solids in wastewater on soil hydraulic conductivity: II. Vertical distribution of suspended solids. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 47 408-412.

  • Viviani G. Iovino M. 2004. Wastewater reuse effects on soil hydraulic conductivity. J. Irrig. Drain. E.-ASCE 130 476-484.

  • Vogeler I. 2009. Effect of long-term wastewater application on physical soil properties. Water Air Soil Poll. 196 1 385-392.

  • Warrington D.N. Goldstein D. Levy G.J. 2007. Clay translocation within the soil profile as affected by intensive irrigation with treated wastewater. Soil Sci. 172 692-700.

  • Yosef Y. Saaroni H. Alpert P. 2009. Trends in daily rainfall intensity over Israel 1950/1-2003/4. Open Atmos. Sci. J. 3 196-203.

  • Zhang R. 1997. Determination of soil sorptivity and hydraulic conductivity from the disk infiltrometer. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 61 1024-1030.

Journal information
Impact Factor

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 2,023
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 2,048

CiteScore 2018: 2.07

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.713
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.228

Cited By
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 417 294 9
PDF Downloads 259 198 16