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Effects of seasonal olive mill wastewater application on soil: field experiment in Bait Reema village, Palestine

  • The global problematic issue of the olive oil industry is in its generation of large amounts of olive mill wastewater (OMW). The direct discharge of OMW to the soil is very common which presents environmental problems for olive oil producing countries. Both, positive as well as negative effects on soil have been found in earlier studies. Therefore, the current study hypothesized that whether beneficial effects or negative effects dominate depends on the prevailing conditions before and after OMW discharge to soil. As such, a better understanding of the OMW-soil interaction mechanisms becomes essential for sustainable safe disposal of OMW on soil and sustainable soil quality. A field experiment was carried out in an olive orchard in Palestine, over a period of 24 months, in which the OMW was applied to the soil as a single application of 14 L m-2 under four different environmental conditions: in winter (WI), spring (SP), and summer with and without irrigation (SUmoist and SUdry). The current study investigated the effects of seasonal conditions on the olive mill wastewater (OMW) soil interaction in the short-term and the long-term. The degree and persistence of soil salinization, acidification, accumulation of phenolic compounds and soil water repellency were investigated as a function of soil depth and time elapsed after the OMW application. Moreover, the OMW impacts on soil organic matter SOM quality and quantity, total organic carbon (SOC), water-extractable soil organic carbon (DOC), as well as specific ultraviolet absorbance analysis (SUVA254) were also investigated for each seasonal application in order to assess the degree of OMW-OM decomposition or accumulation in soil, and therefore, the persisting effects of OMW disposal to soil. The results of the current study demonstrate that the degree and persistence of relevant effects due to OMW application on soil varied significantly between the different seasonal OMW applications both in the short-term and the long-term. The negative effects of the potentially hazardous OMW residuals in the soil were highly dependent on the dominant transport mechanisms and transformation mechanisms, triggered by the ambient soil moisture and temperature which either intensified or diminished negative effects of OMW in the soil during and after the application season. The negative effects of OMW disposal to the soil decreased by increasing the retention time of OMW in soil under conditions favoring biological activity. The moderate conditions of soil moisture and temperature allowed for a considerable amount of applied OMW to be biologically degraded, while the prolonged application time under dry conditions and high temperature resulted in a less degradable organic fraction of the OMW, causing the OMW constituents to accumulate and polymerize without being degraded. Further, the rainfall during winter season diminished negative effects of OMW in the soil; therefore, the risk of groundwater contamination by non-degraded constituents of OMW can be highly probable during the winter season.

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Author:Nisreen Tamimi
Referee:Gabriele E. Schaumann, Dörte Diehl
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2016/09/22
Date of publication:2016/09/23
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz, Universitätsbibliothek
Granting institution:Universität Koblenz-Landau, Campus Landau, Fachbereich 7
Date of final exam:2016/09/21
Release Date:2016/09/23
Tag:field experiment; olive mill wastewater; soil water repellency; thermal analysis
Number of pages:117
Institutes:Fachbereich 7
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 50 Naturwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG