Paddy and Water Environment

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 289–297 | Cite as

Impacts on soil quality from long-term irrigation with treated greywater

  • Abeer AlbalawnehEmail author
  • Tsun-Kuo Chang
  • Chi-Su Chou


Drought condition in many places leads to the imperative use of greywater for irrigation. There is a serious concern on the impact of such prolonged uses on soil sustainability. The objective of this study was to evaluate the long-term impacts of greywater irrigation on soil electrical conductivity (EC) and other soil quality parameters in field conditions. Six locations were monitored in this study where home gardens have been irrigated with treated greywater for 2 years. Results showed a general reduction in EC levels of soil samples along all depth intervals at all locations. The average soil EC before greywater irrigation was 0.97 dS/m and decreased to 0.41 dS/m, which may be due to the use of greywater as well as the rainwater effect. The reduction in soil EC and irrigation water quantity shows positive correlation (correlation coefficient r = 0.64). Calcium precipitation might also have a major role in soil EC reduction. Soil calcium content was 81 mg L−1 before using treated greywater and decreased to 43 mg L−1 after 2 years of treated greywater usage, which might have been caused by calcium carbonates (CaCO3) precipitation. The results of other soil chemical analyses clearly show that using treated greywater for irrigation has reduced the concentration of organic matters, K, Cd, Pb, P, Mg, Cl, Na, exchangeable sodium percentage, and sodium adsorption ratio after 2 years of application. Zn concentration increased from 11 to 15 mg L−1, and soil pH became slightly higher from 7.6 to 7.8.


Greywater Soil quality Irrigation Soil electrical conductivity 



The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to the Jordanian National Center for Agricultural Research and Extension (NCARE) for the support of this study.


  1. Abu Ghunmi L (2009) Characterization and treatment of greywater; options for (re)use. PhD Dissertation, Wageningen University, The Netherlands, ISBN 978-90-8585-393-0Google Scholar
  2. Abu-Zreig M, Rudra R, Dickinson W (2003) Effect of application of surfactants on hydraulic properties of soils. Biosyst Eng 84(3):363–372CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Al-Hamaiedeh H, Bino M (2010) Effect of treated grey water reuse in irrigation on soil and plants. Desalination 256(1):115–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Al-Jayyousi O (2001) Focused environmental assessment of greywater reuse in Jordan. Environ Eng Policy 3(1):67–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Al-Zu’bi Y, Arabeyyat Z, Dababneh B, Abubaker S (2009) Chemical characterization of soil irrigated by greywater. In: International Symposium on High Technology for Greenhouse Systems: GreenSys2009 893Google Scholar
  6. American Public Health Association (APHA) (1995) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 19th edn. APHA, American Water Works Association, Water Environment Federation, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  7. Anwar AF (2011) Effect of greywater irrigation on soil characteristics. In: 2nd International Conference on Environmental Science and Development 2011Google Scholar
  8. Boyd CE (1995) Bottom soils, sediment, and pond aquaculture. Springer, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Christova-Boal D, Eden RE, McFarlane S (1996) An investigation into greywater reuse for urban residential properties. Desalination 106(1):391–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Department of Statistics (DOS) (2011) Jordan in figures 2010, Issue 13. Department of Statistics, AmmanGoogle Scholar
  11. Eriksson E, Auffarth K, Henze M, Ledin A (2002) Characteristics of grey wastewater. Urban Water 4(1):85–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fardous A-N, Mudabber M, Jitan M, Badwan R (2004) Harnessing salty water to enhance sustainable livelihoods of the rural poor in four countries in West Asia and North Africa: Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Tunisia. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, National Center for Agricultural Research and Technology Transfer (NCARTT)Google Scholar
  13. Finley S, Barrington S, Lyew D (2009) Reuse of domestic greywater for the irrigation of food crops. Water Air Soil Pollut 199(1–4):235–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kariuki FW, Ng’ang’a VG, Kotut K (2012) Hydrochemical characteristics, plant nutrients and metals in household greywater and soils in Homa Bay Town. Open Environ Eng J 5:103–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Lanfax Laboratories (2007) Greywater reuse—impact of household chemicals on usability. Accessed 20 Feb 2014
  16. Lanfax Laboratories (2009) The 2009 round of laundry products testing and reporting. Accessed 20 Feb 2014
  17. Lanfax Laboratories (2011) Greywater appears to be an answer–but to what question. Accessed 20 Feb 2014
  18. Lindsay W, Norvell WA (1978) Development of a DTPA soil test for zinc, iron, manganese, and copper. Soil Sci Soc Am J 42(3):421–428CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Masoud NG, Sharvelle SE, Stromberger ME, Olson C, Roesner LA (2012) Fate of graywater constituents after long-term application for landscape irrigation. Water Air Soil Pollut 223(8):4733–4749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Miller W, Miller D (1987) A micro-pipette method for soil mechanical analysis. Commun Soil Sci Plant Anal 18(1):1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mohamed RMSR, Kassim AHM, Anda M, Dallas S (2013) A monitoring of environmental effects from household greywater reuse for garden irrigation. Environ Monit Assess 185(10):8473–8488CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Murad B, Shihab B, Mohammad A (2010) Greywater use in rural home gardens in Karak, Jordan, In: McIlwaine, Redwood (eds) Greywater Use in the Middle East Booklet. IDRC. ISBN 978-1-85339-698-4Google Scholar
  23. Noah M (2002) Graywater use still a gray area. J Environ Health 64(10):22PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Olsen SR (1954) Estimation of available phosphorus in soils by extraction with sodium bicarbonate. U.S. Dept Agric Circ 939:19Google Scholar
  25. Pinto U, Maheshwari B, Grewal H (2010) Effects of greywater irrigation on plant growth, water use and soil properties. Resour Conserv Recycl 54(7):429–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Richards LA (1954) Diagnosis and improvement of saline and alkali soils. Soil Sci 78(2):154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Robbins CW (1984) Sodium adsorption ratio-exchangeable sodium percentage relationships in a high potassium saline-sodic soil. Irrig Sci 5(3):173–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Ryan J, Estefan G, Rashid A (2001) Soil and plant analysis laboratory manual, ICARDAGoogle Scholar
  29. Tarchouna LG, Merdy P, Raynaud M, Pfeifer H-R, Lucas Y (2010) Effects of long-term irrigation with treated wastewater. Part I: Evolution of soil physico-chemical properties. Appl Geochem 25(11):1703–1710CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Travis MJ, Wiel-Shafran A, Weisbrod N, Adar E, Gross A (2010) Greywater reuse for irrigation: Effect on soil properties. Sci Total Environ 408(12):2501–2508CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Wiel-Shafran A, Ronen Z, Weisbrod N, Adar E, Gross A (2006) Potential changes in soil properties following irrigation with surfactant-rich greywater. Ecol Eng 26(4):348–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. World Health Organization (2006) Guidelines for the safe use of wastewater, excreta and greywater, policy and regulatory aspects. World Health Organization, GenevaGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The International Society of Paddy and Water Environment Engineering and Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Bioenvironmental Systems EngineeringNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Ecological Engineering Research CenterNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

Personalised recommendations