Journal of Soils and Sediments

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1345–1351 | Cite as

Nitrogen compound pollution associated with the use of sewage sludge compost and limestone outcrop residue under saline irrigation

  • Ana Pérez-Gimeno
  • José Navarro-Pedreño
  • Maria Belen Almendro-Candel
  • Ignacio Gómez
  • Manuel M. JordánEmail author
SI: Soil Pollution and Remediation



The use of composted sewage sludge and limestone outcrop residue in land rehabilitation, soil improvement, and technosol making can influence the mobility of nitrogen compounds in groundwater.

Materials and methods

This experiment analyzed this source of possible pollution under an experimental design based on the use of columns (0–30 cm) formed by both wastes and a heavy irrigation regime. Two waters of different quality (saline and non-saline) were used for irrigation. The presence of nitrate, nitrite, and ammonium in the leachates was checked.

Results and discussion

The environmental risk due to the presence of nitrogen species associated with the use of these materials was very low in general, although nitrate was the most important compound affected by the use of sewage sludge compost and saline water.


The combination of saline water for irrigation with the compost has to be seriously considered as a source of pollution for surface and ground waters, and the use of both resources may be a key factor to be studied (low-quality water and sewage sludge compost).


Leachates Limestone residues Nitrogen pollution Sewage sludge 


  1. APHA, AWWA and WEF (2005) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 21st edn. American Public Health Association, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  2. Ardon M, Morse JL, Colman BP, Bernhardt ES (2013) Drought-induced saltwater incursion leads to increased wetland nitrogen export. Global Change Biol 19:2976–2985CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baldantoni D, Leone A, Iovieno P, Morra L, Zaccardelli M, Alfani A (2010) Total and available soil trace element concentrations in two Mediterranean agricultural systems treated with municipal waste compost or conventional mineral fertilizers. Chemosphere 80:1006–1013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Buczko U, Kuchenbuch RO, Lennartz B (2010) Assessment of the predictive quality of simple indicator approaches for nitrate leaching from agricultural fields. J Environ Manag 91:1305–1315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Diez JA, Roman R, Caballero R, Caballero A (1997) Nitrate leaching from soils under a maize-wheat-maize sequence, two irrigation schedules and three types of fertilisers. Agric Ecosyst Environ 65:189–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. EC/2000/60 (2000) Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October, 2000, Establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy. Off. J. Eur. Communities I, 327/1Google Scholar
  7. Eldridge SM, Chan KY, Barchia I, Pengelly PK, Katupitiya S, Davis JM (2009) A comparison of surface applied granulated biosolids and poultry litter in terms of risk to runoff water quality on turf farms in Western Sydney, Australia. Agric Ecosyst Environ 134:243–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. EU (2011) Report from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the Thematic Strategy on the Prevention and Recycling of Waste. Brussels 19.1.2011 COM(2011) 13 finalGoogle Scholar
  9. Iovieno P, Morra L, Leone A, Pagano L, Alfani A (2009) Effect of organic and mineral fertilizers on soil respiration and enzyme activities of two Mediterranean horticultural soils. Biol Fertil Soils 45:555–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jordán MM, Almendro-Candel MB, Pina S, García-Orenes F, García-Sánchez E, Sabater MC, Navarro-Pedreño J, Gómez I (2006) Sewage sludge application for soil reclamation of limestone quarries. Test in columns using a calcareous mineral rejection. In: water management and soil conservation in semi-arid environments. INRA, MarrakechGoogle Scholar
  11. Jordán MM, Pina S, García-Orenes F, Almendro-Candel MB, García-Sánchez E (2008) Environmental risk evaluation of the use of mine spoils and treated sewage sludge in the ecological restoration of limestone quarries. Environ Geol 55:453–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Jordão CP, Nascentes CC, Cecon PR, Fontes RLF, Pereira JL (2006) Heavy metal availability in soil amended with composted urban solid wastes. Environ Monit Assess 112:309–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Jun M, Altor AE, Craft CB (2013) Effects of increased salinity and inundation on inorganic nitrogen exchange and phosphorus sorption by Tidal freshwater floodplains forest soils, Georgia (USA). Estuar Coast 36:508–518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Karaca A (2004) Effect of organic wastes on the extractability of cadmium, copper, nickel, and zinc in soil. Geoderma 122:297–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Navarro-Pedreño J, Moral R, Gómez I, Mataix J (1996) Reducing nitrogen losses by decreasing mineral fertilisation in horticultural crops of eastern Spain. Agric Ecosyst Environ 59:217–221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Navarro-Pedreño J, Almendro-Candel MB, Jordán-Vidal MM, Mataix-Solera J, García-Sánchez E (2004) Risk areas in the application of sewage sludge on degraded soils in Alicante province (Spain). In: Martin JF, Brebbia CA, Godfrey AE, Díaz de Terán JR (eds) Geo-environment. WIT, Southampton, pp 293–302Google Scholar
  17. Pepper IL, Zerghi H, Brooks JP, Gerba CP (2008) Sustainability of land application of class B biosolids. J Environ Qual 37(5 Suppl):S58–S67Google Scholar
  18. Perego A, Basile A, Bonfante A, De Mascellis R, Terribile F, Brenna S, Acutis M (2012) Nitrate leaching under maize cropping systems in Po Valley (Italy). Agric Ecosyst Environ 147:57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Powlson DS, Addisott TM, Benjamin N, Cassman KG, De Kok TM, Van Groinsved HL, L’hirondel JL, Avery AA, Van Kessel C (2008) When does nitrate become a risk for humans? J Environ Qual 37:291–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. R.D. 824/2005. 2005. Real Decreto 824/2005 de 8 Julio sobre productos fertilizantes. Boletín Oficial del Estado 171, 25592–25669, Anexo VIGoogle Scholar
  21. Rowlings DW, Grace PR, Scheer C, Kiese R (2013) Influence of nitrogen fertiliser application and timing on greenhouse gas emissions from a lychee (Litchi chinensis) orchard in humid subtropical Australia. Agric Ecosyst Environ 179:168–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Santibánez C, Ginocchio R, Varnero MT (2007) Evaluation of nitrate leaching from mine tailings amended with biosolids under Mediterranean type climate conditions. Soil Boil Biochem 39:1333–1340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sempere A, Oliver J, Ramos C (1993) Simple determination of nitrate in soils by second-derivative spectroscopy. J Soil Sci 44:633–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Skiba U, Ball B (2002) The effect of soil texture and soil drainage on emissions of nitric oxide and nitrous oxide. Soil Use Manag 18:56–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tedesco MJ, Teixeira EC, Medina C, Bugin A (1999) Reclamation of spoil and refuse material produced by coal mining using bottom ash and lime. Environ Technol 20:523–529CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Torres-Cañabate P, Davidson EA, Bulygina E, García-Ruíz R, Carreira JA (2008) Abiotic immobilization of nitrate in two soils of relic Abies pinsapo-fir forests under Mediterranean climate. Biogeochemistry 91:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Vinten AJA, Davies R, Castle K, Baggs EM (1998) Control of nitrate leaching from a nitrate vulnerable zone using paper mill waste. Soil Use Manag 14:44–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Weber J, Karczewska A, Drozd J, Licznar M, Licznar S, Jamroz E, Kocowicz A (2007) Agricultural and ecological aspects of a sandy soil as affected by the application of municipal solid waste composts. Soil Biol Biochem 39:1294–1302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Yazdanpanah N, Mahmoodabadi M (2013) Reclamation of calcareous saline-sodic soil using different amendments: time changes of soluble cations in lecheate. Arab J Geosci 6:2519–2528CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Zhang AL, Tian ZX, Zhang N, Li XQ (1996) Nitrate pollution of groundwater in northern China. Agric Ecosyst Environ 59:223–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Pérez-Gimeno
    • 1
  • José Navarro-Pedreño
    • 1
  • Maria Belen Almendro-Candel
    • 1
  • Ignacio Gómez
    • 1
  • Manuel M. Jordán
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Agrochemistry and EnvironmentMiguel Hernández University of ElcheElcheSpain

Personalised recommendations