Evaluating continuous application of treated sludge on soil and plant productivity

Ahmed Al-Busaidi, Mushtaque Ahmed, Baby Shaharoona


Kala Compost is a mixture of treated sewage bio-solids and green wastes. It can improve soil fertility and plant growth. However, long-term application of treated sewage bio-solids could result in heavy metals accumulation and some health problems. e objective of this study was to evaluate the e ect of a long run application of Kala compost mixed with chemical fertilizer on soil and plant productivity. Soil and plant (mainly cucumber) samples were taken from 12 greenhouses that received Kala compost continuously for the last ve years. No symptoms of physical or chemical problems were observed in the greenhouses and measured soil samples. Moreover, the soil had su cient values of di erent nutrients for plant growth and all measured micronutrients (heavy metals) were within the safe limit and below the range of the international standards. An excellent growth was observed in all grown plants and no symptoms of elements de ciency were found. Chemical analysis of fruit samples did not show any accumulation of heavy metals and all measured elements were within the safe limit and did not exceed the international standards. It can be concluded that Kala compost was a good media for plant growth that can enrich the soil with di erent elements needed for higher yield. However, more monitoring is needed with treated bio-solid application but good management could be the key to avoid any adverse e ect of any contaminant. 


Kala compost; heavy metal; plant growth, sludge

Full Text:



CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board), 2002. Parivesh, Newsletter from CPCB. Available at http://cpcb.nic. in/IIMLko.pdf

Dowdy, R.H. and Larson, W.E. 1975. e availability of sludge borne heavy metals to various vegetable crops. J. Environ. Qual., 4: 278-282.

Hernandez, T., Moreno, J.I., and Costa, F. 1991. In u- ence of sewage sludge application on crop yields and heavy metal availability. Soil Sci. Plant Nutr., 37 (2): 201–210.

Hue, N.V. and Ranjith, S.A. 1994. Sewage sludges in Hawaii: chemical composition and reactions with soils and plants. Water Air Soil Pollut., 72: 265–283.

Korboulewsky, N., Dupouyet, S. and Bonin, G. 2002. Environmental risks of applying sewage sludge com- post to vineyards: carbon, heavy metals, nitrogen, and phosphorous accumulation. J. Environ. Qual., 31: 1522– 1527.

Kulling, D., Stadelmann, F. and Herter, U. 2001. Sewage Sludge – Fertilizer or Waste? UKWIR Conference, Brussels.

Logan, T.J. and Harrison, B.J. 1995. Physical characteris- tics of alkaline stabilized sewage sludge (N-vitro soil) and their e ects on soil properties. J. Environ. Qual., 24: 153–164.

Mahler, R.J., Bingham, F.T., Sposito, G. and Page, A.L. 1980. Cadmium enriched sewage sludge application to acid and calcareous soils, relation between treat- ment, Cd in saturated extracts and Cd treatment. J. Environ. Qual., 9: 359–364.

Metcalf and Eddy, 2003. Wastewater engineering: treat- ment, disposal, and reuse, fourth ed. McGraw-Hill Publishing Company Ltd., New York.

Nielson, G.H., Hogue, E.J., Nielson, D.,and Zebarth, B.J. 1998. Evaluation of organic wastes as soil amend- ments for cultivation of carrot and chard on irrigated sandy soils. Can. J. Soil Sci., 78: 217–225.

Ojeda, G., Alcaniz, J.M. and Ortiz, O. 2003. Runo and losses by erosion in soils amended with sewage sludge. Land Degrad. Dev., 14 (6): 563–573.

Pescod, M.,1992. Wastewater treatment and use in agri- culture. Bull. FAO #47 (125) (Rome).

Pessarakli, M. 1999. Handbook of plant and crop stress. CRC, USA.

Ramulu, U.S. 2002. Reuse of municipal sewage and sludge in agriculture. Scienti c Publishers, Jodhpur, India.

Soon, Y.K. 1981, Solubility and sorption of cadmium in soils amended with sewage sludge. J. Soil Sci., 32: 85–95.

Tsakou, A., Roulia, M. and Christodoulakis, N.S. 2001. Growth of cotton plants (Gossypium hirsutum) as af- fected by water and sludge from a sewage treatment plant: I. Plant phenology and development. Bull. En- viron. Contam. Toxicol., 66: 735–742.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24200/jams.vol22iss1pp2-7


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Ahmed Al-Busaidi, Mushtaque Ahmed, Baby Shaharoona

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.


This journal and its content is licensed under a Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International.

Flag Counter