Soil quality after six years of paper mill industrial wastewater application

Ivan Carlos Carreiro Almeida, Raphael Bragança Alves Fernandes*, Júlio César Lima Neves, Hugo Alberto Ruiz, Túlio Luís Borges de Lima, Willem Hoogmoed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The application of wastewater to irrigate soils may be an attractive option for paper mills, especially when the effluents can also provide nutrients to plants. Since there could be negative environmental effects, such activity must be preceded by a thorough evaluation of the consequences. The changes in soil quality of a Neossolo Flúvico Distrófico (Typic Udifluvent) were evaluated over a period of six years of irrigation with treated effluent from a wood pulp company. Although effluent application for six years did not affect soil resistance to penetration and soil hydraulic conductivity, it promoted a decrease in the mean size of aggregates and an increase in clay dispersion. Effluent application increased soil pH but did not change exchangeable Ca and Mg contents and organic carbon. After a full rotation of eucalyptus cultivation common in Brazil (six years), no negative effects in tree growth were found due to effluent irrigation. However, effluent addition caused higher values of Na adsorption ratio and intermediate electrical conductivity in the soil, which indicates a possible negative effect on soil quality if the application continues over a longer period. Therefore, a monitoring program should be carried out during subsequent crop rotations, and alternatives must be studied to obtain better effluent quality, such as adding Ca and Mg to the wastewater and using gypsum in the soil.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0160017
JournalRevista Brasileira de Ciência do Solo
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Clay dispersion
  • Industrial effluent
  • Salinity
  • Wastewater disposal
  • Water reuse


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