Infoscience

Thesis

Recyclage des eaux usées en irrigation: potentiel fertilisant, risques sanitaires et impacts sur la qualité des sols

The present study takes place in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), a typical Sub-Saharan city where water shortage and food crisis necessitate wastewater reuse in urban agriculture. Different issues linked to this practice were studied in two components separated in two experimental sites. The first part treats about agronomic and sanitary aspects and take place in the 2iE (International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering) experimental site of Ouagadougou. The second component was emphasised on industrial effluents impacts on irrigated soil quality and takes place in Kossodo, an industrial suburb of Ouagadougou. The 2iE site is supply with treated wastewater from domestic origin. The effluent was used to realise the following objectives: (1) managed wastewater fertilizers to fit the plant needs; (2) assess different crops sanitary quality and the effectiveness of methods used for this assessment. Three treatments were tested: (i) irrigation with the treated wastewater (ii) irrigation with the treated wastewater and fertilizers management, adjusted to plant needs and (iii) conventional treatment i.e. fresh water irrigation and total doses of commercial fertilizers. Each treatment was tested on three different crops: lettuce (Lactuca sativa), carrot (Daucus carota) and eggplant (Solanum melongena). The first objective was achieved by comparing crops yields (on basis of wet and dry matter) obtained with the different treatments. The three crops, irrigated with only wastewater, led to yield reduction between the first and the second year. At the contrary, the adjusted treatment showed higher yield for lettuce, with comparable values to conventional treatment yield. However, the effects on carrot and eggplant did not demonstrate better results; indicating that further investigations must be completed for crops with longer growing periods. Most likely, the fertilizers management should better correspond to the crop period demand. The sanitary assessment (second objective) was performed by measuring the heavy metals concentration (Cd, Cu, Pb, Ni, Cr) and the faecal levels (faecal coliform, Escherichia coli and four pathogens among which Salmonella typhimirium and Vibrio cholerae). Chromocult Coliform Agar medium was used for simultaneous detection of faecal coliform and Escherichia coli whereas pathogens were analysed by Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). From methodological point of view, faecal coliform were not sufficiently discriminatory in the case of this study since they were naturally present in the soil as well as in the fresh water. At the contrary, Escherichia coli were better linked to wastewater contamination. However, some "false positive" results were detected meaning that each presumptive colony of Escherichia coli must be confirmed. Nevertheless, microbial quality assessment indicated no Escherichia coli on edible parts of carrot or eggplant irrigated with wastewater. Carrots were expected to have the poorest microbiological quality. Therefore carrot root bacterial quality must be further examined. Results on eggplant are not surprising as these vegetables are somewhat far from the ground and they receive significant solar radiation which acts like a disinfectant. Lettuce from wastewater treatment plots, however, exhibited presence of Escherichia coli, meaning that lettuce is likely to be contaminated by pathogens. However, no pathogens were detected neither on crops irrigated with fresh water nor on those irrigated with wastewater. Heavy metals results demonstrated that the crop's consumption did not involve higher risk for consumers when the vegetables were irrigated with domestic wastewater, in comparison with fresh water irrigation. Kossodo treatment plant receives mainly industrial wastewater, which are characterized by high levels of sodium and bicarbonates. The treated wastewater supplies a market garden in which space has been defined for the study of this second component. The main objective was to assess the impact of treated wastewater on soil quality during two years of irrigation. Early in the second year, the presence of black spots, suspected to be black alkali (dissolved organic matter), appeared at the surface of plots irrigated with treated wastewater. These indications led to put forward the hypothesis of alkalinisation/sodisation on soil receiving wastewater. The methodological approach used was based on in situ measurement of infiltration at the end of the second year of irrigation, supplemented by shrinkage curve modelling and chemical analysis. The hypothesis of an alkalinization/sodisation and dissolved organic matter (black alkali) presence in plots irrigated with treated wastewater were validated by the chemical analysis. Shrinkage curve modelling showed a reduction of the structural porosity on wastewater irrigated plots. The reduction was more marked in the subsurface horizons than in surface, which is probably caused by dispersed clay leached in depth. These structural changes were confirmed in situ by an infiltration capacity greatly reduced on plots irrigated with treated wastewater, compared to control plots (irrigated with fresh water) where the infiltration capacity is higher and comparable to that of non-irrigated soil. The study confirmed the fertilizing value of domestic wastewater while emphasizing the need to concentrate future investigations on sustainable effluent/fertilizers management. The sanitary assessment with different crops regarding their respective distances to the soil was very useful since it showed the strong interaction of soil microbial community on the crop microbial quality. It also revealed the importance to determine a faecal indicator for the crop, specifically related to wastewater contamination. Soil quality assessment reiterated the necessity to verify wastewater quality before its reuse in agriculture. In the case of this study, the sodic and alkaline properties of the industrial effluents make them definitively unfit for irrigation.

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