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Treatment of nitrogen and phosphorus from sewage tailwater in paddy rice wetlands: concept and environmental benefits

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Evangelos Petropoulos


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© 2024, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.Domestic sewage tailwater (DSTW) reuse for crop irrigation is considered a promising practice to reduce water demand, mitigate water pollution, and substitute chemical fertilization. The level of the above environmental benefits of this water reuse strategy, especially when applied to paddy wetlands, remains unclear. In this study, soil column experiments were conducted to investigate the nitrogen and phosphorus fate in paddy wetlands subjected to different tailwater irrigation and drainage strategies, specifically, (i) TW1 and TW2 for regular or enhanced irrigation-drainage without N fertilization, (ii) TW3 and TW4 for regular irrigation with base or tillering N fertilizer, (iii) conventional fertilization N210, and (iv) no-fertilization controls N0. The results showed that the total nitrogen (TN), nitrate (NO3−), and total phosphorus (TP) removal rates from the paddies irrigated by DSTW ranged between 51.92 and 59.34%, 68.1 and 83.42%, and 85.69 and 86.98% respectively. Ammonia emissions from the DSTW-irrigated treatments were reduced by 14.6~47.2% compared to those paddies subjected to conventional fertilization (N210), similarly for TN emissions, with the exception of the TW2 treatment. Overall, it is established that the paddy wetland could effectively remove residual N and P from surface water runoffs, while the partial substitution of chemical fertilization by DSTW could be confirmed. The outcome of this study demonstrates that DSTW irrigation is a promising strategy for sustainable rice production with a minimized environmental impact.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ma R, Duan J, Xue L, Yin A, Petropoulos E, Suo Q, Yang L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

Year: 2024

Volume: 196

Issue: 2

Online publication date: 18/01/2024

Acceptance date: 11/01/2024

ISSN (print): 0167-6369

ISSN (electronic): 1573-2959

Publisher: Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH


DOI: 10.1007/s10661-024-12353-3

PubMed id: 38236448


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