Wastewater irrigation: An opportunity for improving soil phosphorus availability; PHREEQC modeling and adsorption studies

Hiva Davand, Ebrahim Sepehr, Hamid Reza Momtaz, Fatemeh Ahmadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)


Wastewater, an alternative supply of water and nutrients, is being allocated as a priority for human population sustainability in arid and semi-arid regions. This work proposes phosphorus (P), a vital growth-limiting nutrient, adsorption behavior in wastewater irrigated agricultural soils in comparison to non-irrigated soils using laboratory batch experiments. The adsorption mechanism was assessed using different adsorption isotherm models. Saturation indices were modeled, using the hydro-geochemical transport code PHREEQC and MINTEQ geochemical software. Phosphorus buffering parameters were also calculated based on the standard equations. The equilibrium data were well fitted with the Freundlich isotherm model. The physical adsorption mechanism was found based on the calculated isotherm parameters. The maximum adsorption capacity was two times more in non-wastewater irrigated soils than irrigated. Results highlighted the effectiveness of wastewater irrigation in P availability in soil. Based on the PHREEQC modeling data, precipitation of Pb and Zn mineral phases was probable in soils by wastewater influence. Meanwhile, the precipitation of stable calcium phases, that affect the P sorption and/or co-precipitation, in non-wastewater irrigated soils was highlighted in the PHREEQC calculations. The standard buffer capacity (SBC) was 43 and 64 L kg−1 in wastewater irrigated soils and non-irrigated soils, respectively. Findings of the present study demonstrate the importance of wastewater reuse opportunities for agricultural application, especially soil P availability, and are helpful to minimize the environmental impacts of wastewater and solid waste.
Original languageEnglish
Article number158180
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2022


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