Land Application of Industrial Effluent on a Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem - Impact on Soil Physical, Chemical and Thermal Properties

New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute

Land application of treated industrial effluent could be beneficial especially in areas where water stress is a major concern primarily due to limited water resources, higher water demands, and limited economic resources. The primary objectives of this study were to: (1) determine the influence of lagoon treated wastewater on physical, chemical and thermal properties of soil in canopy and intercanopy areas, (2) compare soil physical and chemical properties in the irrigated and unirrigated plots, (3) determine the spatial variability of soil physical and chemical properties, (4) determine the variance structure and spatial correlations among infiltration rate and sodium content of soil, and (5) identify the minimum number of principal components (PCs) necessary to explain the total variability in soil physical and chemical properties. The West Mesa Industrial Park near Las Cruces, New Mexico USA has applied lagoon treated industrial effluent since 2002 to 36-ha of Chihuahuan Desert native vegetation (mesquite and creosote) by a fixed-head sprinkler irrigation system. Core and bulk soil sample were collected from under mesquite and creosote canopies and intercanopy areas from two irrigated plots and one unirrigated plot.