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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Possible effects of irrigation with wastewater on the clay mineralogy of some Australian clayey soils: laboratory study

Serhiy Marchuk A B , Jock Churchman A and Pichu Rengasamy A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A The University of Adelaide, Soil Science, Waite Campus, SA 5064, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email: serhiy.marchuk@adelaide.edu.au

Soil Research 54(7) 857-868 https://doi.org/10.1071/SR14373
Submitted: 24 December 2014  Accepted: 14 January 2016   Published: 15 August 2016

Abstract

Potassium is common in a wide variety of wastewaters and in some wastewaters is present at several hundred to several thousand mg L–1. Potassium is taken up by expandable clays leading to its fixation and illitisation of smectitic and vermiculitic layers. Hence the addition of wastewaters to soils may lead to mineralogical changes in the soils that affect their physico-chemical properties.

Winery wastewater was equilibrated with clay-rich soils from Southern Australia. X-ray diffraction patterns and chemical composition of clays extracted from untreated and treated soils were determined. In three of the four soils, shifts in peak positions occurred towards more illitic components along with increases in K and sometimes also Mg and Na contents of soil clays. Peak decomposition showed trends towards the formation of interstratifications of illite with smectite at the expense of smectite and an alteration of poorly crystallised illite into its more well-ordered forms. The results show that illitisation may occur as a result of the addition of K-rich wastewaters to clayey soils.

Additional keywords: decomposition of XRD, potassium, soil clay.


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