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Land Applications of Wastewater in Arid Lands: Theory and Case Studies

Waste Water Treatment

  1. J. G. Mexal,
  2. D. S. Rodriguez,
  3. T. Sammis,
  4. G. Picchioni,
  5. W. Zachritz II,
  6. C. Erickson,
  7. Z. Samani

Published Online: 15 APR 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047147844X.ww103

Water Encyclopedia

Water Encyclopedia

How to Cite

Mexal, J. G., Rodriguez, D. S., Sammis, T., Picchioni, G., Zachritz, W., Erickson, C. and Samani, Z. 2005. Land Applications of Wastewater in Arid Lands: Theory and Case Studies. Water Encyclopedia. 1:632–635.

Author Information

  1. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 APR 2005


Land application of wastewater is recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency as a method of recycling nutrients and organic matter while protecting freshwater resources (1). Wastewater has been applied to agronomic crops, rangelands, forests, and recreation areas, including parks and golf courses, and to disturbed lands such as mine spoils sites (2, 3, 4, 5). Benefits from recycling wastewater include creating a supplemental irrigation source, thereby conserving drinking water, and reducing fertilizer costs because wastewater contains nitrogen and phosphorus (6). As wastewater moves through the soil profile, the soil and plants act as filters that trap and treat, through various mechanisms, waste particles and contaminants allowing the remaining water to drain through the soil profile (7, 8). Wastewater provides an effective source of nutrients that vegetation roots can absorb and allow the plant to assimilate. The benefit of this system is both the effective remediation of wastes and the recycling of water, nutrients, and carbon via biomass production (4).


  • short rotation woody crops;
  • sewage treatment;
  • native plants;
  • Eucalyptus camaldulensis;
  • Prosopis glandulosa;
  • Larrea tridentata;
  • Pinus brutia var. eldarica