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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 642791, 9 pages
Research Article

Influence of Surface Biosolids Application on Infiltration

1Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
2The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK 73401, USA
3Animal, Rangeland and Wildlife Sciences Department and Caesar Kleber Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, TX 78363, USA
4Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA

Received 16 May 2011; Revised 20 July 2011; Accepted 23 July 2011

Academic Editor: David C. Weindorf

Copyright © 2012 Richard E. Zartman et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Biosolids from waste water treatment facilities applied to soils not only add plant nutrients, but also increase infiltration and decrease runoff and erosion. Wet biosolids from New York, NY, were surface applied at 0 to 90 Mg ha−1 dry weight to soils near El Paso, Tex. Simulated rainfall intensities of 16.4 cm hr−1 for 30 minutes applied to 0.5 m2 soil plots yielded initial infiltration rates of ~16 cm hr−1 for all plots. Biosolids applications extended the duration of the initially high infiltration rates. After 30 minutes, infiltration rates for bare soil were 3 cm hr−1 without and 10 cm hr−1 with 90 Mg biosolids ha−1. Applied biosolids, plant litter, surface gravel, and plant base contributed surface cover, which absorbed raindrop energy and reduced erosion. Biosolids increased cumulative infiltration on the vegetated, wet soils more than for the dry or bare soils. Biosolids increased cumulative infiltration from 2 to 6 cm on a bare gravelly soil and from 9.3 to 10.6 cm on a vegetated soil.