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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: SOIL APPLICATION OF AGRICULTURAL WASTE TO IMPROVE CROP PRODUCTION SYSTEMS AND ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY Title: Non-Composted Municipal Solid Waste Processing Byproduct Effect on Soil Reclamation

Authors
item Torbert, Henry
item Busby, Ryan - U.S. ARMY CORP OF ENGNRS
item Gebhart, Dick - U.S. ARMY CORP OF ENGNRS
item Potter, Kenneth
item Curtain, Deborah - U.S. ARMY CORP OF ENGNRS

Submitted to: Journal of Plant Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 20, 2006
Publication Date: May 24, 2007
Citation: Torbert III, H.A., Busby, R.R., Gebhart, D.L., Potter, K.N., Curtain, D.R. 2007. Non-composted municipal solid waste processing byproduct effect on soil reclamation. Journal of Plant Nutrition. 30(5):755-772.

Interpretive Summary: A new garbage processing technology has been developed that sterilizes and separates garbage into a heavy portion (metals and plastics) and a light cellulose pulp called Fluff®. The Fluff portion of this process has the potential to be utilized as a soil amendment to improve soil conditions in highly degraded soils. A study was initiated to evaluate a non-composted Fluff as a soil amendment for establishing native grasses on disturbed Army training lands. The Fluff was incorporated into a sandy loam soil at Fort Benning Military Reservation, GA on two sites: a moderately degraded and a highly degraded soil. The addition of Fluff improved available plant nutrients and soil pH levels at both sites. Also, Fluff reduced soil compaction and increased soil concentration of C and N. Because no adverse environmental effects were detected and Fluff improved soil physical and nutrient conditions as well as improving grass establishment, Fluff could be considered a viable and beneficial alternative to current waste management practices for degraded Army training grounds.

Technical Abstract: A new garbage processing technology has been developed that sterilizes and separates inorganic and organic components of municipal solid waste. The uncomposted byproduct of this process, Fluff®, has the potential to be utilized as a soil amendment to improve soil conditions in highly degraded soils. A study was initiated to evaluate Fluff as a soil amendment for establishing native grasses on disturbed Army training lands. The Fluff was incorporated into a sandy loam soil at Fort Benning Military Reservation, GA on two sites: a moderately degraded and a highly degraded soil. The Fluff was incorporated at rates of 0, 18, 36, 72, and 143 Mg ha-1 to assess the effects on soil properties for two growing seasons. The addition of Fluff improved available plant nutrients and soil pH levels at both sites. Also, Fluff reduced the level of soil bulk density and increased soil concentration of C and N. Because no adverse environmental effects were detected and Fluff improved soil physical and nutrient conditions as well as improving perennial grass establishment with increasing application rates, land application of Fluff could be considered a viable and beneficial alternative to current waste management practices for degraded Army training grounds.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014