Submitted to: Journal of Soils and Sediments
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: September 15, 2005
Publication Date: March 25, 2006
Citation: Sigua, G.C. 2006. Challenges: Soil dynamics and nutrient cycling. Journal of Soils and Sediments. 6(4):192-193.
Interpretive Summary: The prohibition of dumping dredged and sewage sludge materials in streams and oceans, diminishing land fill space, skyrocketing landfill costs, and concerns over air pollution from incineration of waste have contributed to a strong public interest in finding alternative, environmentally sound solutions for disposal methods. A study to understand nutrient fate and transformations in soils is still needed to help develop better management practices for sustainable production while protecting soil water, and air quality. An understanding of these pathways is important because losses of nutrients will be decreased; causing a drop in environmental pollution, which in turn will lower the need for greater amounts of fertilizer usage. Management practices to enhance soil carbon sequestration are also a relevant topic when discussing soil organic matter dynamics and nutrient cycling and deserve further extensive study.
In the late 1960’s there was an increasing realization in the U.S.A. and other parts of the world, especially in Europe of the potential problems associated with the disposal of spoil and sewage sludge materials. While insufficient information was available to determine potential adverse effects of disposal on land, many people including those in the scientific community had articulated their objections on the use of these materials in agriculture because data did not provide adequate environmental protection information. In many cases, site-specific geochemical and biological factors were typically excluded from the decision making process. Because of the continued studies and far reaching research during the last 40 years on the environmental effects of dredged and sludge materials, the scientific community and regulatory agencies in the U.S.A. are now in a much better position to appraise the environmental and possible agricultural impacts connected with the disposal of dredged and sludge materials by diverse disposal methods.