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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Rangeland Resources & Systems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #362801

Title: Polyacrylamide dissolved in low quality water effects on structure stability of soils varying in texture and clay type

item MAMEDOV, AMRAKH - Tottori University
item Wagner, Larry
item PRESLEY, DEANNE - Kansas State University
item NORTON, DARRELL - Purdue University
item LEVY, GUY - Volcani Center (ARO)

Submitted to: Journal of Soils and Sediments
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/15/2020
Publication Date: 5/20/2020
Citation: Mamedov, A., Wagner, L.E., Presley, D., Norton, D., Levy, G. 2020. Polyacrylamide dissolved in low quality water effects on structure stability of soils varying in texture and clay type. Journal of Soils and Sediments.

Interpretive Summary: Polyacrylamide (PAM) is a water soluble soil conditioner that increases the pore space in soils and therefore increases water infiltration into soils containing clay. This in turn reduces water runoff and erosion. Laboratory PAM studies have typically used clean deionized water. There were questions raised regarding the efficacy of typical low quality water available to farm managers, such as water from rivers, canals and reservoirs, which are commonly used for irrigation water sources. This PAM study was conducted with such low quality water to answer those questions. Several PAM metrics were used to compare and evaluate the efficacy of using such water compared to traditional studies using clean deionized water. Little difference was found when using the lower quality water in these experiments. Thus, it appears that PAM solutions created with low quality water will still yield acceptable results in typical field situations.

Technical Abstract: Influence of anionic polyacrylamide (PAM) application on soil physical quality depends on soil, PAM and used water characteristics; yet the contribution of poor water quality is not clear. The objective of the study was to evaluate structure stability indices of soils treated with PAM solution using poor quality water. PAM solution (200 mg L-1) was prepared using low quality irrigation water (EC = 0.4 dS m-1 and SAR= 5.2). PAM application: i) considerably modified the shape of soil water retention curves, particularly in smectite soils; and ii) enhanced the volume of drainable sized pores in the soil, and thus decreased their modal suction and consequently relative to the control, improved the composite soil structure index up to 3.3 and 1.7 times in the smectitic and kaolinitic soils respectively. Results for structure stability, observed in the current study, were comparable with results from the literature where PAM solutions were prepared with good quality deionized water. The results suggest that using low quality water (low EC ~ 0.5 dS m-1 and high SAR ~ 5) for preparing PAM solutions is acceptable and could be applied in practical field scenarios to enhance soil physical condition under different management systems in soils from arid and semi-arid regions.