Land application of olive mill wastewater (OMW) is considered a promising low-cost practice for olive-oil producing countries. The objectives of this work were to investigate: (i) OMW treatment potential of a land treatment system (LTS), planted with a E. camaldulensis species
, regarding N, P, C, and phenols; (ii) the effects of OMW on chemical properties of soil and soil solution characteristics; and (iii) the performance of E. camaldulensis
in terms of biomass production and N and P recovery. E. camaldulensis
received OMW for two growing seasons at rates based on maximum organic loading. These rates were almost equivalent to the reference evapotranspiration of the area. Soil solution and soil samples were collected from three different depths (15, 30 and 60 cm) at specified time intervals. -Also, samples of plant tissues were collected at the end of application periods. OMW land application resulted in significant reduction in inorganic and organic constituents of OMW. At 15 cm of soil profile, the average removal of COD, TKN, NH4+
-N, TP, In-P, and total phenols approached 93%, 86%, 70%, 86%, 82%, and 85%, respectively, while an increase in soil depth (30 and 60 cm) did not improve significantly treatment efficiency. Furthermore, OMW increased soil organic matter (SOM), total kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN), and available P, particularly in the upper soil layer. In contrast, low inorganic N content was observed in the soil throughout the study period caused probably by increased competition among soil microorganisms induced by the organic substrate supply and high C/N ratio. Also, electrical conductivity (EC) and SAR increased by OMW addition, but at levels that may do not pose severe risk for soil texture. Enhancement of soil fertility due to OMW application sustained eucalyptus trees and provided remarkable biomass yield. In conclusion, land application of OMW has a great potential for organic matter and phenol assimilation and can be effectively used for OMW detoxification.
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