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Impacts of sewage irrigation on soil properties of a farmland in China: A review

Li QK1, J Tang2, T Wang3, D Wu2, CA Busso4, RF Jiao2, XJ Ren2

1 Yellow River Institute of Hydraulic Research, Yellow River Conservancy Commission, Zhengzhou, 450003, China.
2 School of Resource and Environment, Henan Institute of Science and Technology, Xinxiang, 453003, China.
3 Third Institute of Geo-exploration Institute, Henan Bureau of Geo-Exploration & Mineral Development, Zhengzhou, 451464, China.
4 Departamento de Agronomía-CERZOS (CONICET: Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas de la República Argentina), Universidad Nacional del Sur, San Andrés 800, 8000 Bahía Blanca, Argentina.

Address correspondence to: Dafu Wu, e-mail:

Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany 2018, 87(all), 40-50.


Fresh water is a valuable nonrenewable resource and plays an important role in maintaining economic and social development. Considering its large population and consumption potential, water resource deficits will certainly not allow a sustainable development of basic industries in China in the near future. Application of sewage irrigation, to some extent, was regarded as an alternative way to solve the problem of agricultural water shortage in some areas (such as North China). However, accompanied with an extensive implementation of sewage irrigation, some problems with sewage irrigation became gradually obvious in agriculture, especially those related with pollution and destruction of farmlands. In this paper, the effects of sewage irrigation on soil physical (soil bulk density, soil resistance to penetration and field capacity), chemical (pH, soil organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, heavy metal and organic pollutants) and biological characteristics (soil microorganisms and enzyme activities) were systematically reviewed on farmlands in China, based on the current utilization status of China’s farmland sewage irrigation. Some feasible suggestions were put forward to the development prospects in the future. This review will be beneficial for promoting a healthy development of sewage irrigation and providing a theoretical support for reclamation and a high efficiency use of effluents in China.


Cite This Article

QK, L., Tang, J., Wang, T., Wu, D., Busso, C. et al. (2018). Impacts of sewage irrigation on soil properties of a farmland in China: A review. Phyton-International Journal of Experimental Botany, 87(all), 40–50.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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