Evaluation Of The Impact Of Untreated Sewage Effluent On Farm Lands (A Case Study Of Sancaros Farm, Awgu Local Government Area Of Enugu State)

Project and Seminar Material for Agricultural Engineering AE

Evaluation Of The Impact Of Untreated Sewage Effluent On Farm Lands (A Case Study Of Sancaros Farm, Awgu Local Government Area Of Enugu State)


This project is focused on the evaluation of the impact of untreated sewage effluent on farm lands. Use of sewage water for irrigation improved chemical properties and fertility status in soil. Sewage water contains elements essential for plant growth and also contains heavy metals which may be toxic for animals if their concentration exceeds than permissible limit. To monitor this situation, a survey was conducted to ascertain the addition of heavy metals into agricultural fields through sewage water irrigation for grass crop in the farm lands of selected areas of San Carlos farm in Awgu local government area of Enugu state. The Results indicated that in sewage water the permissible amounts of total N, total P and potassium which are considered essential nutrients for productivity levels (grass growth) and soil fertility.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

Land application of wastewater is centuries old practice. This practice was introduced in US more thaii one hunched years ago but general interest on the subject waned after the turn of the century in favour of more mechanized method of waste treatment and disposal (Jewel and Seabrook. 2011). It allows disposal of the sewage effluents and fulfills the increasing demand of water for agricultural purposes. The cost of constructing. operating and maintaining a land treatment facility is generally considered to be lower than corresponding conventional waste water treatment system (Badger and Thomason. 2013).

In the UK. treatment and disposal of sewage sludge from biological water plants accounts for approximately 50% of the total cost of sewage treatment, and the major US sludge disposal route is land application (Lake 2013). Due to the fact that toxic substances are concentrated in the solid phase during wastewater and sludge disposal. the sludge management can be more risky than irrigation with wastewater particularly in developing countries with economic and administrative constraints. Moreso. Mexico large quantities of sludge from a wastewater treatment plant containing pathogens and toxic substances as ionic aluminum have been deposited in open areas, causing damage on soils and problems to the inhabitants (Qrtiz-Hemandez et a!., 2011).

The reuse of domestic wastewater to irrigate agricultural land seems to be a practical option for under developed world including India. One of the most important problem in the Municipal Corporation areas of cities like Ludhiana. The reuse of domestic wastewater to irrigate agricultural land seems to be a practical option for under developed world including India. One of the most important problem in the Municipal Corporation areas of cities like Ludhiana. Jalancihar. Amritsar in Punjab. India are that industries are not confined to industrial parks rather most of the small to medium industries are running in the residential area.

The owners of these small to medium industries are unable to install their treatment plants and they are disposing their effluents in the domestic sewage system of the city. which is carried forward to rural areas through open sewage drains and farmers with fields adjoining to these drains irrigate purely or mixing it with underground irrigation water. In addition to domestic effluents. a number of industries to produce large volume of effluents requiring their proper disposal. May times. industries produce highly toxic effluents which can neither be thrown into water bodies nor used for agricultural purposes as the toxic elements are likely to enter food chain through plants. annuals and fish. However, effluents of some industries have useful characteristics and. therefore. have the potential to improve the productivity of soils. The land management of such wastes thus. not only brings the economic benefits but also protect the fragile ecosystem from degradation.

The application of sewage effluent on farm lands as an alternative to fertilizer is increasingly receiving attention in the recent time due to high cost of fertilizer in some developing countries. Though sewage contains both organic and inorganic matter, but it has been discovered that farmers encounter many challenges each time they apply untreated sewage effluent on farm lands. Some of these problems include the presence of heavy metals in sewage. These heavy metals are harmful to farm land when they accumulate. They may also be harmful to human system when consumed through the plant. (Young-Jin, 2011)

Untreated sewage effluence is referred as those domestic and industrial waste effluents which are discharged into septic tank or sterilization pond and have not undergone treatment process. This untreated sewage effluent contains heavy metals such as sulphur, zinc, copper and other toxic metals. (Kharche, et al, 2011)

Effluent from Municipal sewage treatment plants often contain high level of plant nutrient, particularly nitrogen and potassium, which are essential to crop growth. Agricultural application of untreated sewage effluent provides both water and nutrient for crop production (Chambers, et al, 2002). However, depending on the content of the potentially harmful component, which can accumulate in the soil of the farm land biologically prove hazardous (Rattan et al, 2005). Therefore when untreated effluent of the sewage is used on land for an agricultural purposes, the problem associated with its use should be considered (Emongor and Ramolemana, 2004). The continous use of untreated sewage effluent on farm lands by farmer may result in the accumulation of heavy metal on the soil and thereby affect the soil fertility.

Therefore, the need for farmer to know the effect of untreated sewage on farm land is a necessity especially, in a developing country like Nigeria were farmers have limited access to chemical fertilizer.

Therefore, this study shall evaluate the impact of untreated sewage effluence on farm lands using Sancaros Farm, Ihe town in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State as a point of reference.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Sewage water is used as potential source irrigation for raising vegetables and fodder crops around the sewage treatment sites which are directly or indirectly consumed by human beings. Raw Sewage is a rich source of organic and inorganic nutrients for plant growth; sewage farming is quite common in all urban areas in Nigeria. Some cities sewage water where industrial effluent is discharged along with may contain toxic metals in high amounts. It is in view of these that the researcher intends to evaluate the impact of untreated sewage effluent on farm land.

1.2 Objectives of the Study

The project aimed at evaluating the impact of untreated sewage effluent on farm land using Sancaros Farm, Ihe town in Awgu Local Government Area of Enugu State as a case study.

The specific objectives are:

  1. To characterize soil from farmland with sewage effluent deposit
  2. To compare the soil properties of farmland with effluent deposit with that without effluent deposit
  3. To highlight the negative effects of farmland with effluent to crops and possible recommendations for improvement

1.4 Research Hypotheses

To aid the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher

  1. H0: untreated sewage effluent has no impact on farm land
    H1: untreated sewage effluent has impact on farm land
  2. H02: there is no significant relationship between untreated sewage effluent and land productivity
    H2: there is a significant relationship between untreated sewage effluent and land productivity

1.5 Justification of the Study

The significant of the project cannot be over emphasized. The need to understand the characteristic and composition of farm land with untreated sewage effluent is a necessity.

Also these will serve as a research material for agricultural industries and student on the knowledge and understanding on the use of untreated sewage effluent for agriculture. The result of this study may enhance farmer decision to apply untreated sewage effluent instead of relying on prohibitive supply of chemical fertilizer.

1.6 Scope of the Project

The scope of this project will involve the following:-

  1. To locate a source of untreated sewage effluent
  2. Measuring the key chemical characteristic of the untreated sewage before the application
  3. Measuring the key parameter of soil after application of untreated sewage

Key parameter – PH, Copper, Phosphorus, potassium, nitrate ND chloride and note charges.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

During the research the researchers encountered some constraints which serve as limitation to the study. These limitations include time factor, funding of the project and difficulty in getting research materials.

Time Factor:

The time for the research is not enough since the researchers are engage with other task to be done such as receiving lectures, quiz, assignment and exams. Also, during the period of the research the researchers will also take care of some domestic work.

Funding of the Project:

The financial aspect of the project was another challenge. The cost of getting materials so as to complete the project is expensive.

Difficulty in Getting Research Material:

Materials for the research work are not easily come by. However, the researcher had to do all they can to make the research work valid.

1.8 Significance of the Study

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be beneficial to the federal ministry of agriculture as the study seek to explore the impact of untreated sewage effluent on farm land. The study will also be useful to all agricultural practitioners, as the study seek to enlighten them on the dangers of industrial sewage effluent on farm land and it impact on the soil and productivity. the study will be useful to researchers who intends to embark on a study in a similar topic, as the study will serve as a reference point, finally the study will be useful to the students, teachers, lecturers, academia’s and the general public as the findings will add to the pool of existing literature

1.9 Definition of Terms


Effluent in the artificial sense is in general considered to be water pollution, such as the outflow from a sewage treatment facility or the wastewater discharge from industrial facilities.


Sewage is a type of wastewater that is produced from a community of people. It is characterized by volume or rate of flow, physical condition, chemical and toxic constituents, and its bacteriologic status


A farm is an area of land that is devoted primarily to agricultural processes with the primary objective of producing food and other crops; it is the basic facility in food production

1.10 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was on an evaluation of the impact of untreated sewage effluent on farm land.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the impact of untreated sewage effluent on farm land.

5.2 Summary

The present results is to compare the influence and the difference between chemical elements levels in soil and the grass crop that results from applying wastewater, treated wastewater and mix water (wastewater with pure water) and pure water when they are used for irrigation in Vidyaranyapuram sewage treatment plant, situated at a suburban area in the south western of Mysore. The used water sources evaluated as a source of irrigation water according to the FAO system of water quality classification which appeared the suitable use of these sources in leaching and irrigation the saline soils especially in the short-time. The result showed that the soil parameters are significantly affected by application of sewage water irrigation. Irrigation with sewage water increased the concentrations of pH, electrical conductivity, total N, total P, K, Ca, Na, SO4 and Fe, in soils irrigated by sewage water grown grass crop, compared to the control treatment. For the heavy metal in comparison to the control, the SW has no a significant effect in all elements, except significant increasing was noticed for Fe. The results of the nutrients and heavy metals content in grass crop for treatments of the sewage water irrigated and control area are showed that irrigation with SW reuse led to a significant increase of N, P, K, Ca, Mg and Na contents in grass. The accumulation of heavy metals such as of Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn and Pb in grass was significant increase by sewage water irrigation. It could be concluded that in sewage water grown grass, uptake of metals may increase nutritional value and improves soil properties, plant growth, and yield without any contamination in soil and toxicity in grass crop.

5.3 Conclusion

The major environmental concern is an urbanizing India relate to high levels of water pollution due to poor waste disposal, inadequate sewerage and drainage, and improper disposal of industrial effluents. The sewage and industrial effluents contain essential nutrients or possess properties which can easily be utilized for irrigating the field crops. But the sewage water of many cities where industrial effluent is mixed in the sewage system contained toxic metals. Continuous use of sewage and industrial effluents irrigation recorded improvement in water retention, hydraulic conductivity, organic C and build-up of available N, P, K and micronutrient status and soil microbial count. The EC although increased due to sewage irrigation, it was within the tolerance limit to cause any soil salinity hazard. The toxic metals like Cd, Cr and Ni were found to be accumulated in the soil and plant due to long-term use of sewage irrigation. Hence, Cd, Cr and Ni are more likely to be the elements that may become health hazards for consumers of the crops grown in sewageirrigated soils. The concentration of these metals was greater in leafy vegetables than in grain crops. This warrants the potential hazard to soil and plant health suggesting necessity of their safe use after pretreatment to safe guard soil health and reduces the risk of animal and human health hazard. To avoid or delay such problems, continuous monitoring of quality of sewage and industrial effluents available in the country and their impact on soilplant health is required in order to make use of sewage waters as a cheap potential alternative source of plant nutrients in agriculture.

5.4 Recommendations

Research should be done to study the long-term effects of sewage and industrial effluents on salt and toxic metal accumulation in soils and their effect on soil biological health and crop productivity. Effect of sewage/industrial effluents and heavy metal pollution in soils should be studied on fixed sites. Bio-transpiration of the contaminates through farm forestry and the critical concentrations of toxic metals in soil and plants for better animal and human health needs to be initiated. To develop eco-friendly technology for the use of sewage and industrial effluents to improve crop productivity and soil quality and to protect of quality of farm produce and environment from degradation.

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