Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Agricultural utilization of treated sewage effluent: Experience from Brazil

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Prospects for wastewater irrigation in Brazil look promising, in light of the fact that agriculture plays an essential role in the country's economy and, furthermore, freshwater for irrigation is scarce in some parts of the country. However, irrigation with effluents still represents a new practice, and most available data related to the benefits and risks of effluent irrigation are based on short-term experiments. The present paper provides an overview of the potential of water reuse in Brazil; it describes the main results concerning effects of effluent irrigation on soil/plant interactions in Brazil, and discusses some important issues that require further investigation. So far, research in Brazil has been mainly focused on soil chemical changes that follow effluent application, while investigations concerning the occurrence and fate of trace contaminants, and the potential risks they present, remain to be carried out. Such contaminants include heavy metals and pharmaceutically active products. Effluent irrigation of agricultural crops intended for biofuel production represents a strategic issue, of increasing importance for the national and international market. For a consistent evaluation of long-term benefits and risks of effluent irrigation in this country, major needs are: improvement of the sewage collection and treatment infrastructure; establishment of legal regulations to control water reuse in agriculture; and permanent monitoring of areas already under wastewater irrigation.

Affiliations: 1: Ecotoxicology Laboratory, Center of Nuclear Energy in Agriculture (CENA), University of São Paulo (USP) ; 2: Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering (DESOLO), State University of Ponta Grossa (UEPG), Av. General Carlos Cavalcanti ; 3: Research Center of Geochemistry and Geophysics of Lithosphere (NUPEGEL) ; 4: Soil Science Department, Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ), USP, 13418-900, Piracicaba (SP)


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Aguiar, F. L. 2006. Sugarcane: from drop to drop. In: FNP Consultoria & Comércio. Brazil Agrianual 2006—Brazilian Agriculture Yearbook. São Paulo, Brazil, pp. 227-248. (in Portuguese).
2. Ayers, R. S., Westcot, D. S. 1985. Water quality for agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy, Irrigation and Drainage Paper 29, 174 pp.
3. Azevedo, L. P., Oliveira, E. L. 2005. Application effects of sewage treatment effluent on soil fertility and yield of cucumber with subsurface irrigation. Eng. Agric. 25: 253-263. (in Portuguese)
4. Bergkamp, G., Sadoff, C. W. 2008. Water in a sustainable economy. In: State of the world 2008—innovations for a sustainable economy. The Worldwatch Institute, Washington, USA, pp. 107-122.
5. Boxall, A. B. A. 2004. The environmental side effects of medication. EMBO Rep. 5: 1110-1116.
6. Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). 2008. Indicators of sustainable development. IBGE, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 472 pp. (in Portuguese).
7. Brazilian Ministry of Environment (MMA). 2006. Guide book of hydric resources: farming and cattle raising. MMA, Brazil, 98 pp. (in Portuguese).
8. da Fonseca, A. F. 2005. Agronomical-environmental viability of treated sewage effluent disposal in a soil-pasture system, PhD. Thesis. University of São Paulo—‘Luiz de Queiroz’ College of Agriculture, Piracicaba, Brazil, 174 p. (in Portuguese).
9. da Fonseca, A. F., Melfi, A. J., Montes, C. R. 2005a. Maize growth and changes in soil fertility after irrigation with treated sewage effluent. I. Plant dry matter yield and soil nitrogen and phosphorus availability. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 36: 1965-1981.
10. da Fonseca, A. F., Melfi, A. J., Montes, C. R. 2005b. Maize growth and changes in soil fertility after irrigation with treated sewage effluent. II. Soil acidity, exchangeable cations, and sulfur, boron and heavy metals availability. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 36: 1983-2003.
11. da Fonseca, A. F., Herpin, U., de Paula, A. M., Victoria, R. L., and Melfi, A. J. 2007a. Agricultural use of treated sewage effluents: agronomic and environmental implications and perspectives for Brazil. Sci. Agric. 64: 194-209.
12. da Fonseca, A. F., Herpin U., Dias, C. T. S., and Melfi, A. J. 2007b. Nitrogen forms, pH and total carbon in a soil incubated with treated sewage effluent. Braz. Arch. Biol. Technol. 50: 743-752.
13. da Fonseca, A. F., Melfi, A. J., Monteiro, F. A., Montes, C. R., Almeida, V. V., Herpin, U. 2007c. Treated sewage effluent as a source of water and nitrogen for Tifton 85 bermudagrass. Agric. Water Manage. 87: 328-336.
14. da Silva, R. R. 2008. Socio-environmental assessment of the use of treated sewage effluent in the irrigation of crops in Lins—SP. M. Sc. Dissertation. University of São Paulo—‘Luiz de Queiroz’ College of Agriculture, Piracicaba, Brazil, 123 p. (in Portuguese).
15. Demattě, J. L. I. 2005. Sugarcane crop—Recovery and maintenance of soil fertility. Technical Bulletin, Department of Soil Science and Plant Nutrition, ‘Luiz de Queiroz’ College of Agriculture, Piracicaba, Brazil, 24 p. (in Portuguese).
16. Demétrio, V. A. 1978. Effect of soil water and temperature on agricultural and industrial performance of sugarcane (Saccharum spp.), Ph.D. Thesis. University of São Paulo—‘Luiz de Queiroz’ College of Agriculture, Piracicaba, Brazil, 98 p. (in Portuguese).
17. Deon, M. D., Gomes, T. M., Montes, C. R., Silva, E., Melfi, A. J., Carvalho, A. L. C. 2009. Sugarcane yield and quality under irrigation with sewage treatment plant effluent productivity. In: Proc., 3rd Workshop of water and reuse wastewater, 2009 (in Portuguese).
18. de Paula, A. M., da Fonseca, A. F., Cardoso, E. J. B. N., Melfi, A. J. 2010. Microbial metabolic potential affected by surplus wastewater irrigation in tropical soil cultivated with Tifton 85 bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon Pers. x C. niemfuensis Vanderyst). Water Air Soil Pollut. 205: 161-171.
19. De Souza, J. T., Leite, V. D., de Luna, J. G. 2001. Performance of upland rice irrigated with previously treated domestic sewage. Rev. Bras. Eng. Agric. Ambient. 5: 107-110. (in Portuguese).
20. Driessen, P., Deckers, J., Spaargaren, O. 2001. Lecture notes on the major soils of the world. F. A. O., Rome, Italy, pp. 155-161.
21. Duarte, A. S., Airoldi, R. P. S., Folegatti, M. V., Botrel, T. A., and Soares, T. M. 2008. Effects of application of treated wastewater in soil: pH, organic matter, phosphorus and potassium. Rev. Bras. Eng. Agric. Ambient. 12: 302-310. (in Portuguese).
22. Feigin, A., Ravina, I., Shalhevet, J. 1991. Irrigation with treated sewage effluent: management for environmental protection. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Germany. 224p.
23. Fent, K., Weston, A. A., Caminada, D. 2006. Ecotoxicology of human pharmaceuticals. Aquat. Toxicol. 76: 122-159.
24. FNP Consultoria & Comércio. 2006. Brazil Agrianual 2006—Brazilian agriculture yearbook. São Paulo, pp. 261-277. (in Portuguese).
25. Friedler, E., Lahav, O., Jizhaki, H., Lahav, T. 2006. Study of urban population attitudes towards various wastewater reuse options: Israel as a case study. J. Environ. Manage. 81: 360-370.
26. Gloaguen, T. V. 2006. Transference of chemical species through a soil cultivated with corn and sunflower and irrigated with treated sewage effluent, Ph.D. Thesis, University of São Paulo—Geosciences Institute, São Paulo, Brazil, 113 pp. (in Portuguese).
27. Gloaguen, T. V., Forti, M. C., Lucas, Y., Montes, C. R., Gonçalves, R. A. B., Herpin, U., Melfi, A. J. 2007. Soil solution chemistry of a Brazilian Oxisol irrigated with treated sewage effluent. Agric. Water Manage. 88: 119-13.
28. Gonçalves, R. A. B., Folegatti, M. V., Gloaguen, T. V., Libardi, P. L., Montes, C. R., Lucas, Y., Dias, C. T. S., Melfi, A. J. 2007. Hydraulic conductivity of a soil irrigated with treated sewage effluent. Geoderma 139: 241-248.
29. Hamilton, A. J., Stagnitti, F., Xiong, X., Kreidl, S. L., Benke, K. K., Maher, P. 2007. Wastewater irrigation: The state of play. Vadose Zone J. 6: 823-840.
30. Herpin, U., Gloaguen, T. V., da Fonseca, A. F., Montes, C. R., Mendonça, F. C., Piveli, R. P., Breulmann, G., Forti, M. C., and Melfi, A. J. 2007. Chemical effects on the soil-plant system in a secondary-treated wastewater irrigated coffee plantation—A pilot field study in Brazil. Agric. Water Manage. 89: 105-115.
31. Hespanhol, I. 2002. Water reuse potential in Brazil—agriculture, industry, cities and aquifer recharge. R. Bras. Rec. Hidr. 7: 75-95. (in Portuguese).
32. Hirsch, R., Ternes, T., Haberer, K., Kratz, K. L. 1999. Occurrence of antibiotics in the aquatic environment. Sci. Total Environ. 225: 109-118.
33. Kolpin, D. W., Furlong, E. T., Meyer, M. T., Thurman, E. M., Zaugg, S. D., Barber, L. B., Buxton, H. T. 2002. Pharmaceuticals, hormones and other waste water contaminants in US streams 1999-2000. A national reconnaissance. Environ. Sci. Technol. 36: 1202-1211.
34. Leal, R. M. P. 2007. Effects of treated sewage effluent irrigation on chemical properties of an Oxisol cultivated with sugarcane, M. Sc. Dissertation. University of São Paulo—‘Luiz de Queiroz’ College of Agriculture, Piracicaba, Brazil, 109 pp. (in Portuguese).
35. Leal, R. M. P., Firme, L. P., Montes, C. R., Melfi, A. J., Piedade, S. M. S. 2009a. Soil exchangeable cations, sugarcane production and nutrient uptake after wastewater irrigation. Sci. Agric. 66: 242-249.
36. Leal, R. M. P., Herpin, U., da Fonseca, A. F., Firme, L. P., Montes, C. R., Melfi, A. J. 2009b. Sodicity and salinity in a Brazilian Oxisol cultivated with sugarcane irrigated with wastewater. Agric. Water Manage. 96: 307-316.
37. Leal, R. M. P., Firme, L. P., Herpin, U., da Fonseca, A. F., Montes, C. R., Dias, C. T. S., Melfi, A. J. 2010. Carbon and nitrogen cycling in a tropical Brazilian soil cropped with sugarcane and irrigated with wastewater. Agric. Water Manage. 97: 271-276.
38. Medeiros, S. S., Soares, A. A., Ferreira, P. A., Neves, J. C. L., Matos, A. T., Souza, J. A. A. 2005. Application of domestic wastewater in agriculture: study of the chemical changes in soil. Rev. Bras. Eng. Agríc. Ambient. 9: 603-612. (in Portuguese).
39. Medeiros, S. S., Soares, F. A. L., Gheyi, H. R., Fernandes, P. D. 2007. Wastewater use of urban origin in cultivation of gerberas: effect on production components. Eng. Agric. 27: 569-578. (in Portuguese).
40. Medeiros, S. S., Soares, A. A., Ferreira, P. A., Neves, J. C. L., Souza, J. A. 2008. Use of wastewater of domestic origin in agriculture: a study of nutritional status of coffee. Rev. Bras. Eng. Agric. Ambient. 12: 109-115. (in Portuguese).
41. Melfi, A. J., Montes, C. R., Carvalho, A., Forti, M. C. 2004. Use of pedological maps in the identification of sensitivity of soils to acid deposition: application to Brazilian soil. An. Acad. Bras. Ciěnc. 76: 139-145.
42. Müller, K., Magesan, G. N., Bolan, N. S. 2007. A critical review of the influence of effluent irrigation on the fate of pesticides in soil. Agric. Ecosyst. Environ. 120: 93-116.
43. Porto, E. R., Amorin, M. C. C., Dutra, M. T., Paulino, R. V., Brito, L. T. L., Matos, A. N. B. 2006. Behavior of saltbush (Atriplex nummularia) irrigated with effluents from tilapia raised in brackish water. Rev. Bras. Eng. Agríc. Ambient. 10: 97-103. (in Portuguese).
44. Rosolen, V., Herpin, U., Fränzle, S., Breulmann, G., Camargo, P. B., Paganini. W. S., Cerri, C. C., Melfi, A. J., Markert, B. A. 2005. Land application of wastewater in Brazil—A scientific challenge: chemical characterization of soil at Populina, São Paulo State. J. Soils Sediments 5: 112-120.
45. Schubert, C. 2006. Can biofuels finally take center stage? Nat. Biotechnol. 24: 777-784.
46. SEBRAE (Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises). 2007. Biofuel brochure. Available at:
47. Segarra, E., Darwish, M. R., Ethridge, D. E. 1996. Returns to municipalities from integrating crop production with wastewater disposal. Resour. Conserv. Recycl. 17: 97-107.
48. Stumpf, M., Ternes, T. A., Wielken, R-D., Rodrigues, S. V., Baumann, W. 1999. Polar drug residues in sewage and natural waters in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sci. Total Environ. 225: 135-141.
49. Tillman, R. W., Surapaneni, A. 2002. Some soil-related issues in the disposal of effluent on land. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 42: 225-235.
50. Tilman, D., Cassman, K. G., Matson, P. A., Naylor, R., Polasky, S. 2002. Agricultural sustainability and intensive production practices. Nature 418: 671-677.
51. Toze, S. 2006. Reuse of effluent water—benefits and risks. Agric. Water Manage. 80: 147-159.
52. United States Department of Agriculture. 2009. Agricultural economy and policy report—Brazil. Available at:
53. Werner, J. C., Paulino, V. T., Cantarella, H., Andrade, N. O., Quaggio, J. A. 1996. Forage crops. In: Van Raij, B., Cantarella, H., Quaggio, J. A., Furlani, A. M. C., eds. Fertilization and liming recommendations to the State of São Paulo, 2nd ed. Technical Bulletin 100. Instituto Agronômico, Campinas, Brazil, pp. 263-273. (in Portuguese).

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Israel Journal of Plant Sciences — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation