Project Title: An investigation of soil quality parameters relating to agricultural reuse and land disposal options for the management of sludges.
Student: Aoife O’Connor
Supervisor: Eamonn Grennan
Funding Body: Higher Education Authority
A research study is proposed, to examine the dual issues of soil quality parameters relating to agricultural reuse and land disposal options for the management of a range of municipal and industrial sludges. Both issues include the disciplines of soil science and agricultural science.
In the first part of the study, pilot trial plots will be established to examine the effect of selected sludge parameters on the fertility of soils and the quality of plants grown on trial soils.
In the second part of the study, the viability of using sludges to rehabilitate mine tailings land into usable land will be investigated. Small amounts (20 tonnes) of mine tailings from 6-10 sources will be transported to Sligo for pilot trials. The tailings samples will be mixed with selected sludges and studied, using a range of quality parameters, including heavy metal and pathogen content.
Results from pilot trials will be used to establish field trials at three sites using larger scale plots. Field trials will include the planting of selected plants with proven applicability in rehabilitation of mine tailings.
The project involves direct collaboration with Teagasc (the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority).