Sludge loading rates for forest land

D. A. Haith, J. E. Reynolds, P. T. Landre, T. L. Richard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


A mathematical model is developed to evaluate applying municipal wastewater sludges to forest land. The model is used to estimate sludge loading rates that produce steady state nitrate concentrations in percolation that meet water quality standards. Annual loading rates for aerobically and anaerobically digested sludges consistent with a 10-mg/l standard are computed for conifer and hardwood forests in the eight forest regions of New York. These rates vary from 1.7 to 2.7 Mg/ha of dry mass for conifers and from 1.4 to 2.3 Mg/ha for hardwoods among the various forest areas, or in terms of sludge nitrogen, 85 to 135 kg/ha for conifers and 70 to 115 kg/ha for hardwoods. Sludge application rates are sensitive to annual nitrogen uptakes by vegetation, and estimates of these quantities are very uncertain. A geographic information system is used to identify the amount of forest land within each region that meets state regulatory restrictions for sludge disposal. It is determined that sufficient forest land is available to accept large portions of the state's sludge production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-208
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering (United States)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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