Florida is one of the larger producers of reclaimed water in the U.S., and use of this water has increased greatly in the past ten years. The objective of this study is to compare changes in reclaimed water use by different entities over the past several years. From 1986 to 2002, total reuse treatment capacity and flow in Florida increased by 221% and 183%, respectively. In the 1980s, reclaimed water was considered to be an urban disposal problem, and cities encouraged use of this water by giving it away for no charge. Because it was free, agricultural irrigation became the largest user of reclaimed water in the mid-1990s and is still one of the larger users. From 1992 to 2002, overall agricultural land area irrigated with reclaimed water increased by 77%. Land area of edible crops irrigated with reclaimed water increased during that period but remained relatively constant around 6070 ha after 1996. Irrigation of other crops increased to 9800 ha. Golf course irrigation increased by 212% to 20,476 ha while residential irrigation increased around 8147% to 33,373 ha during this period. Total flow to ground water recharge and industrial uses increased by 125% and 424%, respectively. While agricultural irrigation is still a large user of this water, other uses such as golf course, residential, groundwater recharge, and industrial are becoming more important. Some cities are no longer willing to provide this water to agriculture for no charge as competition from other entities increases. Agriculture may have to pay for the water, use less water, or develop other water sources.
In 1988, the Florida Legislature passed the Solid Waste Management Act that affected the solid waste disposal practices of every county in the state. With legislation directly affecting the industry, organic recyclers and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) regulators recognized a need to establish a professional organization that could serve as a unified industry voice, and foster high standards and ethics in the business of recycling and reuse of organic materials. In December 1994, a meeting was held to discuss the formulation of a Florida organic recycling association which became known as the Florida Organics Recyclers Association (FORA). FORA's first major contribution to the industry was the development of a recycling best management practice manual for yard trash in 1996. The second major project undertaken by FORA was a food waste diversion project which sought to promote an increase in food waste recovery and reuse. In Spring 1999, FORA became the organic division of Recycling Florida Today (RFT) further unifying recycling efforts within the State of Florida. In an attempt to address mounting concerns regarding industry marketing and promotional needs, RFT/FORA developed an organic recycling facility directory for the State of Florida in Spring 2000. Most recently RFT/FORA developed an organic recycling facility operator training course outline to assist the FDEP in identifying industry training needs. From its modest beginnings in 1994, to future joint programming efforts with the University of Florida's Florida Organic Recycling Center for Excellence (FORCE), RFT/FORA continues to emerge as a viable conduit of educational information for public and private agencies relative to organic recycling in Florida.
One of the most widely used substrates in nursery production is peat, which is used as plain substrate or mixed with other media. Peat use is problematic, primarily because of the high price and the environmental implications connected with its extraction and disposal. For these reasons, the exploitation will be restricted in the future in both Europe and America. Thus, researchers are under pressure to find alternative substrates that can be used in an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way. Although aged, carbonized and composted rice hulls have been used to a limited extent, more studies are needed to characterize fresh rice hulls as a growing medium. This research was aimed at characterizing fresh hulls after being ground in different particle sizes, and comparing them with peat. Ground hulls were separated into four fractions (6-, 4-, 2-, and 1-mm diameter), which were characterized for pH, EC, CEC, organic matter, and total nitrogen content. The water retention curve was also estimated and the following hydraulic characteristics were measured and compared: TP, CC, AFP, EAW, and WBC. As expected, pH, N, and C content and CEC did not differ among rice hull fractions, while EC showed a slight but constant increase when particle dimensions decreased. Compared to peat, the TP of rice hulls was smaller independently from particle dimensions, but AFP was 19.5%, 44,1%, 114.2%, and 115.8% higher for 1-, 2-, 4-, and 6-mm particles, respectively, indicating a very good aeration capacity. EAW and WBC were higher only in 1- and 2-mm particles. A further experiment aimed at comparing the behavior of transplants in rice hulls (6 mm) and peat showed that tomato plantlets grew slower in the former, although transplants were of good, marketable quality.
Posidonia [Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile] is a marine phanerogam endemic of the Mediterranean Sea that grows all along the coast forming extensive underwater meadows. Senescent posidonia leaves, together with fibers (residues of rhizomes and decomposed leaves), periodically accumulate along Mediterranean beaches, covering vast areas of coast. Removal and disposal of these large volumes of plant biomasses represent a high cost for local administrations. Therefore, in this experiment, beached residues of posidonia were composted with olive pruning and green wastes with the objective to assess the efficacy of posidonia-based compost (63% on a volume basis) as a peat replacement. The compost was then mixed with a peat-based commercial substrate at rates of 0% (C0, pure peat-based commercial substrate tested as control), 25% (C25), 50% (C50), 75% (C75), and 100% (C100, pure posidonia-based compost) v/v. Mixtures were used as growing media to produce lettuce seedlings for transplant. Two lettuce cultivars (8511RZ and Satine) were tested. Main physical and chemical properties of the five growing media, shoot and root fresh and dry weight, leaf area, root morphology, and elemental leaf tissue composition were studied. Growing media containing posidonia-based compost, C25 and C50 in particular, showed good physical properties. Increasing compost proportions in the mixtures resulted in enhanced: 1) availability of macro- and micronutrients in the growing media; and 2) overall growth parameters of lettuce seedlings, in particular for the cultivar Satine. In conclusion, posidonia-based compost shows a considerable potential as a peat substitute in horticultural substrates; posidonia residues are a low-cost renewable material. In growing media for lettuce seedlings production, posidonia-based compost could be used as a complement to peat at a rate of 25% or 50% to obtain optimal physical properties and to limit the negative effects of high B content, which are typical of posidonia residues.
Saline agricultural drainage water may be used as a resource to grow high value horticultural crops and reduce the volume of drainage for eventual disposal. To explore reuse options the effects of salinity and timing of application were tested on selected leafy vegetables grown in 24 sand culture plots in Riverside, Calif. The leafy winter vegetables included `Ruby Red Chard' Swiss chard [Beta vulgaris L. var. flavescens (Lam.) Lam.], `Space' spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.), `Vitamin Green' salad greens [Brassica rapa L. (Narinosa Group)], `Red Giant' mustard greens [Brassica juncea L. (Czerniak)], pac choi [Brassica rapa L. (Chinensis Group)], `Winterbor' kale [Brassica oleracea L. (Acephala Group)], tatsoi [Brassica rapa L. (Narinosa Group)], `Salad King' curly endive (Cichorium endivia L.), and `Red Preco No. 1' radicchio (Cichorium intybus L.). All vegetables were planted at the same time and irrigated initially with tap water and nutrients. At 3 and 7 weeks after seeding (application times), six salinity treatments were initiated by adding salts to the irrigation water to represent the chemical compositions of drainage waters found typically in the San Joaquin Valley, Calif. The six salinity treatments had electrical conductivities of 3 (control), 7, 11, 15, 19, or 23 dS·m-1. A randomized complete block design was used with (6 salinities × 2 application times × 2 replications). Within each plot a 1.5-m row of each of the nine vegetables was grown as split plots. Salinity reduced fresh weight (FW) yields of all species. Salt stress applied at 3 weeks after seeding reduced FWs for seven of the nine vegetables compared to salination at 7 weeks. Analyses of salt tolerance curves, maximum yields, and the point of 50% yield reduction (C50) were conducted. Greens produced the highest biomass at 874 g/plant, but was the most affected by application time. Swiss chard and radicchio were not significantly affected by timing of salinity application, and Swiss chard was the most salt tolerant overall. Greens, kale, pac choi, and to a lesser extent, tatsoi, have potential as winter-grown, leafy vegetables in drainage water reuse systems.
Using organic wastes as agricultural amendments is a productive alternative to disposal in landfills, providing nutrients for plant growth and carbon to build soil organic matter. Despite these benefits, a large fraction of organic waste is sent to landfills. Obstacles to the adoption of wastes as sources of plant nutrients include questions about harmful effects to crops or soils and the wastes’ ability to produce satisfactory yields. We compared six organic waste amendments with a mineral fertilizer control (CN) to determine effects on soil quality, soil fertility, crop quality, and crop yield in 2013 and 2014. Waste amendments were applied at a rate sufficient to supply 10,000 kg organic C/ha over two seasons, and mineral fertilizer was applied to control plots to provide 112 kg-N/ha/yr. The experiment was laid out in a randomized block design with four replicates and three crops: sweet corn (Zea mays L. cv. Applause, Brocade, and Montauk), butternut squash (Cucurbita moschata Duchesne cv. JWS 6823), and potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L. cv. Eva). Amendment with biosolids/yard waste cocompost (BS), dehydrated restaurant food waste (FW), gelatin manufacturing waste (GW), multisource compost (MS), paper fiber/chicken manure blend (PF), and yard waste compost (YW) did not have a negative impact on soil moisture, bulk density, electrical conductivity (EC), or the concentration of heavy metals in soil or plant tissue. Our results indicate potential uses for waste amendments including significantly raising soil pH (MS) and increasing soil organic matter [OM (YW and BS)]. The carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N) of waste amendments was not a reliable predictor of soil inorganic N levels, and only some wastes increased potentially mineralizable nitrogen (PMN) levels relative to the control. Plots amended with BS, FW, and GW produced yields of sweet corn, butternut squash, and potatoes comparable with the control, whereas plots amended with YW, PF, and MS produced lower yields of sweet corn, squash, or both, although yields for potatoes were comparable with the control. In addition, the marketability of potatoes from PF plots was significantly better than that of the control in 2014. None of the wastes evaluated in this study had negative impacts on soil properties, some provided benefits to soil quality, and all produced comparable yields for at least one crop. Our results suggest that all six wastes have potential to be used as sources of plant nutrients.
A qualitative systems approach to controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is presented by means of several multi-institutional projects integrated into a demonstration greenhouse at the Burlington County Resource Recovery Complex (BCRRC), N.J. The greenhouse has about 0.4 ha of production space, and is located about 800 m from the about 40-ha BCRRC landfill site. A portion of the landfill gas produced from the BCRRC site is used for microturbine electricity generation and for heating the greenhouse. The waste heat from the turbines, which are roughly 15 m from the greenhouse, is used as the main heat source for the greenhouse in the winter months, and to desalinate water when heating is not required. Recovery of this waste heat increases the energy efficiency of the four 30-kW turbines from about 25% to 75%. Within the greenhouse, aquaculture and hydroponic crop production are coupled by recycling the aquaculture effluent as a nutrient source for the plants. Both the sludge resulting from the filtered effluent and the inedible biomass from harvested plants are vermicomposted (i.e., rather than being sent to the landfill), resulting in marketable products such as soil amendments and liquid plant fertilizer. If suitably cleaned of contaminants, the CO2 from the landfill gas may be used to enrich the plant growing area within the greenhouse to increase the yield of the edible products. Landfill gas from the BCRRC site has successfully been processed to recover liquid commercial grade CO2 and contaminant-free methane-CO2, with the potential for this gas mixture to be applied as a feedstock for fuel cells or for methanol production. Carbon dioxide from the turbine exhaust may also be recovered for greenhouse enrichment. Alternatively, algal culture may be used to assimilate CO2 from the turbine exhaust into biomass, which may then be used as a biofuel, or possibly as fish feed, thus making the system more self-contained. By recycling energy and materials, the system described would displace fossil fuel use, mitigating negative environmental impacts such as greenhouse gas emissions, and generate less waste in need of disposal. Successful implementation of the coupled landfill (gas-to-energy · aquaponic · desalination) system would particularly benefit developing regions, such as those of the Greater Caribbean Basin.
waste, plantable containers eliminate the container removal, clean up, and disposal costs associated with a landscape installation because they remain intact when plants are transplanted. Compostable containers may be either composted at backyard or
second largest source of all methane production in the United States ( EPA, 2010b ). The United States has ≈1800 operating landfills ( EPA, 2010b ). In Texas, there are 280 permitted landfills with an average disposal cost of $27.80 per ton ( Texas
Mulches Conserve Soil Moisture and Suppress Weeds Plastic mulch commonly is used in commercial vegetable production, but plastic disposal has negative environmental consequences. Wortman et al. (p. 148) studied the performance of alternatives, including