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Cairo sewage farm after 80 years of sewage effluent application


, : Cairo sewage farm after 80 years of sewage effluent application. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 32(7): 363

Sewage water from the eastern bank of Cairo has been pumped to Gabal el Asfar sewage farm, where citrus trees and other crops are cultivated, since 1920 in view to reclaim the sandy desert around the megacity Cairo/Egypt. To evaluate the possible (expected) changes on the soil and groundwater due to sewage irrigation, the physio-chemical properties of the soil (pH, electric conductivity, organic and carbonate contents), the physio-chemical parameters of the groundwater (pH, hardness, EC, etc. ) and the hydrochemical parameters (cations, anions, heavy metals Ni, Cu, Pb, Cd, Cr, Zn, Mn, Fe) of Gabal el Asfar area were studied. Soil samples have been taken systematically from different locations and different depths (10, 30, 60 and 100 cm). The concentrations of metals in the soil were determined by the XRF, AAS and/or ICP-AES methods. The metal mobility in the upper soil (10 and 30 cm depth) is determined by HCl, H2O2 and citric acid leaching of the soil samples. AAS and ICP-AES methods have been used to determine the cation concentrations in groundwater. The spatial variations of the heavy metals and the organic contents in the study area were modelled and profiled. The upper soil has been polluted with heavy metals like Fe, Zn, Cr, Cu, and Mn due to the long term application of sewage irrigation. Mn, Zn, and Fe concentrations are relatively high and could represent a danger because of their possible migration into the groundwater. The groundwater of the area is contaminated with Mn, Zn, Fe, nitrite, nitrate and chloride. From the groundwater flow direction and the distribution of the heavy metals and the anions we can conclude that the inhabitants of El Khanka city, west Gabal el Asfar area, might be endangered by the influence of the pollutant elements.

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