Skip to Main Content
Municipal Sludge Application in Forests of Northern Michigan: a Case Study.Author(s): D.G. Brockway; P.V. Nguyen
Source: In: Cole, D.W., Henry C.L., Nutter, W.L. (eds.), The Forest Alternative for Treatment and Utilization of Municipal and Industrial Wastes.University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.Pp. 447-496.
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: Download Publication (959 KB)
DescriptionA large-scale operational demonstration and research project was cooperatively established by the US. Environmental Protection Agency, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and Michigan State University to evaluate the practice of forest land application as an option for sludge utilization. Project objectives included completing (1) a logistic and economic assessment and demonstration of the technology available for conducting sludge applications in forest stands, and (2) several research studies that would augment knowledge in the areas of public involvement and acceptance, wildlife populations, food-chain transmission of potential toxicants, groundwater quality, nutrient cycling, and vegetation growth. Field trials in four forest types (aspen, oak, pine, northern hardwoods) were of a completely random design covering 54 ha, of which 18 ha were treated with nearly 4 million liters of anaerobically digested sludge. Average solids loading ranged from 8 to 10 Mg/ha,resulting in total nitrogen levels of 400 to 800 kg/ha. Differences in loading levels of nutrients, heavy metals, and trace elements were generally not significant among treated plots. Sludge was transported by truck a distance of 80 km to the study sites and sprayed by an all-terrain tanker on the forest floor at a cost of $48,576. The resulting unit cost of 1.3 cents per liter was comparable to typical operational costs for sludge application to farmland, considering the greater transport distance in this study. Preliminary findings indicate an enhanced nutritive quality of forage on fertilized plots and a resulting increase in use by both deer and elk. Increases in plant growth were related to elevated levels of soil nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. Slight increases of nitrate were observed in soil percolate within one year of application, but these rapidly returned to near background concentrations. Analysis of sociological data provided new insights into public concerns and attitudes and outlined a process for constructive citizen involvement in program planning.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationBrockway, D.G.; Nguyen, P.V. 1986. Municipal Sludge Application in Forests of Northern Michigan: a Case Study. In: Cole, D.W., Henry C.L., Nutter, W.L. (eds.), The Forest Alternative for Treatment and Utilization of Municipal and Industrial Wastes.University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.Pp. 447-496.
- Sludge fertilization of State Forest land in northern Michigan
- Forest Floor, Soil, andVegetation Responses to Sludge Fertilization in Red and White Pine Plantations
- Relating Research Results to Sludge Guidelines for Michigan's Forests
XML: View XML