Effects of a new waste-processing by-product on soil and vegetation at Fort Campbell, Tennessee

R. R. Busby, D. L. Gebhart, H. A. Torbert, J. O. Dawson, G. A. Bollero, K. N. Potter, D. R. Curtin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A garbage-processing technology has been developed that sterilizes and separates inorganic and organic components of municipal solid waste. A study was initiated to evaluate the uncomposted organic by-product of this process as a soil amendment for establishing native prairie grasses on disturbed Army training lands. The waste was incorporated into a silt loam soil at Fort Campbell Military Reservation in the central United States. The waste material was applied at rates of 0, 4.5, 9, 18, and 36 Mg ha-1 and seeded with native prairie grasses to assess its effects on vegetation for two growing seasons, with an additional unseeded control treatment for comparison to natural recovery. Treatments receiving the highest rate of application had significantly more native grass basal cover and percent composition than the controls. Plant phosphorus accumulation increased significantly with increasing pulp application. Soil phosphorus and lead concentrations increased in the top 10 cm of the highest application rates where pulp was mixed in the soil. Because minimal environmental effects were detected and the pulp improved perennial grass establishment and nutrition at the 36 Mg ha-1 rate, land application should be considered a viable and beneficial alternative to current waste-management practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-266
Number of pages17
JournalCommunications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Heavy metals
  • Municipal waste
  • Nutrient immobilization
  • Plant establishment
  • Soil restoration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Soil Science


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