Reclaimed water has been given many labels: re-use water, wastewater, livestock waste, effluent, slurry water, and treated municipal waste. Whatever we name it, reclaimed water has moved from a troublesome byproduct to a valuable asset. Valley® center pivots, often equipped with special sprinkler packages, have been demonstrating that long-term land application of reclaimed water, when designed and managed properly, is a sustainable and environmentally compatible method of handling reclaimed water.
Towns, villages and large cities are finding the land application of reclaimed water with center pivots to be a cost effective, environmentally safe disposal option. Plus, industrial facilities, such as food processors, paper, pulp and wood products producers, use center pivots for land application and disposal of their process byproducts.
On the agricultural side, livestock and poultry facilities of all sizes are using Valley center pivots with great success. Proper management of reclaimed animal wastewater through a center pivot can be both cost-effective and environmentally safe. The quantity and composition of animal wastes produced influence the sprinkler package design that is used to distribute the livestock reclaimed water.
Livestock managers must always maintain extra storage capacity in their liquid storage holding facilities to accommodate unexpected heavy rainfall events. These extreme rainfall events create the immediate need for additional reclaimed water storage and disposal. Well-planned applications of the lagoon reclaimed water through center pivots provide the double benefit of irrigating valuable crops and increase the available storage capacity to lagoons and holding ponds.
The science behind it
When applied to cropland through a center pivot, reclaimed water is cleansed by the growing crop and the root zone, which acts as a biological filter using natural soil and plant actions. Applying reclaimed water to the soil begins a series of natural and biological processes. After initial reduction by surface evaporation, a high percentage of the materials in the effluent are absorbed with the root zone of growing crops. As the water percolates beyond the root zone, additional suspended and dissolved materials continue to break down biologically or become attached to soil particles.
Being an environmentally conscious neighbor
Whenever reclaimed water is land-applied through a center pivot, the operator must ensure that all methods, equipment and procedures meet public scrutiny. In addition to being a good neighbor, design parameters, regulations and environmental requirements for each local area must be followed. Valley center pivots can be successfully used to minimize environmental impact of spray drift and runoff. Center pivots have the ability to handle large quantities of reclaimed water easily and particularly the ability to apply it to actively growing crops with minimal negative impact on the crop.
Your local Valley center pivot dealer is an excellent source of information and assistance to properly design a Valley pivot for land application of reclaimed water.