A comprehensive and molecular level evaluation of treated wastewater reusing via drip systems: interactions of dissolved ions and hydraulic shear stresses on calcium carbonate scaling

Shen, Yan
Zhou, Bo
Xiao, Yang
Liu, Wenchao
Si, Buchun
Li, Yunkai
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To overcome the global water shortage, the treated wastewater is increasingly utilized in agricultural irrigation, and thus reducing freshwater consumption and increasing the water sustainability. Drip irrigation technology is the most appropriate irrigation method to utilize these water sources. However, its operating performance is negatively affected by calcium carbonate (CaCO3) scaling, which is one of the most dominant precipitations and also closely related to dissolved ions and the hydraulic characteristics inside irrigation systems. Thus, the effects of eight common dissolved ions (K+, Mg2+, Mn2+, Zn2+, Fe3+, NO3-, SO42-, and PO43-) in these water sources and four hydraulic shear stresses (0, 0.2, 0.4, and 0.6 Pa) on CaCO3 scaling formation were assessed in this study. Results showed that CaCO3 scaling was primarily formed of calcite and aragonite. Fe3+ would significantly accelerate the CaCO3 scaling accumulation, as it reduced the unit cell volume and chemical bonds of calcite, enhancing calcite adhesion and stability. On the other hand, Mg2+, Mn2+, NO3-, SO42-, and PO43- significantly inhibited CaCO3 scaling. Among them, Mg2+, Mn2+, and PO43- followed the typical water chemical precipitation rule, while NO3- increased water molecule diffusion rate and thus decreased the possibility that Ca2+ and CO32- to precipitate. SO42- grabbed the binding point belonging to CO32- and was adsorbed on the calcite crystal, which inhibited crystal growth. However, those treatments under K+ and Zn2+ did not reach a significant level due to their solubleness. During the precipitation of CaCO3, there were significant (p < 0.01) interactions between dissolved ions and hydraulic shear stresses. When hydraulic shear stresses varied, the effects of Fe3+ and SO42- on the CaCO3 scaling were relatively weakened, while that of Mg2+ was relatively strengthened. In return, dissolved ions affected the effect of hydraulic shear stresses on CaCO3 scaling. Overall, the results obtained could provide theoretical reference for high-efficiency utilization of treated wastewater for agricultural irrigation through the management of CaCO3 scaling ​
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