Sludge Utilization in Alpine Reclamation

Objective:

To evaluate the effectiveness of sludge application on reclaimed areas in an alpine location.

Methods

  • The study was established in 1999 with ANC sludge on a recontoured spoil pile in the Alpine. 
  • Plots included: 3 plots capped with reclamation material and 2 plots with no capping material.
  • Capped material was comprised mainly of salvaged surface material.
  • Uncapped was mainly weathered rock or a combination of subsoil and spoil material.
  • Sludge was applied at an application rate of 32 BDT/ha.
  • Prior to application of the sludge the plots were seeded with an alpine mix and raked  to incorporate the seed.
  • Samples were collected from the 0 to 15 cm depth in the capped and uncapped areas.
  • A site visit  was made on August 26, 1999 to assess the vegetation performance and take photographs.

Results and Conclusions

  • The sludge amendment resulted in excellent and uniform grass establishment.  
  • Enhanced growth was associated with the sludge amended treatment  compared to the control treatment.
  • This benefit can be attributed to the “organic” nature of the sludge which results in excellent moisture retention and the nutrients contained in the material.
  • The sludge was still evident ten years after application and native species continued to invade the site. 
  • Species observed for the first time in 2006 had increased substantially in number by 2009. 
  • One example is the sedge which has been identified as Norway sedge (Carex norvegica). 
  • Willow was becoming increasingly more common along with American vetch and several other species.