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Alternative wastewater treatment systems combat many on-site disposal problems, but no incentives are given to householders to improve the domestic wastewater quality before treatment or disposal. While governments address phosphorus reduction programs, the effect of sodium in wastewater is ignored. Many laundry detergents use sodium salts as fillers, adding significant sodium to the wastewater. This paper addresses the sources of sodium in household products and examines the impact of sodium rich wastewater on various soil profiles. A loss of soil hydraulic conductivity results from the use of sodic wastewater in disposal fields. Simply by changing laundry products, a reduction of up to 38% of the current sodium concentrations in domestic wastewater can be achieved at no cost to the consumer with no negative impact on household operations. Many environmental benefits accrue, including increased efficiency of on-site disposal.
domestic wastewater, drain fields, laundry products, on-site systems, sodic wastewater, sodium, soil hydraulic conductivity
Director, Lanfax Laboratories, Armidale, NSW