Modeling of Fecal Coliform Bacteria in Surface Drip Irrigationin Clay Loam Soil

Document Type : Research Article


1 Tarbiat Modares University

2 Agricultural Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO)


Water for agriculture is one of the most important factors in arid and semi-arid areas and municipal wastewater treatment is an important resource for this purpose. Therefore, potential of transfer contaminations is a serious problem regarding use of treated wastewater for agriculture. Due to the risk of transfer contaminations through the use of wastewater, the study of transfer microbes in soil in recent decades has been of interest to researchers. In the present study, the transfer of bacteria fecal coliform was investigated in a lysimeter and the HYDRUS-1D model was used to simulate water flow and the fecal coliform in the soil. For calibration of the model and estimating the model input parameters, soil hydraulic and transport parameters, were inversely estimated. Results represented that the HYDRUS-1D with reasonably accurately simulated the outlet flow. To simulate the transfer of the bacteria in the soil, one site sorption model, two kinetic sites model (particle transport using attachment/detachment) and one kinetic site model were used. In the simulation of bacterial transfer, one site sorption model was selected as the proper model for this study. One site sorption model estimated solid-phase growth coefficient ( ) about sextuple more than liquid-phase. It showed that deposited cells had a higher division rate compared with the cell in liquid-phase. The calibrated model was used for surveying the effect various irrigation intervals and irrigation times on bacterial transfer. The results showed that by increasing irrigation times, more bacteria leached out from the soil. Also by increasing irrigation intervals, more bacteria observed in the soil profile, due to favorable environmental conditions and food for the bacteria growth. According to the results, the best interval and irrigation times were one day and four hours, respectively.


1- Abbasi F. 2007. Advanced Soil Physics. University of Tehran (in Persian).
2- Alinezhadian A., Mohammadi J., Karimi A., and Nikookhah F. 2013. Effect of municipal effluent irrigation on accumulation of indicator bacteria and some of heavy metal in soil and plant. Cellular and Molecular Researches (Iranian Journal of Biology). 26(4): 508-523.
3- Bekhit H.M., El-Kordy M.A., and Hassan A.E. 2009. Contaminant transport in groundwater in the presence of colloids and bacteria: Model development and verification. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology. 108(3):152-167.
4- Bradford S.A., Simunek J., and Walker S.L. 2006. Transport and straining of E. coli O157: H7 in saturated porous media. Water Resources Research, 42(12).
5- Carsel R.F., and Parrish R.S. 1988. Developing joint probability distributions of soil water retention characteristics. Water Resour. Res. 24:755-769.
6- Champ D.R. 1986. Microbial mediation of radionulide transport. In: Molz, F.H., Mercer, J.W., Wilson, J.T. (Eds), Abstract of the AGU Chapman Conference on Microbial Processes in the Transport, Fate, and In-Situ Treatment of Subsurface Contaminations, Snowbird, Utah. American Geophysical Union, Washington, DC, p. 17.
7- Crook J. 1998. Water reclamation and reuse criteria. In: Wastewater Reclamation and Reuse (Ed. Asano T.). Technomic Publishing, Lancaster. 627-703.
8- Cote C.M., Bristow K.L., Charlesworth P.B., Cook F.J., and Thorburn P.J. 2003. Analysis of soil wetting and solute transport in subsurface trickle irrigation. Irrigation Science. 22(3-4): 143-156.
9- Farrokhian F.A., Homaei M., Clumpp E., Kasteel R., and Satari M. 2012. Bacteria transport and deposition in calcareous soils under saturated flow condition. Journal of Water and Soil (Agricultural Science and Technology). 53: 58-68. (in Persian)
10- Farrokhian F.A., Homaei M., and Satari M. 2011. Quantitative study of microbial contaminant attachment and detachment in calcareous soil. Environmental Sciences. 8(1): 23-38. (in Persian with English abstract)
11- Farrokhian F.A. 2010. Modeling Microbial Contaminant Transport in Calcareous Soils under Saturated and unsaturated Conditions. (in Persian with English abstract)
12- Fontes D. E., Mills A. L., Hornberger G., and Herman J. S. 1991. Physical and chemical factors influencing transport of micro organisms through porous media. Appl Environ Microbiol. 57:2473-2481.
13- Gargiulo G., Bradford S., Šimunek J., Ustohal P., Vereecken H., and Klumpp E. 2008. Bacteria transport and deposition under unsaturated flow conditions: The Role of Water Content and Bacteria Surface Hydrophobicity. Vadose Zone J., 7: 406–419.
14- Gargiulo G., Bradford S., Šimunek J., Ustohal P., Vereecken H., and Klumpp E. 2007. Transport and deposition of metabolically active and stationary phase Deinococcus radiodurans in unsaturated porous media. Environmental Science & Technology. 41(4): 1265-1271.
15- Geohring L.D., Wright P.E., Steenhuis T.S., and Walter M.F. 1999. Fecal coliforms in tile drainage effluent. ASAE Paper No.992203. St. Joseph, MI: ASAE.
16- Gerba C.P., Wallis C., and Melnick J.L. 1975. Fate of wastewater bacteria and viruses in soil. Journal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering. 101: 157-174.
17- Guber A.K., Shelton D.R., and Pachepsky Ya.A. 2005. Effect of manure on Esherichia coli attachment to soil. J. Environ. Qual. 34: 2086-2090.
18- Horan N. J. 2003. Faecal Indicator Organisms. The Handbook of Water and Wastewater Microbiology. 105-112.
19- Huysman F., and Verstraete W. 1993. Water-facilitated transport in porous media– evaluation of a model using laboratory observation. Water Resour. Res. 28: 915-923.
20- Jamieson R. C., Gordon R. J., Sharples K. E., Stratton G. W., and Madani A. 2002. Movement and persistence of fecal bacteria in agricultural soils and subsurface drainage water. Canadian Biosystems Engineering Journal. 44: 1.1-1.9.
21- Jiang S., Pang L., Buchan G.D., Šimunek J., Noonan M.J., and Close M.E. 2010. Modeling water flow and bacterial transport in undisturbed lysimeters under irrigations of dairy shed effluent and water using HYDRUS-1D. Water Research (Oxford). 44(4): 1050-1061.
22- Pang L., McLeod M., Aislabie J., Šimůnek J., Close M., and Hector R. 2008. Modeling transport of microbes in ten undisturbed soils under effluent irrigation. Vadose Zone Journal, 7(1), 97-111.
23- Pescod M. B. 1992. Wastewater treatment and use in agriculture–FAO Irrigation and Drainage. Paper 47. 125 p.
24- Rawls W.J., Brakensiek D.L., and Saxton K.E. 1982. Estimating soil water properties. Trans. ASAE, 25(5):1316-1320 and 1328.
25- Rose J. B., and Gerba C. P. 1991. Assessing potential health risks from viruses and parasites in reclaimed water in Arizona and Florida, USA. Water Sci. Tech., 23: 2091-2098.
26- Safadoust A., Mahboubi A. A., Mosaddeghi M. R., Gharabaghi B., Voroney P., Unc A., and Khodakaramian Gh. 2012. Significance of physical weathering of two-texturally different soils for the saturated transport of Escherichia coli and bromide. J. Environmental Management. 107: 147-158.
27- Schaap M.G., Leij F.J., and Van Genuchten M.Th. 2001. ROSETTA: A computer program for estimating soil hydraulic parameters with hierarchical pedotransfer functions. J. Hydrol., 251: 163-176.
28- Schäfer A., Ustohal P., Harms H., Stauffer F., Dracos T., and Zehnder A. J. 1998. Transport of bacteria in unsaturated porous media. Journal of Contaminant Hydrology. 33(1): 149-169.
29- Simunek J., Jacques D., Twarakavi NK. C., and Van Genuchten M. Th. 2009. Selected HYDRUS modules for modeling subsurface flow and contaminant transport as influenced by biological processes at various scales. Biologia. 64(3): 465-469.
30- Travis M. J., Wiel-Shafran A., Weisbrod N., Adar E., and Gross A. 2010. Greywater reuse for irrigation: Effect on soil properties. Science of the Total Environment. 408: 2501-2508.
31- Tufenkji N. 2007. Modeling microbial transport in porous media: Traditional approaches and recent developments. Advances in Water Resources, 30(6), 1455-1469.