Sunday, February 24, 2008

Using Effluent Water on Golf Courses

Water is the most precious resource on Earth. And despite the amazing ability of turfgrass to use water efficiently, concerns about conservation have led golf courses to increasingly turn to effluent water for irrigation.
Sometimes called "gray water," effluent is essentially partially treated wastewater from community sewage or industry. It usually is cleansed of major pollutants, but still contains enough trace amounts of saline (salt), heavy metals (such as zinc and cadmium) and bacteria to render it undrinkable.
In the past, communities often simply dumped effluent back into lakes and rivers. But today, golf courses are being viewed as environmentally desirable disposal sites for effluent. In fact, golf courses can serve as highly effective wastewater treatment facilities for this partially polluted water.
Dense, well-managed turfgrass areas are among the best filtration systems available for polluted water. The thatch layer in turf, which consists of dead and decaying organic material, traps and holds particulate pollutants in the water and allows them to degrade naturally. The effluent that goes on the course as irrigation is actually cleansed and returned to lakes, streams and groundwater supplies.