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Non-pressure compensating emitters using treated sewage effluent for irrigation/Gotejadores nao autocompensantes usando efluente de esgoto tratado para irrigacao.


The consumption of water in agriculture in Brazil is approximately 70% of total (ANA, 2015). This significant demand, coupled with the scarcity of water resources in Brazil's populous regions and the need for alternative sources of plant nutrients, indicates that agriculture should be given priority in the reuse of treated sewage effluent (TSE).

Instead of contaminating surface water and groundwater with nutrients in sewage effluent, its use as irrigation water can meet the water and nutrient requirements of crops. Drip irrigation is used for applying TSE and has advantages such as saving water, high efficiency and low contamination of the agricultural product (DAZHUANG et al., 2009), and it is characterized by low flow rate, with minimal environmental, health and economic impact.

The presence of highly variable amounts of microorganisms in wastewater, which can agglomerate with mineral or organic particles in suspension and chemicals in the water, such as iron and sodium, can cause obstruction of drippers. Clogging of drippers is a serious problem associated with drip irrigation, compromising the uniformity of water application (NAKAYAMA & BUCKS, 1991), the main disadvantage of using TSE in a drip irrigation system.

In assessing the obstruction of emitters with TSE (LIU & HANG, 2009) reported that the characteristics studied were affected by the type of emitter and operating time. Although, important studies on the subject have already been carried out, there is a need for additional studies to evaluate technical aspects and irrigation equipment, especially with the use of non-pressure compensating emitters, which had a lower cost but showed a higher prevalence of obstruction in relation to other irrigation systems.

This study aimed to evaluate the obstruction of six models of non-pressure compensating emitters using TSE for irrigation.


The study was carried out at an experimental farm of FCAV-UNESP Jaboticabal Campus (21[degrees] 14' 41,9"S and 48[degrees] 16' 25,2"W), and the TSE used was collected from the sewage treatment station in the municipality of Jaboticabal, SP, Brazil. Under appropriate conditions, similar to those of an operational unit of localized irrigation, a field experiment was set up in a flat area, and the test consisted of six side lines (LL) of different models of non-pressure compensating drippers, spaced 0.5m apart, in which TSE was used for irrigation.

TSE was subjected to analyses of chemical and physical characteristics and total coliforms, which resulted in pH = 7.1, total nitrogen = 53.0mg [L.sup.-1], total iron = 0.52mg [L.sup.-1], sedimentable solids = 0.2mg [L.sup.-1], sodium = 58.3mg [L.sup.-1] and total coliforms = 47.433MPN (100mL)-1. Solids present in the wastewater were removed using a disc filter (130pm = 120 mesh) (Azud[R]) installed near the entrance to lateral lines, which was cleaned every day.

The non-pressure compensating drippers used in the experiment and their main technical characteristics are presented in table 1. To avoid possible bias, positive or negative, drippers used were coded E1 to E6, since

the tests conducted were not standardized.

The first evaluation was performed with clean water and occurred after the experiment was set up. In the first test, which was considered standard, six flow rate tests were performed in the same drippers, previously identified, every 100h. Sixteen emitters were evaluated in each LL, and four emitters served as replicates; thus, there were four replicates per LL. During the flow rate test, the pressure at the beginning of the LL was maintained at 100kPa using a pressure regulator and monitored using Bourdon manometers and a mercury manometer. The system was turned on for 6h per day, from Monday to Friday, totaling a time of use of 600h and 140 days at the end of the experiment.

In the evaluations, collectors were placed below the drippers to collect the TSE. Each dripper was isolated using a string for the proper collection of TSE. Time of collection was 4min. The collected liquid was then weighed on an electronic scale, and later, the mass was transformed to L [h.sup.-1], using a density of 1g [cm.sup.-3] for TSE.

Performance of drippers was evaluated by calculating the relative flow rate (Qr) using equation 1, flow rate coefficient of variation (CVQ) using equation 2 and degree of clogging (GE) using equation 3, as described below:

Qr = Qa/Qi 100 (1)

where: Qr is relative flow rate, %; Qa is actual flow rate, L [h.sup.-1]; and Qi is flow rate at the beginning of the experiment, L [h.sup.-1].

CVQ = S/[q.sub.m] 100 (2)

where: CVQ is flow rate coefficient of variation, %; S is standard deviation of the sample, L [h.sup.-1]; and qm is mean flow rate of the sample, L [h.sup.-1].

GE = (1-Qa/Qi) 100 (3)

GE is degree of clogging, %.

Since there is no norm to characterize the susceptibility of a dripper to clogging, the criterion suggested by BARROS et al. (2009) was adopted for the main analysis of the susceptibility of emitters to clogging with the use of TSE, and the index suggested by MORATA et al. (2014) was used in the analysis of the degree of clogging.

The experimental design was randomized in a 6x7 factorial arrangement (six models and seven times), and when the effect of the treatments was significant, means were compared by the Tukey test (1%). The analyses were performed using the computational program Assistat.


Relative flow rate (Qr)

There was a reduction in Qr in five of the dripper models studied at the end of the experiment at 600h (Figure 1). The E4 model stood out with the lowest Qr (88.05%), showing the highest negative effect of using TSE.

The E2 model showed virtually constant flow during the study period, and its final value was slightly increased (100.35%). The emitters E1, E3 and E6 varied little in flow rate during the experiment, ending at 600h with Qr equal to 99.51, 98.44 and 98.91%, respectively. The dripper E5 showed a reduction in flow rate during the running time, but this reduction did not occur sharply, with Qr equal to 95.78% at 600h, differing statistically (P<0.01) from the others.

According to the criterion of susceptibility of the emitters to reduced flow (BARROS et al., 2009), it appeared that only the emitter E4 showed variation, with Qr exceeding 10%, characterized as being susceptible to flow rate reduction. According to CUNHA et al. (2013), uniform water application in a drip irrigation system is related to hydraulic factors and the quality of emitter, in addition to water quality and fertigation with salts that can cause clogging of emitters.

Analysis of variance and comparison of means indicated that there were statistically significant differences between models of drippers evaluated after 600h of operation (Table 2). Best performances were obtained by the models E1, E2, E3 and E6, which did not differ and showed relative flow rates close to 100%. The E4 dripper had the lowest mean Qr among the drippers during the 600h of operation, with a mean reduction in flow rate of 6.80%; this dripper had low nominal flow, which may have contributed to a greater reduction in mean Qr.

As to the effect of time of use of the effluent on the drippers, there was no significant effect on the flow rate of the drippers up to 500h of TSE use (Table 2). With 600h of TSE use, statistically different flow rates were obtained from 0 to 300h. Although there was no significant difference in flow rate between 400, 500 and 600h, there was a reduction in mean discharge rate with this time of use. In studying the clogging of drippers using water with a high content of calcium and magnesium, MELO (2007) noted that relative flow rate was 87.05 to 95.94% after 360h.

To determine the risk of clogging in emitters, AYERS & WESTCOT (1994) proposed a water quality rating. On the basis of this classification, it was found that, according to values of the chemical analysis of TSE, a slight to moderate restriction in the use of TSE could occur due to the pH being between 7 and 8 and the iron level being between 0.1 and 1.5mg [L.sup.-1]. These water conditions might have caused a reduction in flow rate in some drippers, impairing their efficiency.

Flow rate coefficient of variation (CVQ)

There was an increase in CVQ in five of the dripper models studied, but to different degrees (Figure 2). Only the dripper E2 showed lower CVQ at the end of the experiment (5.24%), compared to the beginning of the experiment (6.12%). CVQ indicated the change in flow rate for a given sample of irrigation emitters. It is the result of the issuing of the project, the material used in its manufacture, the quality of its manufacturing and the conditions of use during irrigation (KELLER & BLIESNER, 1990).

The dripper E5 showed a CVQ more than 12% in all evaluations, ending at 600h with 12.44%, with values being greater than the 7% ceiling set by the standard (ABNT, 2006), which is characterized as medium quality from a manufacturing point of view. Dripper E6 showed a CVQ value over 7% only in the evaluation at 600h (8.83%), so the use of TSE affects the variation in flow rate between emitters after 600h of use.

According to the criterion of susceptibility of the emitters to a reduction in flow rate proposed by BARROS et al. (2009), the dripper E5 was characterized as being sensitive throughout the study period, and the E6 dripper showed sensitivity to reduction in flow rate after 600h of operation.

Dripper E1 stood out with the lowest CVQ in all evaluations, ending the experiment with 2.76%. The E2 dripper always showed values between 5 and 6%, but at 600h, it was not characterized as sensitive to reduced flow. The drippers E3 and E4, despite showing values below 5.5% (maximum according to BARROS et al., 2009), displayed a gradual increase in CVQ with operation time, ending the experiment with 5.24 and 4.30%, respectively. Therefore, these emitters can be considered as being of optimal manufacturing quality, according to ABNT (2006), due to values below 7%.

Degree of clogging (GE)

Only the E2 dripper showed no clogging but rather increased flow rate (Figure 3), in all evaluations, displaying the best performance among the dripper models studied for this evaluation.

The emitters E1, E3 and E6 showed obstruction after 600h of operation with a degree of clogging of 0.49, 1.56 and 1.09%, respectively. They were characterized as having low severity of clogging at the end of the experiment, according to MORATA et al. (2014), with values lower than 10%.

The dripper E5 showed clogging after 400h of use of TSE, increasing linearly up to 600h, when the experiment ended with 4.22% clogging, rated as having low susceptibility to clogging (MORATA et al., 2014). Dripper E4 was susceptible to clogging as early as the second evaluation (100h), when there was clogging of 5.58%, increasing until the end of the experiment, giving a final value of 11.95%; E4 showed medium severity of clogging and underperformed the other dripper models studied, corroborating the results of BATISTA et al. (2012), who reported a reduction in dripper flow rate using effluent primary treated sewage, primary and secondary of 62, 22 and 61%, respectively.


The use of TSE changed the relative flow rate of the drippers after 600h of operation. The dripper models showed performances varying in the degree of clogging and CVQ, and the dripper with rated flow (2.30L [h.sup.-1]) was better than the others. The use of non-pressure compensating drippers can be recommended for the application of TSE up to 500h of operation, without the occurrence of severe clogging.

Received 12.11.15 Approved 03.29.17 Returned by the author 04.28.17


ABNT (ASSOCIACAO BRASILEIRA DE NORMAS TECNICAS). NBR ISO 9261: equipamentos de irrigacao agricola. Emissores e tubos emissores. Especificacao e metodos de ensaio. Sao Paulo, 2006. 17p.

ANA (AGENCIA NACIONAL DE AGUAS). Conjuntura dos Recursos Hfdricos no Brasil. Uso da Agua: irrigacao. Available from: <>. Accessed: Sept. 23, 2015.

AYERS, R.S.; WESTCOT, D.W. Water quality for agriculture. Rome: FAO Irrigation and Drainage Paper, 1994. 97p.

BARROS, A.C. et al. Entupimento de gotejadores em funcao da aplicacao de superfosfato simples e acido mtrico. Engenharia Agricola, v.29, n.1, p.62-71, 2009. Available from: <http://www arttext>. Accessed: May 10, 2015. doi: 10.1590/S0100 69162009000100007.

BATISTA, R.O. et al. Desempenho hidraulico de sistema de irrigacao por gotejamento aplicando agua residuaria de suinocultura. Agropecuaria Cientffica no Semiarido, v.8, n.3, p.105-111, 2012. Available from: < ACSA/article/view/239>. Accessed: May 05, 2015.

CUNHA, F.N. et al. Variabilidade temporal da uniformidade de distribuicao em sistema de gotejamento. Revista Brasileira de Agricultura Irrigada, v.7, n.4, p.248-257, 2013. Available from: < view/177>. Accessed: Apr. 27, 2015. doi: 10.7127/rbai.v7n400177.

DAZHUANG, Y. et al. Biofilm structure and its influence on clogging in drip irrigation emitters distributing reclaimed wastewater. Journal of Environmental Sciences, v.21, p.834-841, 2009. Available from: <>. Accessed: May 10, 2015. doi: 10.1016/S1001-0742(08)62349-9.

KELLER, J.; BLIESNER, R.D. Sprinkle and trickle irrigation. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990. 652p.

LIU, H.; HUANG, G. Laboratory experiment on drip emitter clogging with fresh water and treated sewage effluent. Agricultural Water Management, v.96, n.5, p.745-756, 2009. Available from: < S0378377408002795>. Accessed: May 18, 2016. doi: 10.1016/j. agwat.2008.10.014.

MELO, R.F. Dinamica e controle do entupimento de gotejadores em funcao de precipitados quimicos e fitoplancton. 2007. 189f. Tese (Doutorado em Irrigacao e Drenagem) - Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Piracicaba, SP.

MORATA, G.T. et al. Entupimento de gotejadores com uso de efluente de esgoto tratado sob dois sistemas de filtragem. Revista Brasileira de Agricultura Irrigada, v.8, n.2, p.86-97, 2014. Available from: < rbai/article/view/227>. Accessed: Apr. 30, 2015. doi: 10.7127/ RBAI.V8N200227.

NAKAYAMA, F.S.; BUCKS, D A. Water quality in drip/ trickle irrigation: a review. Irrigation Science, v.12, p. 187-192, 1991. Available from: < BF00190522>. Accessed: May 20, 2015. doi: 10.1007/BF00190522.

Joao Alberto Fischer Filho (1) * Alexandre Barcellos Dalri (1) Miqueias Gomes dos Santos (1) Jose Renato Zanini (1) Rogerio Teixeira de Faria (1)

(1) Departamento de Engenharia Rural, Faculdade de Ciencias Agrarias e Veterinarias, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Via de Acesso Prof. Paulo Donato Castellane, s/n, 14884-900, Jaboticabal, SP, Brasil. E-mail:

* Corresponding author.

Caption: Figure 1 - Relative flow rate (Qr) of six models of non-pressure compensating drippers using treated sewage effluent as irrigation water as a function of the time of use.

Caption: Figure 2 - Flow rate coefficient of variation (CVQ) of six models of non-pressure compensating drippers using treated sewage effluent as irrigation water as a function of time of use.

Caption: Figure 3 - Degree of clogging (GE) of six models of non-pressure compensating drippers using treated sewage effluent as irrigation water as a function of time of use.
Table 1--Main technical characteristics of the non-pressure
compensating dripper pipes evaluated.

Manufacturer    Model     Spacing   Pipe diameter

                            (m)         (mm)

Drip-Plan      Drip-Tec    0.50          17
Petroisa       Durazio     0.30          16
Irritec           P1       0.25          16
Chapin          Chapin     0.30          16
Petroisa       Tiquira     0.30          16
Netafim        Dripline    0.75          17

Manufacturer    Model     Pressure range     Flow rate

                              (kPa)        (L [h.sup.-1])

Drip-Plan      Drip-Tec        100              2.30
Petroisa       Durazio         100              1.70
Irritec           P1           100              1.50
Chapin          Chapin          70              1.24
Petroisa       Tiquira          70              2.00
Netafim        Dripline         *               2.00

*Data not supplied by the manufacturer.

Table 2--Analysis of variance and the Tukey test of the mean
values of relative flow rate (Qr) for six non-pressure
compensating drippers using treated sewage effluent.

Factor        Relative flow
              rate--Qr (%)

           Test F

Emitter (E)     29.89 **
Time (T)         4.59 **
E x T           1.34 (NS)
Emitter (E)
E1              100.52 ab
E2              101.58 a
E3              100.28 ab
E4               93.20 c
E5               99.02 b
E6              100.76 ab

         Time (T)

0               100.00 a
100             100.53 a
200              99.98 a
300              99.86 a
400             98.18 ab
500             99.18 ab
600              96.84 b
CV (%)            2.99

(NS): Not significant (P>0.05);
**: Significant (P<0.01); CV: Coefficient of variation.
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Article Details
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Author:Filho, Joao Alberto Fischer; Dalri, Alexandre Barcellos; Santos, Miqueias Gomes dos; Zanini, Jose Re
Publication:Ciencia Rural
Article Type:Ensayo
Date:Jul 1, 2017
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