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Busby, R., H.A. Torbert, and S.A. Prior.
ESTCP Project RC-201416, 27 pp, 2018

A demonstration and validation project utilized pulverized paper waste as a soil amendment to improve degraded military training lands. The demonstration occurred in Fort Polk, Louisiana, on 2 soils representative of soils on military training lands. Each site consisted of 4 blocks, with a treatment replicated in each block. On the first site, rates of 8, 16, 24, and 32 tons/acre were applied, along with a control and a standard practice plot consisting of lime and fertilizer. Rates were halved for the second site. Paper was incorporated into the soil, and sites were seeded with standard native warm-season prairie grasses. At the end of each growing season, plant species cover and composition; standing biomass, plant, and soil nutrient analysis; soil metal analysis; and soil pH and bulk density data were collected. The paper application rate was positively correlated with native plant cover, deficient plant, and soil nutrient concentrations, and soil pH, and negatively correlated with invasive plant cover, biomass, and soil bulk density. Native plant cover was 45% higher at the highest paper application rates compared to controls, and most planted grass nutrient concentrations increased with increasing paper application rate. No EPA-regulated contaminants for land application of wastes increased with increasing paper application rate. An estimated $300/ton savings of diverted paper was calculated by comparing the cost savings of using versus landfilling the paper. At a recommended application rate of 16 tons/acre, a total savings of $4,700 per acre is possible, equating to estimated annual cost savings of $20,000 with 70 tons of paper diverted.

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