Developing a Planting Medium from Solid Waste Compost and Construction and Demolition Rubble for Use in Quarry Rehabilitation

Thursday, 17 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Eleni Antoine Assaf, American University of Beirut, Ecosystems Management, Beirut, Lebanon
The combination of construction, demolition and excavation (CDE) waste along with the increase in solid waste generation has put a major stress on Lebanon and on the management of its solid waste. Compounding this problem are the issues of quarries closure and rehabilitation and a decrease in forest and vegetative cover. This research aims to provide an integrated solution to the stated problem by developing a “soil mix” derived from a mélange of the organic matter of the solid waste (compost), the CDE waste, and soil. Excavation and construction debris were ground to several sizes and mixed with compost and soil at different ratios. Replicates of these mixes and a set of control (regular soil) were used. In this mix, native and indicator plants are planted (in pots). The plant species used are Mathiolla crassifolia and Zea mays (Corn).

Results have shown successful growth of both corn and Mathiolla seedlings in the mixes with higher amounts of construction rubble and compost i.e. Rubble: Soil: Compost Ratio of 2:1:1 and 1:0:1. However treatments with no compost and with less quantities of rubble demonstrated the inability of the soil used to sustain plant growth alone (1:1:1 and 1:1:0). Last but not least, the control consisting of soil only ended up being the weakest mix with yellow corn leaves and small Mathiolla seedlings fifty days after planting and fertilizing. Additionally, soil analysis, rubble and compost analysis were conducted. The samples were tested for heavy metals, nutrient availability and values of pH and EC. No contamination has been reported and an abundance of macronutrients and micronutrients was documented for the soil and compost. High alkalinity is due to the presence of concrete and the high percentage of Calcium Carbonate in Lebanese soils. Accordingly, the most adequate mixes for planting are treatments A (2:1:1) and B (1:0:1) and they should be pursued for a pilot scale study to test their potential use in quarry rehabilitation and eventually urban agriculture.