Impact of Horizontal Gas Flaring on the Physico-chemical Properties of Surrounding Arable Soils in Owaza, Southeastern Nigeria
Horizontal gas flaring and its impact on surrounding arable soil have not been given the deserved attention in Nigeria. This study evaluated this process using the status of selected soil physico-chemical properties within the vicinity of a horizontal gas flaring site in Owaza, Abia State, Southeastern Nigeria. Fibrous tape was used to mark distances of 50, 100 and 200 m in the active flare direction and 50 m interval distances to the left and right of it as well as 50 and 100 m behind it, all within the flare bond wall. Other sampling points (400, 600, 800, 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000 m) were located away from the bond wall. All data were taken from georeferenced points at 0 – 15 cm and 15 – 30 cm sampling depths. Soil temperature was taken in situ using a hand held mercury-in-glass thermometer at each sampling point. Core samplers were driven into each point for bulk density and soil moisture determination. A total of 28 disturbed samples from each sampling point were collected, bagged and labeled for analysis of the selected properties using standard procedures. The data were further analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Results showed Soil temperature, Bulk Density and Percentage Sand content increasing at decreasing distance towards the flare point ranging from 23.5 - 45 oC, 1.42 - 2.50 g/cm3, and 77.77 - 87.35 % respectively, whereas Percentage Total Porosity, Gravimetric Moisture Content, Hydraulic Conductivity, Percentage Silt and clay content increased at increasing distances away ranging from 6 - 46 %, 5.25 - 29.73 %, 0.10 - 7.84 cm3/hr, 5.80 - 9.69 % and 6.85 - 12.54 % respectively. All chemical properties except Percentage Organic Carbon and Percentage Organic Matter decreased towards the
flare point and increase away. The alterations in the soil physico-chemical properties around the gas flaring site convey negative implications for sustained soil ecosystem functions.
Keywords: Horizontal gas flaring and its impact on surrounding arable soil have not been given the deserved attention in
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