The effect of POME on the integrity of the soil was investigated. Soil samples from the palm oil mill effluent (POME) dumpsite as well as a non-POME site were tested for physico-chemical properties such as pH, water holding capacity, available phosphorus, organic carbon, total nitrogen, mineral assay and cation exchange capacity. Furthermore, the total aerobic bacteria counts of the samples at 2, 30 and 40oC were assayed. Results showed significant differences (P < 0.05) and (P < 0.01) in pH, water holding capacity, organic carbon, total nitrogen, cation exchange capacity and available phosphorus. 30oC had the highest average microbial bioload (1.64 x 109 ± 0.2) and so, the most favourable for growth. Bacterial counts from the POME dumpsite were found to be significantly higher (P < 0.05), (9.6 x 108 + 0.1 at 20oC, 1.64 x 109+ 0.2 at 30oC and 1.07 x 109 + 0.2 at 40oC) than the counts for the non-POME soil sites (4.5 x 108 + 0.3 at 20oC, 7.6 x 108 + 0.3 at 30oC and 5.9 x 108 + 0.3 at 40oC) at all the temperatures. The implications of these results on soil environment are discussed.
Key words: Environmental impact, POME, total aerobic bacteria.
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