Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Using plants and microbes to purify polluted industrial wastewater

07.10.2003


Wetlands are nature’s water filters. They collect water around river mouths and marshes, and whole communities of plants and micro-organisms feed off detritus in these murky depths.



Conventional chemical treatments of industrial waters consume cash, energy and time. Wetlands, by contrast, grow and clean themselves while they act as super-efficient absorbers of phosphates, nitrates and other environmental hazards.

The INDCONWET project applies these natural abilities to industrial wastewater. Toxic by-products in run-off from industrial plants can contaminate drinking water supplies and can be hazardous to health. By installing wetlands next to wastewater sources, the INDCONWET partners are growing a series of purification gardens in Slovenia, Austria and Croatia.


Danijel Vrhovsek, a researcher at Limnos, the Slovenian project partner, says “constructed wetland is inexpensive to build and easy to operate. It also has a larger buffering capacity than conventional treatments to cope with accidents.”

Boosting the filter capacity of each square metre is a key goal. Mira Shalabi, Project Co-ordinator at Bieco, the Croatian project partner, explained that “one disadvantage of constructed wetlands is that they need a bigger area than conventional treatment sites to do the same job.”

However, what they lack in space saving, constructed wetlands make up for in increased efficiency. Bieco’s pilot wetland near Zagreb has reduced concentrations of suspended solids in wastewater by up to 98%, and phosphorous and nitrogen content by 60–85% compared to the 30-40% reduction by conventional methods.

Such results meet water protection standards laid down in EU directives, and make the re-use of industrial wastewater possible.

Different industries produce different pollutants, and INDCONWET is tailoring the design of constructed wetlands to specific needs. “The efficiency of a constructed wetland depends on plant species, substrate selection and microbiological associations,” says Vrhovsek. Project partners are testing various combinations to see which will most efficiently remove pollutants from waste produced by the dairy, detergent, food and fish processing industries.

Constructed wetlands are attractive environments that also remove carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. “Wetlands are an aesthetic solution that provide valuable new habitats for wildlife, which can be used in tourist areas,” says Shalabi.

INDCONWET is a follow-up to the E! 1393 SECONWET project, which won the EUREKA Lillehammer Award for the environment in 2001. Vrhovsek says that this success played an important part in securing financial support for INDCONWET from the Slovenian and Croatian governments. “The Lillehammer prize helped local authorities accept constructed wetlands as a viable alternative to conventional wastewater treatment. As a non-bureaucratic network linking research and the private sector, EUREKA is easy to work with, and has raised the recognition of results at local and national level.”

Nicola Vatthauer | Eureka
Further information:
http://www.eureka.be/indconwet

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Scientists on the road to discovering impact of urban road dust
18.01.2018 | University of Alberta

nachricht Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk
17.01.2018 | Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multifunctional Platform for the Delivery of Gene Therapeutics

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

The world's most powerful acoustic tractor beam could pave the way for levitating humans

22.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Siberian scientists learned how to reduce harmful emissions from HPPs

22.01.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>