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 produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon
09.12.2016 | Wildlife Conservation Society

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

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: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>