Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Reclaimed Wastewater: An Idea that Could Soak in

11.08.2005


As water becomes ever more scarce, quenching thirsty crops with wastewater may be OK if done right, researchers here say.

"Managing reclaimed water by pretreating before using it to irrigate, monitoring for viruses, choosing correct crops and periodically leaching the soils should be successful and safe," said Dr. George Di Giovanni, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station environmental microbiologist.

Di Giovanni and his colleagues studied the movement of viruses carried in water through sandy and clay soils on which spinach was planted. They were interested in how long viruses in the water remain in the soil, how they move through the soil and whether they could harm humans or livestock. Their findings have been accepted for an article in Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment journal.



"No bacteriophage (virus) was found on the spinach leaves, regardless of the type of soil they grew in," Di Giovanni said.

The tests were done in a greenhouse in soil collected from the region. Two types of water were tested – a blend of reclaimed water and filtered wastewater laced with bacteriophage, which is a type of virus that infects only bacteria. A bacteriophage is often used in studies as a substitute for human viruses, Di Giovanni said. The water was dripped under the soil surface in plastic columns built for the test.

The research found that bacteriophage could be found on the crusty surfaces of both soil types and remained in the clay soil for about a month after irrigation ended.

"That suggests that human viruses could also linger in the soil," Di Giovanni said. "Reclaimed water must be effectively treated to remove or kill pathogens before use, regardless of irrigation method."

Finding such uses for reclaimed water is vital, said Experiment Station wastewater researcher Dr. Naomi Assadian.

"Wastewater reuse for agriculture and managed landscapes will be necessary to meet growing water demands and conserve current drinking supplies in arid regions such as the upper Rio Grande River area," Assadian said. "But alternative supplies, such as treated municipal wastewater, often contain microbial and chemical elements that may affect public health and/or the environment."

Assadian and Di Giovanni collaborated on the project with Dr. Jaime Iglesias, Texas Cooperative Extension agent in El Paso County; Dr. Juan Enciso, Experiment Station agriculture engineer in Weslaco; and Dr. William Lindemann, New Mexico State University agronomist.

The researchers said a "closed system," as in their method of using underground pipes to apply water to the crop, limited exposure to the soil surface and edible parts of the crop, a positive finding as scientists continue to explore how to reuse water.

While their study showed a feasible use of wastewater, the researchers said similar trials would need to be conducted at each site where such a system is considered. That’s because variations in soil might yield different results, they said.

The study was funded by the Texas Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Experiment Station.

Kathleen Phillips | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.tamu.edu

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

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: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>