Dr. Joe Yelderman, professor of geology at Baylor, and Dr. Margaret Forbes, research associate of biology at Baylor, constructed five different submerged gravel wetlands and tested the contaminant-removal ability of each wetland against different dosing systems, ranging from a continuous dose to a more rapid batch dose coming out of a septic tank. The submerged wetlands rely on the gravel and plants to remove contaminants by mirroring the pollutant removal ability of nature.
“There are a lot of places where it would be nice to build a home, but if you can't put in a septic tank because the soil can't handle a drain field, you can't build a home there unless you have some sort of alternative treatment system,” Yelderman said. “Our goal was to improve the water quality coming out of the septic tank so residents could dispose of the treated wastewater into thinner soil or places where the water table is higher. It would just provide more options to them.”
In Texas, state law requires treated wastewater from a septic tank must be disposed of in the soil, however traditional septic tanks need a certain depth of soil and a certain type of soil to meet environmental standards. Once treated wastewater – known as effluent – leaves a residential septic tank, it flows into what's called a drain field, which is an arrangement of perforated pipes that carry the effluent into the soil. In theory, the soil will further decompose the effluent, making it safer for the environment. However in many areas, the water table is either too high, which means the effluent does not have a chance to fully decompose, or the type of soil can not adequately absorb the effluent, which is the case around much of north and central Texas. The end result produces contaminants like phosphorous and nitrate entering the groundwater.
After several tests on the wetlands to see what dosing system works the best with a specific wetland, the Baylor researchers found that the wetland with gravel and plants performed better, or discharged water that was cleaner, during batch dosing when compared against more continuous dosing. Yelderman said he believes the batch system performed better because of the interaction with the air in between the dosing. When the wetland dried out and was then re-wetted, the gravel and plants oxidized the wastewater better and allowed the aerobic bacteria to better decompose the organic matter. Yelderman said this process actually stressed the plants and they did not grow as large, but they adjusted to the fluctuations and sent their roots deeper.
The results also showed that the wetlands with a certain type of gravel – an expanded shale aggregate – did not perform as well as expected, however it performed as well if not better that just using “regular” gravel. Yelderman said the results also show that the majority of the wetlands significantly reduced Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and successfully reduced nutrients like phosphorus and ammonia.
The research was funded by the Texas Onsite Wastewater Treatment Research Council and was completed at the Baylor Wastewater Research Program research site located at the Waco Metropolitan Area Regional Sewerage System.
Matt Pene | Newswise Science News
A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde
Value from wastewater
16.08.2017 | Hochschule Landshut
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
21.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.08.2017 | Materials Sciences