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Safe and efficient treatment and reuse of wastewater in agricultural production schemes

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New water treatment system for agriculture

Scientists have developed a safe electronic system to reuse wastewater and nutrients in agricultural production.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

Wastewater is an underused water source that may provide nutrient-rich water for use in agriculture. The EU's Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive encourages reuse of wastewater wherever possible. TREAT&USE (Safe and efficient treatment and reuse of wastewater in agricultural production schemes) is an EU-funded project that brought together EU researchers and small businesses to develop a membrane bioreactor (MBR) prototype for cleaning agricultural wastewater. The TREAT&USE MBR system reuses wastewater and nutrients for agricultural purposes. It is a single, compact system that is safe and easy to use by farmers and treatment plants in urban and rural areas. The system removes chemical contaminants and pathogens, but retains important plant nutrients with the use of a specially designed MBR. It analyses farming soil for nutrients and tailors the wastewater for concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus needed in that area. This not only reduces the strain on natural water resources, it also lessens the environmental strain caused by the production of fertiliser. A prototype of the TREAT&USE system was built and optimised for use in Spain – an agriculture-intensive but water-scarce country. Once the project results have been disseminated, the TREAT&USE system will be commercialised for use in other countries. Project outcomes will contribute to sustainable water management by increasing the water and nutrients available for agricultural use. It will also help reduce water contamination and improve rural development.

Keywords

Water treatment, agriculture, wastewater, agricultural production, membrane bioreactor

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