Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Sewage treatment by plants

A new waste management study provides strong evidence that sewage can be treated effectively with the help of plants.
Sewage treatment by plants
Sewage treatment is regarded by both citizens and governments alike as a top priority against pollution and diseases. Researchers in Poland discovered that a few species of macrophytes have the power to absorb excrement and urine, thus acting as the perfect sewage and water purifiers.

The Ekopan system uses a Multifunctional Septic Tank (MST) situated below ground level in the form of a cylinder to purify water and raw sewage flow. Three zones, sedimentatory, denitrification and pump divide the interior of the cylinder. The cylinder is supplied with purified liquid Constructed Wetland via closed loop channels. These channels are filled with an Integrated Biological Bed (IBB) overgrown by macrophytes and colonized by many species of invertebrates and microorganisms. Wetland uses the energy of the earth to act as a heating pump and heats the water that is cycled in the channels.

Currently, there are 23 small, household sewage treatment plants grown within a distance of 1-10 cub. meters/day from each other that produce effective purification results at a reasonable rate. The system has been under testing for the past five years and has proved highly adaptable to local climatic and socioeconomic conditions.

This novel technology can best be found near lagoons and ponds, where water resources are highly available. Apart from operating as a sewage system, it can also prove useful for other purposes such as farming, effluent control, hydro technologies and irrigation.

Developers of the product are continuing their efforts by building a program that would test the technology in the different climatic zones of Europe and improve its capacity to adapt to all European regions and climates. With this respect, they are looking for partners willing to invest in construction, installation and monitoring of the Ekopan system in those regions.
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