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Decentralised water and wastewater treatment technologies to produce functional water for irrigation

Abstract : The EU project SAFIR aimed to help farmers solve problems related to the use of low quality water for irrigation in a context of increasing scarcity of conventional freshwater resources. New decentralised water treatment devices (prototypes) were developed to allow a safe direct or indirect reuse of wastewater produced by small communities/industries or the use of polluted surface water. Water treatment technologies were coupled with irrigation strategies and technologies to obtain a flexible, easy to use, integrated management of the system. The challenge is to apply new strategies and technologies which allow using the lowest irrigation water quality without harming food safety or yield and fruit or derivatives quality. This study presents the results of prototype testing of a small-scale compact pressurized membrane bioreactor and of a modular field treatment system including commercial gravel filters and heavy-metal specific adsorption materials. Decentralised compact pressurised membrane biobooster (MBR), was able to remove up to 99.99% of the inlet Escherichia coli and 98.52% of total coliforms. E. coli was completely removed from irrigation water in 53% of the samples by the last MBR prototype version. In 2008, 100% of samples fulfilled WHO standards (1989) and Global Gap requirement for faecal contamination. MBR removed from inlet flow in the average 82% of arsenic, 82% of cadmium, 97% of chromium, 93% of copper and 99% of lead. Boron and manganese were not removed from permeate. The field treatment system (FT'S) proved to be effective against faecal contamination when applied with its complete set up including UV treatment. The sole gravel filter and heavy metal removal device (HMR) cannot provide sufficient and steadily treatment for microbial contamination. Nevertheless, gravel filter can remove up to 60% of E. coli but the removal process was not stable nor predictable. FTS removed 76% of arsenic, 80% of cadmium and copper, 88% of chromium and lead, and up to 97% of zinc. Like the MBR. boron and manganese were not removed from the irrigation water. Gravel filter directly fed with secondary treated wastewater was found able to remove 41% of arsenic, 36% of cadmium and lead, 48% of chromium and 46% of copper. The residual heavy metals concentration after the gravel filter was further reduced by the HMR: 35% for arsenic, 22% for cadmium, 25% for chromium, 33% for copper and 53% for lead.
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Contributeur : Anne-Marie Pouget <>
Soumis le : lundi 28 février 2011 - 14:19:26
Dernière modification le : lundi 11 mai 2020 - 16:21:59




Adriano Battilani, Michele Steiner, Martin Andersen, Soren Nohr Back, J. Lorenzen, et al.. Decentralised water and wastewater treatment technologies to produce functional water for irrigation. Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier Masson, 2010, 98 (3), pp.385-402. ⟨10.1016/j.agwat.2010.10.010⟩. ⟨hal-00570410⟩



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