Monday, December 30, 2013

rain gardens and treatment wetlands

A rain garden is a new way to reuse rain water. In many countries these days, heavy rains caused flooding. These floods occur because too much water can quickly reach the ultimate sinks. Large amounts of water can also carry high pollutant loads. Why not to stop them in their place of origin? within this stop the loading will be trapped as small quantities.

"Rain Garden is a planted depression or a hole that allows rainwater runoff from impervious urban areas, like roofs, driveways, walkways, parking lots, and compacted lawn areas, the opportunity to be absorbed. This reduces rain runoff by allowing stormwater to soak into the ground (as opposed to flowing into storm drains and surface waters which causes erosion, water pollution, flooding, and diminished groundwater). They can be designed for specific soils and climates. The purpose of a rain garden is to improve water quality in nearby bodies of water. Rain gardens can cut down on the amount of pollution reaching creeks and streams by up to 30%.
Native plants are recommended for rain gardens because they generally do not require fertilizer and are more tolerant of one’s local climate, soil, and water conditions, and attract local wildlife such as native birds. The plants — a selection of wetland edge vegetation, such as wildflowers, sedges, rushes, ferns, shrubs and small trees — take up excess water flowing into the rain garden. Water filters through soil layers before entering the groundwater system. Root systems enhance infiltration, maintain or even augment soil permeability, provide moisture redistribution, and sustain diverse microbial populations involved in biofiltration. Also, through the process of transpiration, rain garden plants return water vapor to the atmosphere. A more wide-ranging definition covers all the possible elements that can be used to capture, channel, divert, and make the most of the natural rain and snow that falls on a property. The whole garden can become a rain garden, and each component of the whole can become a small-scale rain garden in itself." (copied from wikipedia at wiki/Rain_garden).

Monday, December 16, 2013

new service on fiverr (r)

hello, I find this very nice and cheap service on the web and I dicide to set up it. Find my new gig on

Monday, November 25, 2013

ready for the step TWO

yes, everythings seem to go in the right way here in Amman. We have to do some arrangements to the project but after that we are ready for the step TWO: the executive drawing!

2000 students are waiting the new great sustainable green school for their gold future in Gaza Strip! Project made by a team under the umbrella of MCA :

The project is so great because I'm designing two treatment wetlands: one for greywaters and his reuse for washing WC and cleaning the floor, and one for the black water that is used, after treatment, for the irrigation of the school's garden and plants.
By this meeting here in Amman I have a new personal slogan: "I did not spread more shit in the environment". This will help me in my new professional works.

Monday, November 18, 2013

back to Amman for the United Nations project !

yes, I'm really proud to be part of the international team that are developint the first UN green school. Very soon we will be in Jordan to coordinate the final step to develope the executive project fot the final realization of this important project inside the Gaza Strip. Here I'm developing a treatment wetlands systems for grey and black waters with a reuse for gardening purposes.

more news very soon.

Roman past in Amman

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

DIRT.ASLA BLOG show good news on treatment wetlands

I am very appreciative to receive weekly newsletters of the DIRT ASLA blog (web at: ). From their site I copy this to explain you what they do: The Dirt TM blog covers the latest news on the built and natural environments and features stories on landscape architecture. Published weekly, The Dirt explores design and policy developments related to land and water use, urbanization, transportation, and climate change.

In their last newsletter they wrote about three books on designing resilient cities. One of these , the Hidden Potential of Sustainable Neighborhoods, (amazon link) show in the cover page a beautiful image of a smart city with green walls, green roofs, green railroads, green sidewalks, and also a green structure that we can recognize as a treatment wetlands system. If you read the DIRT summary you can see that  each of the examples in the book are actually built. 

the cover page

detail of the treatment wetland
The treatment wetland that is present in the cover page and that is explained in the book is the "Living Machine" (TM) technology. this is a really interesting system developed in USA. 
Take a look on what they have done in San Francisco. sooooo coooooollllllll. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

restore an original reed area.....natural treatment wetlands

Yes, I know, for many of you common reed is a weed, for other is a tool to improve water quality. It is a weed and a good document The Nature Conservancy - common reed - ESA state this, and give you a lot of way to control his spreading. But it is also the best wetlands specie that you can use to plants  a constructed wetland's system.

As you see in the post below, during my last weekend I have planted 200 plants of  phragmites australis.... I'm sorry for the one that consider reed as a weed but I do that  to rewild an original reed area in the Lake of Garda in North of Italy.

This project was financed by the Municipality of Sirmione, a beautiful city in the Lake's shore with the aim to restore an original reed area destroyed by the construction of a small harbor.

It is not simple to plant species inside the lake because the water movement and the wave expecially during the winter storms can move the new plants planted.
Here I show you some pictures of the work:


strongmen at work....

how to anchor the plants to the lakebed

under the water....

a small stone help me to anchor it...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

from guerrilla gardening to GUERRILLA WETLANDING

Hi, I'm now in Sirmione (North of Italy) for a transplanting project into the waters of the Garda Lake. This afternoon, while I was planting common reeds and thinking about my work I have had a linking idea..... do you know the green movement "guerrilla gardening"? yes.... I was do the same but as GUERRILLA WETLANDING,... ah ah ah I laught a lot.... in the next days I'll post the pictures of this project.
plant a reed

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

treatment wetland with surface flow

Yeahhhh, after almost 13 years I can show you my first surflace flow constructed wetland. This project was designed early 2000 when I was working in the Brentella Water Management District here in North-East of Italy. The project was so innovative in that time and aimed to realize a water treatment system inside a storage basin to reduce the hydraulic risk in the watershed.

As you know there are 4 treatment wetland's system: horizontal, vertical, floating and surface.
The surface flow systems are so difficult to be build here in Italy because they require a lot of surface, etc... but anyway we can realize it when is possible. The final result is so natural !

After a long time need to get the law authorization in 2013 they start to dig the basin and next month this project will be completed and planted with an high number ow wetland and trees species with the reason to increase also the local biodiversity.

take a look at the design and at some pictures I got this morning:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

back to Iraq

Hi dear readers here I'm back to Iraq to do some new meetings, visit new potential sites and so on. It's so hot here!

take a look at others uses of reed's biomass:


GRAZING AREA FOR WATER BUFFALO (all this area is grazed by water buffalos...until the horizon line)


Monday, August 26, 2013

sws 2013 - wetland conference - poster in progress

hi friend, here my new poster for the sws2013  wetland conference that will be held in Italy next week.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Austria, Central Europe, Tirol, 1855 m above sea level

hello dear treatmentwetlands readers, I hope most of you are on holiday....or still working? Both are right!
Last week I were in Austria and during a landscaping excursion on the Tirol sunny mountains I have found this beautiful phragmites field. Keep calm, don't think it is a big sloping treatment wetland.. it is just a natural reed field but the strange of it is that I was at 1855 m asl. As you seen the highest part of it is near 2000 m asl...

Well somewhere in the world you can realize also treatment wetlands systems with phragmites also at this altitude!
I think I will contact the local administrators to promote treatment wetlands!

Friday, August 2, 2013

hi friends, LIVE greetings from 1498 m asl from Rifugio Casera Bosconero in the Dolomiti area North of Italy, where 2 beds for a total of 80 sqm treat the wastewaters!  All the bed surface was planted in 2004 with local species, now there are senecio, aconitum and few others.... and yes we get clean water in the final tank!!!
take a look at these beautiful and significative pictures!!!

in the older posts there are a lot of information about this plants

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

an important news for the most important and ancient wetland in the world: THE FIRST NATIONAL PARK IN IRAQ IS IN THE WETLANDS

I copy and paste here below the full press release about the declaration of the first national park in Iraq.
When I was there in March I visit it and I found in fantastic. Here two pictures of it:


Iraq Declares its First National Park 

On 23rd July 2013, the Iraqi Council of Ministers approved the designation of the Central Marshes of Iraq as the country’s first National Park. The efforts to declare this unique landscape a park and protected area began in 2006 through a joint effort by Iraq's Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Environment, and Ministry of Municipalities with support from Nature Iraq, an Iraqi environmental conservation organization, and other national and international institutions. Financial support for the effort came from the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land & Sea.

The Mesopotamian Marshlands of southern Iraq were once the 3rd largest wetlands in the world, originally extending between twelve and fifteen thousand square kilometers and partially covering the three southern governorates of Iraq (Missan, Thi Qar & Basrah). They were a vital resource for regional fisheries, reeds, and other natural resources; the home of the indigenous Ma’dan Marsh Arab culture, which is directly linked to ancient Sumeria; and a globally important area for large numbers of migrant and wintering birds, and the native habitat of endemic birds and other valuable wildlife. In the 1990s, the Saddam regime conducted a campaign to completely drain the marshlands, reducing their footprint by nearly 93%. The United Nations Environmental Programme called this action the worst environmental disaster of the last century.  But after 2003, local people and the government took action to restore the waters, and the southern marshlands, though greatly changed, have returned, as have the birds, fish, water buffalo and the Ma’dan, and remain a vital economic and ecological resource.

Azzam Alwash, founder and President of the Board of Directors of Nature Iraq said of the recent declaration: “With this action, Iraq has acted to preserve the cradle of civilization.  It is now the duty of the world to help Iraq maintain these wetlands for the future generations by helping Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran to reach an equitable agreement on the sharing of the waters in the basin of the Tigris and Euphrates.”

Nature Iraq particularly applauds the difficult work done by the staff of the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Environment, and the National Park Committee to make the Park a reality. Much work remains to be done to make the park a reality on the ground. Soon, the park, if properly implemented and managed, can provide both a refuge for Iraq’s marshland biodiversity and a sustainable boost to the local economy through park-related tourism and related socio-economic development projects.

For more information on Iraq’s first National Park, please contact Nature Iraq via email at or contact Ammar Zakri, CEO at +964 770 211 6258.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hi TWs friends, in this hot sunny day here in Italy I just made a simple post: copy and past from facebook this important article based on the UN Millenium Development Goals. One of this goal is about the sanitation for all. Join this article and share it! thanks. 

UN Millennium Development Goals ha condiviso la foto diUNICEF Africa.
Despite progress, 2.5 billion in developing countries still lack access to improved sanitation facilities. More on Goal 7 here:

Would you live in a place with no toilet?
Lampouni, 16, and her dad didn’t want to. So… they build it themselves!
In Togo, less than 12% people in rural areas have access to improved latrines. That’s too little. As part of a project funded by European Commission - Development & Cooperation - EuropeAid, more than 90’000 people have been involved in building their own latrines.
Photos UNICEF/ Togo 2013/ Essi Fafa Soulé
Find out more on:

Friday, July 5, 2013

incoming important wetland conferences: WETPOL - 2013 and SWS - 2013

WETPOL 2013,

The 5th International Symposium on Wetland Pollutant Dynamics and Control, WETPOL 2013,  co-organized by the Ecole des Mines de Nantes and GEPEA will be held in Nantes from October 13 to 17, 2013.

WETPOL 2013 addresses the latest advances in the field of pollution control and diffusion in natural and constructed wetlands.

WETPOL 2013 will be at the border of process engineering, applied biology, ecology and environmental chemistry. The symposium will enable international exchanges and scientific cooperation.

WETPOL 2013 will be organized according to the following themes:
  • Mobility and sequestration of trace elements;
  • Behaviour of priority and emerging pollutants in wetlands;
  • Attenuation of diffuse pollution in wetlands;
  • Molecular and microbial advances related to pollutant fate, disposal and removal in wetlands;
  • Biogeochemical processes of pollutants in natural and constructed wetlands;
  • Pollutant modelling in wetlands;
  • Wetland's role in pollutant management at the catchment scale;
  • Wetlands and water reuse;
  • Impact of global climate change on wetland systems.
WETPOL 2013 is aimed at:
  • Researchers specialising in environmental sciences;
  • Engineers working in research and development;
  • Representatives from the water sector (local community, water agencies, etc.);
  • Entrepreneurs;
  • Policy regulators.

SWS 2013 


conference web site:

The conference will cover the following topics:
  • Biodiversity and landscape
  • Natural, restored and constructed wetlands
  • Role of wetlands in water cycling at basin scale
  • Wetland Hydrology
  • Wetland microbiology
  • Wetland vegetation
  • Wetland fauna
  • Carbon sequestration and GHG emissions in wetlands
  • Nitrogen removal and turnover in wetlands
  • Phosphorus biogeochemistry in wetlands
  • Contaminants fate in wetlands
  • Wetland substrates
  • Wetland modelling
  • Natural wetland management
  • Wetland systems for water pollution control
  • Biomass management and utilization
  • Wetland outflow reuse
The SWS Conference will be structured in one plenary session, six parallel thematic sessions, one poster session and one field trip.
A special symposium on “Impacts of Air Pollution and Climate Change on Peatland Biodiversity and Biogeochemistry” will be organised by PEATBOG in parallel on Wednesday September 4th. 
The conference will be held in Padova from September 1st to September 4th.

The magnificent city of Padua, site of one of the oldest University of the world, founded in 1222, offers historical andenvironmental attractions together with unique food experiences. Padua is very close (30 km) to the beautiful and unforgettable city of Venice and is well linked with internationally and nationally important cities.

The beginning of September usually presents a favourable climate, perfect for excursions and vacations to the sea, mountains and countryside, all at short distance from Padova.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

treatment wetland..... basic definitions

Treatment wetlands (TW) are a green technology that reproduce in a confined area the chemicals, physicals and biological reactions that occurs in natural wetland systems.

The water quality improvements in natural wetlands had been observed by scientists and engineers for many years. This led to the development of CW as an attempt to replicate the water quality and the habitat benefits of the natural wetland in a constructed ecosystem to serve human water pollution.
Due to his natural origin and behaviour TW are complex systems in terms of biology, hydraulics and water chemistry.
Natural and constructed wetlands rely on solar insulation as a main driving energy, and warmer climates improve treatment rates (Kadlec,1996).

Within this system various kind of wastewaters are treated and transformed by the complex plants-fill medium-microbial colonies that develop and progress during the years inside the treatment bed (Cooper 1996, Masi 2000, Shepherd 2001, Borin 2005, Tocchetto 2006, 2007). The biological reactions are due to the activity of micro organisms attached to the available submerged substrate surfaces (plant roots growing in the media, and the surfaces of the media themselves).

Thursday, June 27, 2013

my first aquaponic system

well, well well.... and finally today I set up my first aquaponic system. Yes, it is small but .... is done. Few time ago I wrote about this technology and I was asking to me if this was or not a treatment wetland. Beh, today I can say yes, it is a treatment wetlands because really edible plants + medium clean up the wastewater originated by the five small fish.
Here below a simple scheme with from my project.

(PS: I'will not eat this fish, but in 28 days I'll put this good salad on my plate! start the countdown....)

Here a brief summary on what is aquaponic:

Aquaponics is a sustainable food production system that combines a traditional aquaculture farming with hydroponic in a symbiotic environment. 

aquaculture, effluents accumulate in the water, increasing toxicity for the fish. 
This water is led to a hydroponic system where the "nutrients" from the aquaculture are filtered out by the plants for their life, after which the cleansed water is recirculated back to the animals.

Now I'm partner in a Leonardo project with University of Padova and Lubiana, the Swiss ZAHW and three high schools (in Italy, Slovenia and Swiss). The aim of the project is realize an aquaponic system in the two schools.

But my question is... is aquaponic a kind of treatment wetlands? I think yes!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

from Facebook: Homesteading / Survivalism group

On facebook there are a lot of interesting group about environment, wetlands and so on. I'm member of the group Homesteading/Survivalism where last march was published this beautiful and meaningful picture with this caption: "An excellent example of the role plants play in keeping our soil intact and even clean of impurities".
Aggiungi didascalia
Well, up to date this image have 18904 Like, 534 comments, 12638 shares.... I think this is fantastic.

These three bottles show the important role of the plants to absorbe and trap nutrients, suspended solids etc. The same stuation you can obtain with treatment wetlands!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

again about Reed Bed Treatment System in arid and warm climates: the United Arab Emirates examples

by this blog I have known many people that like treatment wetlands system because are involved in their design and construction or because they like green technologies.
One of the last I have meet is Wolfram Sievert working at Mizan Consult FZE.
With this article I want to share with the TWs blog network the experience of Worlfram in UAE. 
Some pictures of the works (click on the image to enlarge it):

Here below the list of his systems built in that really warm and arid zone:
  • Example 1: Domestic wastewater at a contractor head office is collected by separate gravity sewer lines for grey and blackwater. (i) Greywater: After settling in a 2-chamber tank, is pumped into two parallel vertical flow sand filter reed beds, each with an area of 250m2; (ii) Blackwater: This is passed through a 3-chamber septic tank for pre-treatment prior to treatment in a mechanical self-backwashing filter. Final disposal is via subsurface drip irrigation; (iii) The settled solids from the pre-treatment units of greywater and blackwater (settlement tanks) are pumped every 3 months into 200m2 sludge dewatering reed bed for mineralisation.
  • Example 2: Car washing wastewater from Waagner Biro Gulf workshop is collected through gravity sewer to the pre-treatment: (i) 3 chamber oil separator without chemicals; (ii) 20m2 horizontal flow sand filter reed bed; (iii) final treatment in the reed bed for greywater treatment.
  •  Example 3: Domestic wastewater of SAMA Dubai site office: (i) 3-chamber septic tank and 100 m² vertical flow sand filter reed bed treatment for toilet blackwater; (ii) 2-chamber settlement tank and 40 m² separate vertical flow sand filter reed bed treatment for greywater; (iii) 20 m² sludge dewatering reed bed (reed-planted sand filter bed) for mineralization of septic tank sludge. Treated water is reused for landscape irrigation.
  • Example 4: Conversion of conventional septic tank with soak away at Dubai Municipality Jaddaf: The septic tank is used as pre-treatment system. The pre-treated water is pumped to a vertical flow sand filter reed bed for biological and tertiary treatment. The treated effluent is then used for irrigation.
  •  Example 5: Raw sewage double stage vertical flow reed bed system for treatment of up to 250 m³/day sewage from a Hotel complex (TDIC) on Sir Bani Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The raw sewage from the Hotel and the laundry water is pumped through a grinder pump directly onto a vertical flow Stage A reed bed for sludge filtration and mineralization. After this pre-treatment the sewage is pumped onto a second vertical flow reed bed (Stage B) for final treatment. The outflow is used directly for irrigation.
  • Example 6: Raw sewage double stage vertical flow reed bed system for treatment of up to 30 m³/day for a labour accommodation in Mirfa. The raw sewage is pumped through a grinder pump directly onto a vertical flow Stage A reed bed for sludge filtration and mineralization. A stage B reed bed is doing the final treatment and final effluent is used for irrigation. 
And what about the lesson learned:
·          The double stage raw sewage vertical flow reed planted sand filter (French System) perform perfect under hot climate conditions and achieves results complying with all ME irrigation standards in the treatment of all kinds of sewage (grey, raw, black, tanker, oil), proven by > 20 systems currently operation in the ME.
·          Direct treatment of raw sewage in a double stage reed bed has the lowest operation and maintenance requirements and is therefore the most appropriate reed bed technology for remote treatment of sewage in the ME.
·          Seperation of grey and black water has no positive effect on the treatment performance.
·          The investment costs for reed beds are equal or even higher compared to conventional low cost/quality package plants, but the operation and maintenance costs are much lower; after 5-7 years the reed bed system becomes financially viable in comparison to conventional package plants, after 20 years the total life cycle costs are 50% of a conventional system.
·         The reed bed system does consume only little energy (max. 0.3 kWh/m³) and produces a biomass which is a valuable by-product, which serves as biotope.
·         Depending on the type of reed bed system used no sludge disposal is required for 15 years as sludge gets directly mineralized in the system.
·         The reed bed technology provides a long lasting, low-maintenance, easy to operate and high performance, robust sustainable waste water treatment solution.

The reed bed technology is not a low cost solution for short term projects.

After more than 8 years of continuous persuading of governmental and private organizations with countless presentations, workshops and discussions and construction of more than 20 reed bed systems, mainly financed by private contractors, the reed bed technology starts to play a role in the decentralized treatment of sewage in the U.A.E., Qatar and Oman. The first tenders were released in the U.A.E. from governmental organizations and private developers to implement the reed bed technology for remote areas and sustainable projects proving that this technology finally got accepted and approved in the region and will take its place in the treatment of sewage in the U.A.E. as alternative green and sustainable alternative to conventional waste water treatment.  

Thank you Wolfram to give us something about your experience!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

World Environment Day 2013 - treatment wetlands are part of this event!

World Environment Day is an annual event that is aimed at being the biggest and most widely celebrated global day for positive environmental action. World Environment Day activities take place all year round and climax on 5 June every year, involving everyone from everywhere. 

As 2013 also this year I have decided to partecipate and write this post.

Through World Environment Day, the United Nations Environment Programme is able to personalize environmental issues and enable everyone to realize not only their responsibility, but also their power to become agents for change in support of sustainable and equitable development.
The theme for this year’s World Environment Day celebrations is Think.Eat.Save. Think.Eat.Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.  

Also you can think green. do something for our Mothet Earth!

(part of the text is from