Tuesday, February 26, 2013

opinions on treatment wetlands

Since 1996 I work in the field of treatment wetlands and I've heard of all colors (this is an italian way of saying to express  the fact that I have heard many speeches about TWs).

  • I'm sure that the wetland's cells doesn't smell,
  • I'm sure that the wetland's cells doesn't host wild animals that kill you
  • I'm sure that mosquitos cannot live there
  • You can walk on a vertical and horizontal beds; for the surface beds you need special boots or wearing the beautiful Hawaianas summer shoes
  • The wetland system last more than 20 years if you manage them well
  • They cost less than a traditional system (a little bit less but you have not the expensive management cost of the traditional systems)
  • Floating wetlands are a good way to treat on site the wastewaters
  • You can use local materials to build up the systems
  • You can use local species to plant the beds
  • Yes, it is true that the wetland needs land where build the beds.... but it is always better than a industrial area...

any other questions or opinions? help me to improve this list...

"greetings from Hamman-Jordan"

treatment wetlands on wiseGEEK

I was looking for something new about treatment wetland by a random research on the web and I found this portal "WiseGEEk" that  give clear answers for common question. I was wondering when I saw that there was an answer about treatment wetlands. that's good!

here the link to the web page: wisegeek treatment wetlands

Monday, February 25, 2013

hybrid constructed wetlands

Hybrid systems are a combination of vertical flow and horizontal systems arranged in a staged manner. HF systems cannot provide nitrification because of their limited oxygen transfer capacity. VF systems, on the other hand, do provide a good conditions for nitrification but no denitrification occurs in these systems. In hybrid systems (also sometimes called combined systems) the advantages of the HF and VF systems can be combined to complement processes in each system to produce an effluent low in BOD, which is fully nitrified and partly denitrified and hence has a much lower total-N outflow concentrations (J. Vymazal, Ecological Engineering, Volume 25, Issue 5, 1 December 2005, Pages 478–490 . Constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment, abstract.

When I start to design a wetlands I always ask to myself "horizontal or vertical ? or hybrid?". Well, is not difficult to answer! I take into account the volume, the number of people treated, the available surface, energy input, and so on.
Usually I start with the horizontal, easy to be design, easy to be realized, no energy needed, and a lot of advantages.
If I have more than 50, 100 .. 450 cubic meters a day I'm sure I do an hybrid wetland with VF before and HF after. Yes, if we are in a place where the surface is free, and where there are no other problem I do an HF, sure. But usually for large volumes is better the hybrid wetland. As noted in the Vymazal abstract, the chemical reactions that occour in the two systems are different. in the hybrid system we have both, and the treatment  efficiency will be higher in less space!


For example you have to treat 100 m3 of municipal wastewater. 

1 Hp: only horizontal:
if you  build up only HF systems you need more or less 1800 square meters of treatment wetland

2 Hp: only vertical:
if you  build up only VF systems you need more or less 600 square meters of treatment wetland

3 Hp: hybrid system
if you  build up an hybrid wetland systems you need more or less 1200 square meters of treatment wetland

This comparison is not made for the capital cost of building and design, only to show you the difference between the design methods.
As you can see the VF surface is the lowest but usually you have to buy pumps systems and realize the tanks for the inlet pumping.
The HF have the highest surface but the lowest cost.
The hybrid is midway but be sure that will give you the best treatment performace you can reach because it combine aerobic and anaerobic environment.

Friday, February 22, 2013

WATER USE EFFICIENCY and FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)

from FAO profile on facebook I copy this important article and also my comment. Yes, is important ot improve the water use ecciciency but is also important to start to reuse the treated wastewater. Treatment wetlands are a good way to treat wastewater and and give back H2O moleculae that could be reused for different purposes!

"The continuing population growth could double food demand in the next 50 years. Find out how better use of water could allow us to produce more food while preserving natural resources: http://bit.ly/XyGkOY"

and this is my comment:

"Davide Tocchetto: yes, is true, save water with improve efficiency but there is a large amount of water that can be reused, there are purification systems which allow to produce water that can be reused for different uses. One of this is treatment wetlands, a natural way to treat wastewater and get back clean water ... read more on www.treatmentwetlands.blogspot.com. A city with 100000 habitants produce 20000 mc a day of wastewater; this volume can generate 15000 mc/d of treated water that can be used for agriculture, irrigation, industrial processes. let's start to think also about the reuse!"

Friday, February 15, 2013

AQUAPONIC.... is a treatment wetland?

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

In 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.

Aquaponic systems vary in size from small indoor or outdoor units to large commercial units, using the same technology. The systems may contain fresh or salt water, depending on the plants and animals desired. (source, wikipedia mod.).

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!
Yes because there is wastewater produced by the fish farming and yes because there is the biological absorption by the plants and finally the treated water is reused for the fish living...

A good example on expanding aquaponic culture is the URBAN FARMERS project in Swiss (UF web site). They are focused on building the best urban agriculture systems the world has ever seen. They are cost effective, sustainable and reliable. Their rooftop farm system grows fresh vegetables and fish, and adds a new experience for your customers. The proprietary hardware and software solution which we have developed keeps your farm working and connected to your community so anyone can see, smell, and taste the truly fresh food, anytime. (source UF web site). 
Take a look to thier UF globe project at http://urbanfarmers.com/productsservices/uf-globe/ it's fantastic!!! 
Here below a picture of the aquaponic module in ZAHW.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

permaculture and treatment wetlands

Permaculture is a branch of ecological science which develops sustainable architecture and self-maintained horticultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.The design principles which are the conceptual foundation of permaculture were derived from the science of systems ecology and study of sustainable land use. Permaculture draws from several disciplines and  has been applied most commonly to the design of housing and landscaping, integrating techniques such as agroforestry, natural building, and rainwater harvesting within the context of permaculture design principles and theory (source: wiki mod).

On the web I have found The  Permaculture Research Institute of Australia that  work with individuals and communities worldwide to expand the knowledge and practice of integrated, sustainable agriculture and culture using the whole-systems approach of permaculture design. This will provide solutions for permanent abundance by training local people to become leaders of sustainable development in their communities and countries (source http://www.permaculturenews.org/about mod). very interesting web site, join it!!!!

.... and what do you think? do you think the treatment wetlands may not be a suitable systems? OHHH YESSS, take a look to the australian research site, you will find a good read about treatment wetlands. I want to mention them with his words reported below:

"These artificial wetlands provide a near zero energy input way to treat local effluent with no negative side effects. The process is free of both chemicals and odours, provides habitat for wildlife, increases the diversity and aesthetics of any site, and, depending on the toxicity of the inflowing effluent, can potentially create a yield, such as fodder for livestock." 

very good words! congratulations