Land application systems represent one of the alternatives for wastewater treatment for small population centers. They are extensive purification technologies of low hydraulic load where the residual water to treat is applied on a terrain with vegetation, obtaining together the purification of the waters and the production of biomass. The purification takes place through the joint action of the soil, the microorganisms and the plants, through physical, chemical and biological mechanisms. Some of the water applied to the soil is consumed by evapotranspiration and the rest is infiltrated through the soil, until reaching the aquifer.
The recently launched FILVER+ project goes a step further by tackling water regeneration through a new concept of land application systems. Over the next four years, FILVER+ will address the development of an Amended Land Application System (ALAS) as a technology of secondary and tertiary treatments, to maximizing removal of nutrients, microparasites/pathogens and emerging pollutants, by application of low cost and easy acquisition amendments. That will give as result a reduction of the required surface for the IVF installation and an increase of the quality of the infiltrated water, thus diminishing the impact on the underlying aquifer.
The project, in which the IMDEA Water Institute and the CENTA Foundation are involved, is oriented to the search of solutions to fulfil the environmental objectives required by the Water Framework Directive, as it is recorded in the Actions Program included in the Hydrological Plans of River Basins for the Second Cycle (2015-2021), for which an investment of more than seven thousand millions of euros is planned.
To achieve these objectives, the project will carry out the following main research activities:
- characterization of the system where the project will be developed
- evaluation of different amendments to improve the removal of nutrients, those emerging contaminants "ECs" that most often appear in the urban wastewater, and those microparasites and pathogens included in the current regulations for reuse (RD 1620/2007, i.g. E. coli and intestinal helminths)
- identification of processes involved in the removal of the nutrients, the emerging contaminants, and microparasites and pathogens
- evaluation of the efficiency of the ALAS in terms of removal of nutrients and medicines, disinfection and biomass production
- assessment of the environmental impact of the posed system by performing a life-cycle assessment and an economic and financial evaluation
This project try to put on value the knowledge gained by the research team in the recent years, through Consolider Tragua project and three MINECO projects, all focused on land application systems for wastewater treatment and reuse for irrigation.
FILVER+, with the coordination of IMDEA Water, intends to give answer to the Challenges defined by the Spanish Strategy of Science, Technology and Innovation, in particular, to the Challenge entitled “Action for Climate Change and efficiency in use of resources and raw materials”. In this sense, the main thematic RDi area where this project may be included is ”Efficiency in use of resources and raw materials”, specifically in the “Integrated management and sustainable use of water resources in rural areas”, since the project proposes a water reuse/treatment system designed to small (and therefore, essentially rural) populations.
The two teams participating in this coordinated project provides specific knowledge in the different tasks addressed. The IMDEA Water group (coordinator), led by Dr. Irene de Bustamante, specializes in the purification with land application systems and in reuse for irrigation and recharge, this group has extensive experience in the evaluation of the physical environment, transport of contaminants In the unsaturated and saturated area, as well as in the analysis and evaluation of emerging pollutants. CENTA's research group has extensive experience in the design and management of Extensive Depuration Technologies, including land application systems, as well as in the analysis and evaluation of pathogenic parasitic microorganisms, with health conditions (E. coli, intestinal helminth eggs, Cryptosporidium, Giardia), as well as for the health of the receptive crops of the regenerated waters (phytoparasitic nematodes).
The FILVER+ project "Water reclamation by using a new concept of land application systems ", with the reference CTM2016-79211-C2 (AEI/FEDER, EU), is funded by the State Research Agency (AEI) and the European Regional Development Fund ERDF), and is part of the 2016 call for R+D+i projects of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.