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Irrigation of crops with surface water contaminated with pharmaceuticals and trace metals: natural attenuation or health risk?
Surface water is the main receptor of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) effluents from large cities. The use of this resource for crop irrigation raises the urgent need to study the contaminant transfer encompassing the global “Source-Propagation-Receptor” system. Through a multidisciplinary and multiscale approach, FatePharM project addresses the concerns raised in the scientific-technical, social and economic spheres by the presence of pharmaceuticals and trace metals (TMs) in the context of Chemical Mixtures (CMs). In this sense, the challenge of FatePharM relies in the identification of the risk for food safety (human health) and the environment associated with the indirect reuse of contaminated surface water for crop irrigation.
Water reclamation by using a new concept of land application systems
FILVER+ project considers 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 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.
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Water reuse: beyond the Royal Decree 1620/2007
This project, entitled REAGUA2, considers two regeneration technologies for treated wastewaters based on ground application, they are crop irrigation and horizontal reactive beds (permeable reactive barriers, PRBs). The first case includes irrigation systems for some crops with environmental and economic value (forage grasses and species for bio-fuel production), where the regeneration medium will be formed by the plant, the soil, and the non-saturated zone. In the other case, the regeneration medium will be formed by a PRB, the soil and the non-saturated zone (NSZ). In both cases, the main goal of the project is to assess quantitatively the medium capability to regenerate the quality of the treated wastewater that is applied on the ground, in a context on environmental sustainability, health protection and economic and financial balance.
Reuse of Treated Water for Environmental Applications: groundwater recharge using permeable reactive barriers and for energy forestry purposes
From the physical environment point of view, the REAGUAM project deals with the study of two different technologies for the reuse of urban waste water for environmental applications under RD 1620/2007: first re-use agricultural techniques (Green Filters species and irrigation for biomass and biofuels) and reuse of surface recharge systems through regeneration by horizontal reactive beds.
The main aim is to develop the applicability of these technologies in environmental applications for small communities. Within this overall goal are the following objectives: a) restoring the treated water, reducing the mobility and bioavailability of unwanted substances present in purified water, and b) achieving an added environmental Benefit through reuse in irrigation for generation of biomass crops for energy purposes.
Regeneration of Treated Water by in-Situ Passive Techniques: Reuse for Irrigation and Recharge
Current technology allows us to treat any type of water with a high level of quality, regardless of its origin. The main problem is presented by the high-energy consumption required. Extensive treatment technologies for wastewater provide an advantage to treating in a natural environment. This provides the water quality needed to dump water without any impact. However, much more can be done. Using this natural ability to provide high-quality water required for use in completely different areas.
The overall project aim is to advance the study of methodologies for the reuse of purified wastewater by irrigation and infiltration through the field, to preserve the quality of groundwater and enhance water resources (reclaimed water).
Treatment and reuse of wastewater for sustainable management
The main objective of Consolider Tragua is to harness the expertise of 24 research groups in different areas to address the reuse of purified wastewater in an integrated manner. For this, there is a strong multidisciplinary team with proven research experience. The team carried out a study of the application of water treatments from the WWTP’s, based on advanced technologies. This set the criteria for chemical and biological water quality and for determining their impact on the environment. As with any other activities aimed at sustainability, there are also economic benefits, so the proposals have relevant socioeconomic value. During the Science Gala 2012, Consolider Tragua was acknowledged by the Directorate General of Technical and Scientific Research as one of the five projects that represent the quality of the Spanish science and that have been recently funded by the Spanish National Research Plan.
In December 2014 the Consolider Tragua Network (TRAGUANET) became operational. This network is funded by the MINECO in the last call for Networks of Excellence "Consolider". During two years TRAGUANET will allow the communication and collaboration among the 24 groups that were part of the project Consolider Tragua.
More information http://www.consolider-tragua.com/
Aquifer recharge and discharge processes by means of natural tracers
The knowledge of recharge to aquifers from precipitation is essential to evaluate groundwater, for its preservation and management and to preserve their environmental role. Recharge is a magnitude with noticeable uncertainty, which obliges to apply various evaluation approaches with the condition of being as much independent as possible. Among the various methods, in different applied research projects progress has been made in the application of the deposition balance of atmospheric chloride, as well as in chemical and environmental isotope methods. Here it is proposed to progress in this research line and besides check it against the identification of discharges, which have a different localization and temporality, but by integration along time they allow checking recharge evaluations. As a new working line it is included the measurement of radon in place to identify groundwater discharge into surface water bodies. The REDESAC project consists on three coordinated subprojects with a set of common objectives and a selection of application areas in order to check the different techniques in cases of natural recharge, artificial recharge, and discharge into surface water bodies.
More information http://www.redesac.upc.es/
Wastewater Treatment from Bentonite Sludge
With the Bentonite slurry filter, some water cannot be recycled back into the construction process due to its quality. Problems arise because of sludge flocculation. This means that it must be discharged into the sewage system, requiring pH correction to comply with the legal parameters.
This project attempts to eliminate these problems by adjusting the water to a sufficient quality to be reused in the process. This prevents spillage and optimises water use in the construction process. Patent.