Science Target Conference Systems, Ajman 4th International Environment Conference 2016

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Recycling of domestic wastewater treated by vertical-flow wetlands for irrigation of crops
suhad Almuktar, Miklas Scholz

Last modified: 2016-01-04

Abstract


Since the global financial crisis started in 2007, sustainable water resources management, agriculture and food production is becoming economically and environmentally more important. The effective use of renewable resources is essential in relatively poor developing countries. Due to water scarcity in many semi-arid countries, there is considerable interest in recycling various nutrient-rich wastewater streams such as treated urban wastewater for irrigation in the agricultural sector. The aim was therefore to assess if domestic wastewater treated by different sustainable wetland systems (some contaminated by diesel spills) can be successfully recycled to water commercially grown crops such as Chilli. The objectives were to assess variables such as the environmental conditions, the volume of treated wastewater for irrigation, the suitability of different growth media, the diesel oil spill impacting on the growth of Chillies fed by domestic wastewater pre-treated by diverse mature constructed treatment wetlands and the economic viability of various experimental set-ups. The growth of Chillies fed by different treated and untreated wastewater types were assessed. Foliage growth was excessive and the harvest was delayed. High Chilli yields in terms of economic return were associated with an organic growth medium, and a wetland with a small aggregate size and a low contact time. Findings indicate that nutrient concentrations supplied to the Chillies by a combination of compost and treated wastewaters are usually too high to produce a good harvest. However, as the compost is depleted of nutrients after ten months, the harvest increased for pots that received pre-treated wastewater.