EIO - Eco-efficient wastewater treatment technologies using bioponds, wetlands and biofilters

EIO - Eco-efficient wastewater treatment technologies using bioponds, wetlands and biofilters

The Environment Management Coordination Centre together with specialists from the Latvia University of Agriculture has developed a number of environmentally friendly technical solutions to solve wastewater purification problems for single households in the countryside and self-governing country apartment houses using bioponds, wetlands and biofilters. The technical solutions provide a blueprint how to redesign waste disposal units commonly used by single households in rural areas into closed-loop biological purification systems. These solutions allow direct channelling of purified wastewater into soil and groundwater.

One of the problems in Latvia is the fact that support for the development and installation of wastewater treatment technologies has been available mostly for more densly populated areas. The Environment Management Coordination Centre together with specialists from the Latvia University of Agriculture has developed a number of environmentally friendly technical solutions to solve wastewater purification problems for single households in the countryside and self-governing country apartment houses using bioponds, wetlands and biofilters. The technical solutions provide a blueprint how to redesign waste disposal units commonly used by single households in rural areas into closed-loop biological purification systems. These solutions allow direct channelling of purified wastewater into soil and groundwater. One of the solutions is the use of artificial wetlands. The biofilters are made from coarse sand or gravel where reeds are being planted. Wastewater purification is done by bacteria that grow in abundance in the filter. Filter also does the mechanic cleansing of the wastewater. Reeds act as a compressor providing oxygen and capturing nitrogen. In the countryside it is suitable also to use bioponds for wastewater treatment as they fit in the natural landscape and are simple and relatively cheap to establish. Water purification starts with a mechanic refinement of the largest waste elements in a pre-purification pond. The water is further channelled to a shallow biopond around 0.5m in depth where the remaining organic particles are dismantled by bacteria. Wetland plants, such as reeds and sweet flags, activate the cleansing process. Lastly the water is channelled to a second stage biopond where the purification process continues. After drainage through horizontal wetlands the water returns into the nearest rivers, lakes or groundwater.

Barriers and Drivers

The main barrier is the necessary seed investment in the set-up of the biological purification system.

Drivers are ecologically friendly wastewater treatment in rural areas and financial savings in the long-term from reduced need for wastewater management.

Economic Performance

The wastewater purification technologies are expected to provide a financial return for singleĀ  households and self-managing country appartments in the long-term. The annual cost of wastewater management without purification system for a single household is around EUR 150-200 annually. The cost of the establishment of biofilters, wetlands and bioponds varies depending on the scope of the solution and geological paramaters, but the designed technology blueprints limit the costs for individual households to geological appraisal and practical installation.

Social Performance

The wastewater is treated underground and is unnoticable for inhabitants.

Environmental Impact

Groundwater contamination can be averted in rural areas. Bioponds are also very suitable for treating large unexpected contamination that occasionally happens in rural objects linked to agriculture or manufacturing activities.

Further Information

http://www.vskc.lv/frontpage/index/menu_id/31

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