The sludges that result from drinking water purification processes may serve to improve the treatment of wastewaters through their application in artificial humid zones that contribute towards the removal of nutrients and organic composites, fostering biodiversity as well as promoting the circular economy in the urban water cycle.
The effectiveness of this process is now undergoing its demonstration phase through the project “LIFE RENATURWAT – Integrating the circular economy and biodiversity into the sustainable treatment of water through artificial humid zones”, which is under development by a European consortium coordinated by IIAMA-UPV- the Institute of Hydric and Environmental Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Valência and with the participation of Águas de Portugal, EMIVASA – Águas de Valência, Global Omnium Medioambiente SL, GEA-UV – the Water Economic Group of the University of Valência (GEA-UV), EFEverde, belonging to the Spanish news agency EFE and the Global Nature Foundation.
Following various years of laboratory study, this now puts to practical test the improvements made to wastewater treatment by artificial humid zones through recourse to the slurries resulting from water decanting processes in wastewater treatment plants. This absorbent material thus no longer becomes a waste generated by water purification processes but rather eligible for reutilisation as a resource to improve the removals of nutrients and organic compounds from wastewaters.
The pilot demonstration project is to be installed at the Vall dels Alcalans wastewater treatment plant, which serves the cities of Monstserrat, Montroy and Real (Valencia, Spain), involving the construction of a vertical artificial drainage embankment with an active substrate (sludge decantation) that shall serve as a further treatment process for a proportion of the effluents produced by this plant. This also extends to the construction of two small surface humid drainage zones, resembling small lagoons that shall improve the biodiversity of the treated water prior to its discharge into the river Magro.
Taking into account the results of this innovative case study, the Águas de Portugal Group shall advance with a plan for the installation of this solution at one of its wastewater treatment plants in the Norte region.
With a total budget of 1,893,955.00 euros, with 55% of financing from the European Commission under the LIFE 2014-2020 Program and lasting for a duration of 42 months, LIFE RENATURWAT shall contribute towards compliance with the water quality objectives stipulated by the Water Quality and Urban Wastewater Directives and in addition to fostering the circular economy in the urban water cycle.
The project shall also take into consideration the economic impact of reutilising the slurries and the national and international transferability of this solution (beginning with Portugal) through fostering the broad involvement of various sectors of society.
Budget: 1 893 955 EUR
Starting date: October 2020
Project duration: 42 months