Navigation Links
Roots meshed in waste materials could clean dirty water
Date:5/5/2010

Plant roots enmeshed in layers of discarded materials inside upright pipes can purify dirty water from a washing machine, making it fit for growing vegetables and flushing toilets, according to Penn State horticulturists.

"Our global fresh water supplies are fast depleting," said Robert D. Cameron, doctoral student in horticulture. "So it is critical that we begin to look at alternatives on how we can take wastewater and turn it into a resource."

Cameron and Robert D. Berghage, associate professor of horticulture, use discarded materials and a combination of plant and bacterial communities to treat water from a washing machine and other wastewater.

According to Cameron, this design is superior to previous living treatment systems in that it requires much less space and is much more efficient at removing contaminants.

"We have shown that with this system we can take wastewater from a washing machine and remove more than 90 percent of the pollutants within three days," said Cameron. "The treated water had very low levels of suspended solids and no detectable levels of e.coli."

Cameron presented the work today (May 5) at a meeting on organic and sustainable agriculture in Havana.

The water treatment system consists of two seven-foot long plastic corrugated pipes a foot in diameter. The researchers placed these pipes upright three feet apart in a basin containing a foot of potting soil and crushed limestone.

"We planted the three feet by five feet basin at the foot of the pipes with papyrus and horsetail reed," said Cameron. "Just like in a wetland, the roots of these plants and associated bacteria clean the water as it flows under the basin surface and through the two columns."

Both culvert pipes are filled with alternating layers of porous rocks, composted cow manure, peat moss, tire crumbs, potting soil and crushed limestone.

Researchers planted vegetables and ornamental plants -- tomatoes, peppers, rosemary, basil and orchids -- in holes drilled along the length of the pipes. They then pumped about 45 gallons of wastewater from a washing machine to the top of the two pipes.

"As the dirty water trickles down the pipes, the tight mesh created by the soil, gravel and roots filters out pollutants," explained Cameron. "Additionally, bacterial colonies among the roots eat away the dissolved organic matter while layers of iron scraps or clay can be added to trap phosphorous."

By periodically replacing the plants, pollutants not metabolized but trapped, can be removed from the system, he added.

Chemical analyses of the treated water show a reduction of nitrites from 24 parts per million to just 1.9 parts per million, a reduction of more than 90 percent.

The system is also effective in filtering out boron. While boron is a necessary micronutrient for plants, it is toxic at high levels and can accumulate in the ground.

"Our gray water sample had boron levels of about 702 parts per million," said Cameron. "But after about three days of treatment, water collected from the foot of the pipes had only about 58 parts per million -- a reduction of about 92 percent. Dozens of other pollutants were similarly reduced in two to three days."

Cameron indicates that the next phase of research will focus on the beneficial reuses of the treated wastewater such as reducing a building's need for air conditioning.


'/>"/>

Contact: Amitabh Avasthi
axa47@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. How plants put down roots
2. Bilingual babies: The roots of bilingualism in newborns
3. Dung of the devil plant roots point to new swine flu drugs
4. Unique winter-hardy hibiscus has roots with AgriLife Research scientist in Vernon
5. Newly discovered snow roots are evolutionary phenomenon
6. Bolivian rainforest study suggests feeding behavior in monkeys and humans have ancient, shared roots
7. LabRoots Launches Social Networking Site for Scientists & Engineers
8. Historical increase in corn yield -- its in the roots
9. UV-B light sensing mechanism discovered in plant roots
10. Baby talk: The roots of the early vocabulary in infants learning from speech
11. The emerging story of plant roots
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Roots meshed in waste materials could clean dirty water
(Date:5/12/2016)... WearablesResearch.com , a brand of Troubadour ... from the Q1 wave of its quarterly wearables survey. ... receptivity to a program where they would receive discounts ... company. "We were surprised to see that ... LaColla , CEO of Troubadour Research, "primarily because there ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... LONDON , April 26, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: ... to integrate the Onegini mobile security platform with ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20151104/283829LOGO ) The integration will ... to access and transact across channels. Using this ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... , April 14, 2016 ... and Malware Detection, today announced the appointment of ... the new role. Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes ... the heels of the deployment of its platform at ... behavioral biometric technology, which discerns unique cognitive and physiological ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... Q BioMed Inc. (OTCQB: QBIO), a ... featured presenter at the 5th Annual Marcum MicroCap Conference on ... at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The ... CEO, is scheduled to begin at 11a.m ET in the ... recent developments and outline milestones for the balance of 2016 ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... FireflySci cuvettes are used in leading laboratories all over the globe. Their ... , In addition to manufacturing awesome cuvettes, FireflySci makes spectrophotometer calibration standards that ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... AZ (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... Dr. Michael Fitzmaurice recently became double board-certified in surgery and surgery of the ... 2015. Dr. Fitzmaurice is no stranger to going above and beyond in his ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Lady had been battling ... her cruciate ligament in her left knee. Lady’s owner Hannah sought the help of ... board-certified veterinary surgeon, to repair her cruciate ligament and help with the pain of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: