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The first pilot wastewater treatment plant with integrated wood production opened in Mongolia
Date:5/31/2012

status of the existing sanitation systems represents serious risks for environmental and human health.

Professor Dietrich Borchardt (MoMo-project leader, UFZ) and Prof Dorlingsuren Lkhanag, the director of the MUST University opened a research pilot plant which is a component of the second phase of the MoMo research project. The project involves researchers, private organisations and Ministerial Departments from Mongolia and Germany to develop an integrated water resources management concept for the Kharaa basin.

The basin lies in the north of Mongolia and incorporates the city of Darkhan which has a very low annual level of precipitation of 280 mm. Continued logging and grazing pressure is leading to increased deforestation in the region. Willow stands along the Kharaa river floodplain have been heavily impacted, which has lead to the loss of important ecological services.

The harsh Mongolian climate provides several significant challenges to drinking and wastewater infrastructure with pipework required to be between 3.5 and 4.5 m below surface in order to avoid freezing. In addition, the biological treatment step common too many conventional wastewater treatment plants require heating or additional housing. This leads to significant cost increases, which are often unaffordable in Mongolia.

This combination of environmental, social and demographic conditions together with old and unreliable infrastructures represents a large challenge for the development of appropriate wastewater treatment technologies.

The proposed solution of the research group from Leipzig is to pre-treat wastewater for irrigating and the production of willow trees. The irrigation of such rotating coppice is an integral part of the treatment process while also providing an important resource. There are large amounts of available space in Mongolia which can be used for the treatment of wastewater from suburbs or small settlements. The research pr
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Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert  

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