How to convert your landscape into a waste water treatment plant?

How to Convert your Landscape into a Waste Water Treatment Plant

Landscapes provide a calming and serene touch to any space. Landscape architecture can be defined as the skill of incorporating the man-made structures, like buildings, with the natural landscape and planting. Landscape Architecture’s gaining more and more popularity amongst the masses as Landscape architects apply artistic and scientific principles to the planning, design, management, preservation, and rehabilitation of natural and built environments.

Current landscape maintenance practices often have harmful impacts on the environment. Native woodlands and other natural habitats are cleared for urban growth and subsequently vast lawns and manicured arrangements with exoic ornamental plants are planted. These types of landscapes require extensive mechanical equipment, large quantities of water, fossil fuels, pesticides and fertilizers. This places a heavy toll on the ecosystem, pollutes ground waters and causes more frequent destructive flooding.

Essential components of landscaping

Lawns: Lawns are the most basic yet most important component of a landscape design. They act as a unifying factor for any landscape design. Lawns bind together all other components of the landscape such as walkways, garden, ornaments, ponds or patios etc.

Plants and trees: The plants and trees are chosen keeping in mind the climatic conditions of the areas. Trees or plants can be chosen for their ornamental value, ground cover, water usage etc. Combination of trees and plants based on these factors creates a visually appealing scene characterized by contrast, proportion, scale and balance.

Walkway: Including walkways into the landscape designs adds architectural details to the design. Since they are completely man-made features of any landscape design, there is a certain room for creativity for the architect to bring the essence of the building’s architecture into the landscape.

Water-bodies: Water-bodies such as waterfalls, bridges, fountains, ponds can be included in the landscape designs. Such structures not only provide serenic beauty but are also beneficial for the sustenance of the ecosystem.

Passive sewage treatment plants

Passive wastewater treatment is a type of Onsite Sewage Treatment and Disposal Systems that excludes the use of aerator pumps, includes no more than one effluent dosing pump with mechanical and moving parts, and uses a reactive media to assist in nitrogen removal. Passive sewage treatment plants do not require the ongoing addition of chemical reagents to conduct treatment. As a result these systems:

  • Have low running and maintenance costs
  • Are long-term treatment options
  • Require minimal supervision

They are ideally implemented for the treatment of water with low acid, pollutant and suspended particle loads.

Passive sewage treatment plants

Essential components if passive sewage treatment plant.

  1. Anaerobic treatment

Anaerobic treatment

Anaerobic digestion is a biological process in which microorganisms break down biodegradable matter in absence of oxygen. Anaerobic digestion or treatment produces primarily methane and carbon dioxide which can be converted into electrical or thermal energy. Anaerobic treatments for wastewater are generally implemented when treating wastewater with high concentration of biodegradable organic material. The anaerobic treatment of wastewater converts organic material into biogas (70% methane and 30% Carbon dioxide) via hydrolysis and acidification.

  1. Removal of Nitrates and Potash

The process of biologically removing nitrogen is known as denitrification. Denitrification requires that nitrogen be first converted to nitrate. The nitrified water is then exposed to an environment without free oxygen. Organisms in this anoxic system use the nitrate as an electron acceptor and release nitrogen in the form of nitrogen gas or nitrogen oxides. A readily biodegradable carbon source is also needed for efficient denitrification processes to occur. Nitrified process water flows into the anoxic reactor and is then combined with a supplemental carbon source, typically a dilute methanol solution.

Removal of Nitrates and Potash

The removal of phosphorous from wastewater involves the incorporation of phosphate into TSS and the subsequent removal from these solids. Phosphorous can be incorporated into either biological solids (e.g. microorganisms) or chemical precipitates. Chemical precipitation is used to remove the inorganic forms of phosphate by the addition of a coagulant and a mixing of wastewater and coagulant. The multivalent metal ions most commonly used are calcium, aluminium and iron.

  1. Aerobic Treatments

Aerobic treatment systems use forced air to treat wastewater and surface application or drip irrigation to disperse the treated wastewater. Aerobic treatment systems consist of: a trash tank, an aeration chamber, a disinfection chamber and surface or drip dispersal fields. These components are used to treat, disinfect, and disperse the treated wastewater.

Passive sewage treatment plants (1)

Converting your landscape into a Sewage or Wastewater Treatment Plant

  1. The  walkways can be designed in such a way so as to incorporate anaerobic treatment chambers.
  2. Since removing nitrates and potash from the wastewater is a very vital part of the wastewater treatment process, planters can be planted in the gravel bed. Here the water flows post anaerobic treatment. In case of space constraint, hydroponics could be used.
  3. To add aerobic treatment systems, water bodies such as fountains, waterfalls, ponds can be used. Here also hydroponics system can be implemented if the area is limited.

With sustainable water management gaining focus, converting landscapes into Wastewater Treatment Plants not only aides in the re-utilization of greywater but also boosts the ecosystem. The recycled and mineral enriched greywater leads to greener spaces and reduces the water costs for landscape maintenance at the same time.