How dirty is reclaimed water?

How to recycle shower water for irrigation.

They are distinguished from sewage contaminated with excrement from the toilet, called black water, because they contain fecal bacteria, such as Escherichia coli. Greywater is of vital importance because it can be very useful in the field of ecological irrigation.

Water from households can then be treated to limit contamination and health risks before it is returned to the general environment. Most greywater ends up as effluent in lagoons, rivers and oceans.

There are other alternatives for graywater disposal that allow for efficient use, such as using it to irrigate plants and parks.[2] Plants use graywater contaminants, such as food particles or phosphate from detergents, as nutrients in their growth. However, salt, chlorine and soap residues can be toxic to microbial life and plants alike, but when diluted can be absorbed and degraded through constructed wetlands and aquatic plants, such as reeds and grasses.

How to use graywater without a system

Sanitation includes the disposal, treatment, reclamation and reuse of wastewater, as well as all the operations associated with these processes, such as the construction, operation and maintenance of wastewater treatment plants, the network of general collectors and the systems for the disposal of reclaimed water into the natural environment.

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A wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is a facility in which dirty and rainwater is treated to remove its pollutant load so that it can be returned to the environment or reused.

Water reuse system in houses

05/09/2016 – 06:14The Institute of Agrifood Quality of the Canary Islands and the European Union have granted the certificate of organic production to a farmer who irrigates his crops with treated water. The Cabildo highlighted in a press release at the end of July that this has been possible thanks to the investments of Canal Gestión in the network that have led to greatly improve the quality of water, both drinking and treated, which the Cabildo now calls “regenerated”.

However, this farmer stresses that, “no matter how good the treated water is, it cannot be better than drinking water” and that it has been proven that drinking water is not good for the soil. Klaus considers that the Cabildo wants to encourage again the irrigation network of treated water, when it seemed that the course was another and when it has not had good results, as evidenced by the sweet potato of the Vega de Machín irrigated with this type of water. The direct effect for the consumer, if this type of water is generalized, would be that he could buy sweet potatoes and other vegetables irrigated with this water at very low prices in supermarkets on the island, but on the other hand, the consumer of organic products would be left, probably, without the value of its seal of confidence.

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Water recycling

The water collected in the sewage system is recycled to these facilities. To purify the water, basic treatments are carried out such as the elimination of solids to make it more transparent, or metabolization to eliminate dissolved organic matter, which is carried out with microorganisms that are subsequently eliminated by leaving the water to settle in tanks so that they are deposited at the bottom.

Thanks to the effect of these treatments, purified water is obtained, which can be discharged into the natural environment without producing negative effects. If it is to be reused, additional treatments are carried out at the WWTP itself. For example, in order to be reused in agricultural practices or as fuel in cement plants, the “sludge” in the water must be treated. The solids removed in the first settling and the microorganisms remaining from the first treatment are called “sludge”. In this way, the water obtained can be 100% usable.

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In some treatment plants, such as the Baix Llobregat WWTP, anaerobic digestion treatments are carried out, in which microorganisms metabolize organic matter without the presence of oxygen. This process produces methane gas, a biogas that can be used as a fuel for energy. This type of energy produced can be used in the WWTP itself or sold to the electricity grid.