Biological wastewater treatment and organic farming are well established in the world today. However joining them together is new to many regions. This combinatio is a special feature of wastewater recycling.
Wastewater recycling goes by other names such as; zero emissions, bio-remediation, ecological sewage treatment, permaculture, polyculture, and organic farming, but each activity shares at least one aim:
- 'Improve fertility by treating wastewater'
Agriculture depends on soil fertility. When farm waste and human sewage flow into natural waterways this fertility is lost, transformed into pollution. Billions of tons of nutrients are wasted this way. Most conventional wastewater treatment tries to clean water then release it into natural waterways. This produces only costs. Wastewater recycling treats water by recycling it for agriculture, producing financial benefits.
Here are principle features of wastewater recycling:
- Nutrients are recycled when wastewater is used by crops and livestock via photosynthesis, mineralization, and uptake.
- Wastewater is re-used safely for products and revenues.
- Water treatment is a happy by-product but there are other products including wildlife habitat, fertilized soil, and crops.
- Water is treated by combining natural processes such as filtration and sedimentation plus biochemical reactions including photosynthesis, anaerobic & aerobic digestion.
- Economic benefits come from soil restoration, fertilizer recovery, crops and livestock. Costs are minimized by; using wastewater for fertilizer, integrating crops for pest protection, maintaining biodiversity, treating water via natural processes, and reducing environmental liability.
- Components are adaptable, ranging from single households to large farms and communities.
- The technology is especially suitable for poor soil, and regions where flood control or water conservation are required.
- Locally available resources are used so there are no costs for imported machinery.
- Climate. Due to year-round sunlight, more productive applications occur in a belt defined by the equator and 30 degrees latitude north & south. That belt contains most of the world population. It is the focus of this website.
- Systems described in this website are different from systems developed in the United States, Europe and Japan. They use similar principles but are different in their applications. This is due to climate and sunlight.
A happy by-product is treated water, but this is only one. Enriched soil is a prime product which remains on site. Other products include algae, biogas, water plants, vegetables, fruits, fish, and livestock. Costs of production such as fertilizer and feed come at greatly reduced cost. They are produced on site using nutrients from wastewater.
Products are developed according to local requirements. For example if mushrooms or fruit are marketable these are used. Sites accommodate a variety of vegetation, either dry or wet root-based, or aquatic.
Another "product" is biodiversity. Wildlife reproduces on site due to integrated vegetation and protective coverage. Local bird species help control insect populations.