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Utilising an integrated wastewater hydroponics system for small scale use

Oyama, N., Nair, J. and Ho, G.E. (2008) Utilising an integrated wastewater hydroponics system for small scale use. In: Mathew, K., Dallas, S. and Ho, G., (eds.) Decentralised water and wastewater systems : international conference, Fremantle, Western Australia, 10-12 July, 2006. IWA Publishing, London, UK, pp. 87-94.


In areas where population increase is rapid and the centralised wastewater treatment system is unavailable, decentralised wastewater treatment systems are ideal. Due to the increase in demand for quality water and water scarcity world wide, reusing treated domestic effluent is a viable option. Most domestic wastewaters are high in the macro-nutrients and some micro-nutrients required for food production. Pathogen contamination is the major fear for using treated effluent to grow edible food crops, although there has been little evidence of this. A method of reducing the risk of pathogen contamination is to use the hydroponics technique. This ensures that the edible parts of the plants are not in contact with the wastewater. This study assesses the viability of using secondary treated wastewater from a decentralised treatment system using hydroponics to grow edible food crops and flowers compared to a commercial hydroponics medium.

Tomatoes and pansies were grown using secondary treated effluent in a hydroponics set up. Effluent analyses to test nutrient and microbial quality were conducted to study the efficiency of hydroponics in the improvement of wastewater quality. The results showed that wastewater hydroponics is a suitable method of treating wastewater and also for growing tomatoes. The pansies did not grow well in wastewater compared to commercial hydroponics medium. The study showed that the chemical and microbial quality of the effluent after hydroponics met the guidelines set by the World Health Organisation within 28 days.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: Environmental Technology Centre
Publisher: IWA Publishing
Copyright: © 2008 IWA Publishing
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