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Nutrient management, wastewater recycling and urine separation: A potential method for effective nutrient and irrigation practices in Western Australia

Hughes, R., Dallas, S. and Anda, M. (2006) Nutrient management, wastewater recycling and urine separation: A potential method for effective nutrient and irrigation practices in Western Australia. In: International Conference on Decentralised Water and Wastewater Systems, 10 - 12 July, Fremantle, Western Australia.

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Abstract

The adaptation of many environments in Western Australia, especially the coastal areas (with the highest populations), to low nutrient levels (e.g. low PRI soils) has lead to the development of nutrient and irrigation management criteria that ensure sensitive environments (e.g. oligotrophic water bodies) are protected from eutrophication. The treatment of wastewater to meet acceptable environmental criteria in these environments is therefore often expensive and problematic due to the degree of nutrient removal required. Urine contains over 5O°/o of the phosphorus and potassium in wastewater as well as over 8O°/o of the nitrogen. Hence urine separation through urinals and separation pans is an effective way to reduce nutrient loading and associated treatment costs. The separation of urine from wastewater has been utilised in many regions of the world to reduce nutrient flows to treatment systems and offers a readily viable resource in the form of fertiliser. The chosen approaches for making urine a safe fertiliser include a holding period of 6 months and the use of newer technologies such as the MAP system. In Western Australia urine separation offers a potential option to reduce the costs of treatment required with many reuse projects. The technology available has been used for some time in other countries and the fertiliser produced from this process offers a method to reduce the production of fertilisers and close nutrient cycling loops. In this paper there is a discussion on the application of urine reuse in Western Australia highlighting its importance for wastewater reuse in sensitive environments. The paper will highlight current practices for urine treatment and exemplify the reduction in treatment system sizing and cost based on wastewater treatment in a sub surface wetland.

Publication Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Environmental Science
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/22349
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