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Wastewater hydroponics for horticulture

Oyama, N., Nair, J. and Ho, G.ORCID: 0000-0001-9190-8812 (2004) Wastewater hydroponics for horticulture. In: International Water Association 4th World Water Congress, 21 - 22 September, Marrakesh, Morocco



Municipal wastewater discharge causes severe environmental pollution and public health risk through improper practices. Centralised wastewater treatment plants are not a viable option to the current problems for wastewater disposal and water scarcity especially in developing countries, remote areas and arid regions. In arid regions all sources of good quality water are committed to domestic needs leaving very little for food production. Places such as Western Australia are faced with extreme conservation pressure on existing surface and groundwater supplies, creating the need for more efficient and sustainable use of freshwater. Properly planned use of domestic wastewater alleviates surface water pollution, conserves valuable water resources and makes use of the nutrients contained in sewage to grow crops. The high nitrogen and phosphorus content of secondary treated wastewater may reduce or eliminate the need for application of chemical fertilizers in agriculture. The major concerns in using wastewater for food production are the concentration of the contaminants and microbial pathogens in the crop though there is a lack of evidence to prove this.

Secondary treated effluent from domestic on-site treatment systems could be used to grow crops without the risk of contamination through the method of hydroponics. Due to growing plants in a controlled condition with minimum exposure of edible parts to the wastewater medium, this method ensures maximum use of water with minimum risk to health and environment. The present study is aimed to assess the suitability of secondary treated wastewater from onsite treatment system for hydroponics and to study the plant growth compared to a commercial hydroponics medium.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Publisher: IWA Publishing
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