Category Archives: Wastewater Management

Treating Wastewater as a Resource – Global Waters

Treating Wastewater as a Resource. Global Waters, March 2017.

The theme of World Water Day 2017 — wastewater—provides an ideal moment to pause and reflect on how this often maligned and misunderstood water source can be treated safely to improve public health and enhance quality of life.


The new Tacloban City Septage Treatment Facility is the first plant of its size in the Philippines to use a process called lime stabilization to treat wastewater. Photo Credit: USAID/Philippines

Thanks to technological advances in wastewater treatment and disposal, as well as improved sanitation management practices, many communities are even recognizing that water, once used, can still be put to productive use — making wastewater a largely untapped renewable freshwater source for increasing food production and facilitating economic development in water-stressed areas.

In celebration of World Water Day, USAID invites you to travel around the world in the photo essay below to see how the Agency’s wastewater programming is helping improve sanitation access, increase water security, drive job creation, and create healthier, more livable communities for millions of people.

View the photo essay.


World Water Day 2017 – Why Wastewater

World Water Day 2017 – Why Wastewater?

World Water Day, on 22 March every year, is about taking action to tackle the water crisis. Today, there are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water. 


Photo: Duda Arraes via / CC BY-NC-ND

The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to safe water by 2030, making water a key issue in the fight to eradicate extreme poverty.

In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated March 22 as World Water Day. World Water Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners.

Find out more about this year’s theme: wastewater.

Microbiological quality of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) irrigated with wastewater in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and effect of green salads washing methods

Microbiological quality of lettuce (Lactuca sativa) irrigated with wastewater in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and effect of green salads washing methods. International Journal of Food Contamination, December 2017, 4:3.


In Addis Ababa, where irrigation water for vegetable production is commonly derived from the highly polluted Akaki river, information on microbial contamination of water and irrigated vegetable is scanty. An assessment was done to determine the microbiological quality of irrigation water and lettuce harvested from 10 urban farming sites of Addis Ababa. The efficacy of 5 lettuce washing methods were also assessed. A total of 210 lettuce and 90 irrigation water samples were analyzed for faecal coliform and helminth eggs population levels.


The mean faecal coliform levels of irrigation water ranged from 4.29-5.61 log10 MPN 100 ml−1, while on lettuce, the concentrations ranged from 3.46-5.03 log10 MPN 100 g−1. Helminth eggs and larvae were detected in 80% of irrigation water and 61% of lettuce samples. Numbers ranged from 0.9-3.1 eggs 1000 ml−1 and 0.8-3.7 eggs 100 g−1 wet weight for irrigation water and lettuce, respectively. The helminth eggs identified included those of Ascaris lumbricoides, Hookworm, Enterobius vermicularis, Trichuris trichiura, Taenia and Strongloyides larvae. Ascaris lumbricoides and Hookworm were most prevalent in both irrigation water and lettuce samples. Compared with the WHO recommendations and international standards, the faecal coliform and helminth eggs levels in irrigation water and lettuce samples exceeded the recommended levels. Irrespective of the tested washing methods, faecal coliform and helminth eggs levels were somehow reduced. Among the washing methods, potable tap water washing – rinsing (2 min) followed by dipping in 15 000 ppm vinegar solution for a minute supported the highest faecal coliorm reduction of 1.7 log10 units, whereas lowest reduction of 0.8 log10 units was achieved for the same procedure without vinegar.


Compared with international standards, both faecal coliform and helminth eggs levels exceeded recommended thresholds in water and lettuce, but still in a potential risk range which can be easily mitigated if farmers and households are aware of the potential risk. Aside preventing occupational exposure, potential risk reduction programs should target households which have so far no guidance on how best to wash vegetables. The result of the present study suggest that the vinegar based washing methods are able to reduce faecal coliform towards low level while the physical washing with running water may help to substantially decrease potential risk of helminth parasitic infections.

The role of nanomaterials as effective adsorbents and their applications in wastewater treatment

The role of nanomaterials as effective adsorbents and their applications in wastewater treatmentJournal of Nanostructure in Chemistry, March 2017, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 1–14.

Nanomaterials have been extensively studied for heavy metal ions and dye removals from wastewater. This article reviews the role of nanomaterials as effective adsorbents for wastewater purification.

In recent years, numerous novel nanomaterial adsorbents have been developed for enhancing the efficiency and adsorption capacities of removing contaminants from wastewater.

The innovation, forthcoming development, and challenges of cost-effective and environmentally acceptable nanomaterials for water purification are discussed and reviewed in this article.

This review concludes that nanomaterials have many unique morphological and structural properties that qualify them to be used as effective adsorbents to solve several environmental problems.

Simple wastewater treatment system could boost aquaculture

Simple wastewater treatment system could boost aquaculture. Fish Information & Services, March 9, 2017.

woodchip bioreactors

Woodchip bioreactors. (Photo: College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences)

New research shows that a simple, organic system using woodchip bioreactors can be helpful for cleaning aquaculture wastewater effectively and inexpensively.

Fish farming creates waste that can be difficult and costly to clean up, an issue that impedes the growth of the industry in the United States.

The researchers participating in the study built bioreactors filled with wood chips to treat wastewater from a fully operational recirculating aquaculture system in West Virginia.

These scientists explain that water from the fish tank enters the bioreactor at one end, flows through the wood chips, and exits through a pipe at the other end. Along the way, solids settle out and bacteria housed in the wood chips remove nitrogen, a regulated pollutant.

To carry out the research, the team set up four identical bioreactors, varying only in retention time, or the amount of time it takes for water to travel from end to end.

Laura Christianson, assistant professor of water quality at the University of Illinois and lead author of the study pointed out that the bioreactors worked as a filter for the solids and took nitrates out and clarified that for systems that need to move a lot of water in a short amount of time, her recommendation is an additional microscreen filter to settle some of the solids out before they enter and clog up the bioreactor.

Read the complete article.

This Device by Filipino Electronics Engineering Students Generates Electricity Out of Wastewater

This Device by Filipino Electronics Engineering Students Generates Electricity Out of Wastewater. GineersNow, March 13, 2017.

When John Paul Santos noticed the wastewater in the Pasig River which is near to his school the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, he had a thought of using such water to generate electricity. It was a wild idea then. gineers

But being in his second year as an electronics engineering student, he knew he had to do something about it. Eventually he did.

Together with fellow electronics engineering student Christian Sta. Romana, he developed a device called Electrifilter, or electricity generation from filthy water, which does exactly what is called. It can produce electricity from filthy water which first samples were from the Pasig River.

Read the complete article.


Scientists harness sunlight to break down wastewater in 20 minutes

Scientists harness sunlight to break down wastewater in 20 minutes. WaterWorld, March 14, 2017.

CANBERRA, Australia – Chemists in Australia claim to have found an alternative to ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection technologies which they claim is 15 times more efficient.
The research group from Australian National University (ANU) have developed a system that uses modified titanium dioxide as a photocatalyst that works with sunlight.

Research group leader Professor Yun Liu said the photocatalyst can completely decompose organic pollutants in wastewater in 20 minutes.

The team added nitrogen and niobium ions in pairs into the titanium dioxide to improve its performance as a photocatalyst.

ANU conducted the research in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the University of New South Wales, Western Sydney University, and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

The university has filed a provisional patent covering the discovery, which involved the design strategy, chemical composition and manufacturing approach.

ANU said the new technology could be “useful for treating water for human consumption and has potential applications in making self-cleaning building materials, including glass, and splitting water to make hydrogen fuel”.

Read the complete article.