Why combining natural systems with engineered treatment processes?

The synergistic benefits of cNES go beyond the mere addition of the processes. Combinations of natural systems with engineered processes increase removal efficiencies, reduce land requirements, and are essential to preserve the advantages of this low-cost, low-energy and ecosystem services providing treatment solution.

Whilst many natural treatment components have proven their effectiveness in water treatment over recent decades (Kazner et al., 2012) in addition to the ecological and social benefits compared to purely engineered systems (e.g. treatment systems as habitats, potential recreational use), their capacity may become limited due to space restrictions (e.g. size of CW and infiltration basins) or negatively impacted by flow variations during floods and droughts. Combination of natural treatment components with engineered pre- and post-treatment processes help to improve performance and increase treatment resilience of natural systems.



Benefits of engineered post-treatment

The reasons why engineered post-treatment is necessary after natural systems are presented below.

Bank Filtration

  • Improved water quality (combination of BF with conventional aeration, filtration for Fe/Mn removal, and activated carbon)
  • Removal of emerging micropollutants and pathogens (viruses, protozoa) in the source water
  • Increased treatment reliability in case of hydrological flow variations due to weather extremes, such as floods and droughts
  • Higher safety and optimal use of other treatment steps (such as activated carbon filtration and disinfection) due to introduction of membrane technology as post- treatment to BF
  • Prevention of closure of existing sites affected by specific pollutants, reduced chemical consumption, increased operational ease and lower maintenance cost (Innovative post- treatment processes tested in the AquaNES Project, such as capillary membranes and inline electro chlorination)
  • Biofouling prevention of membranes in comparison with direct surface water treatment via nanofiltration

MAR / SAT

  • Improved effluent quality due to the combination of MAR systems with engineered post- treatment processes, such as disinfection (meeting required levels of microbial contamination)
  • Safe reuse of treated wastewater

Constructed Wetlands

  • Improved effluent quality due to the combination of CW systems with engineered post- treatment processes, such as disinfection (meeting required levels of microbial contamination)
  • Safe reuse of treated wastewater

Post Treatment Engineered Processes

The AquaNES DSS focus on three types of natural systems and their combinations with engineered pre- or post-treatment processes. The engineered post-treatment processes under consideration are presented below.

MAR / SAT

Examined engineered post-treatment processes combined with MAR/SAT systems

Constructed Wetlands

Examined engineered post-treatment processes combined with CW systems

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