Turning black into green: ecosystem services from treated wastewater

E. Rozos, I. Tsoukalas, K. Ripis, E. Smeti, and C. Makropoulos, Turning black into green: ecosystem services from treated wastewater, 13th IWA Specialized Conference on Small Water and Wastewater Systems, Athens, Greece, National Technical University of Athens, 2016, (in press).



In order to reduce the impact of the urban effluents on the environment, modern societies have imposed restrictions regarding the quality of the disposals. For this reason, in the majority of the western world cities, the wastewater is treated before disposal. However, on the other side of the urban water cycle, water abstractions keep putting an increasing pressure on the water resources. As a countermeasure, treated wastewater is used occasionally as an alternative resource by employing large scale infrastructure to treat and supply water for either irrigation or industrial uses. Despite the existence of numerous successful applications, this practice is not very common mainly because of the increased capital and operational costs, usually exceeding the cost of fresh water. The response of the market to this drawback was to introduce in-situ small scale treatment units to cover local water needs. In this study, we assess the benefits of a compact wastewater treatment unit that is used to provide water for irrigating a green area. Apart from the aesthetic improvement, benefits are expected because of the evaporative cooling (latent heat), which reduce the air temperature. A pilot scheme was set up in KEREFYT, the research centre of Athens water supply company. This scheme was simulated with UWOT model to estimate the heat fluxes and the results were fed into Energy2D (a model that simulates heat transfer) to estimate the expected temperature drop.

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