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Abstract

This work presents the outcomes from two independent studies evaluating the chemical quality of groundwater in agricultural areas irrigated with wastewater from sugar and yeast industries. The evaluation was determined using chemical parameters representing typical contaminants of sugar industry wastewater (SIWW) and yeast industry wastewater (YIWW), and characterising the content of organic matter (BOD5), nutrients (NH4-N, NO3-N, TN and TP) and salts (Cl, SO4, Na and K). The studies reveal that food industry wastewater constitutes a valuable water-nutrient-rich medium that can be reused in agricultural applications as an alternative water resource for irrigation and nutrients for fertilisation. Furthermore, the reuse facilitates the sustainable discharge of wastewater through a soil-aquifer zone to the natural environment. This does not affect chemical quality of groundwater, which was comparable in areas irrigated and non-irrigated with SIWW and YIWW. Although some parameters (NO3-N, NH4-N, SO4, Cl and Na) displayed higher concentrations in groundwater from the fields irrigated with wastewater, these contents were within recommended healthbased guideline limits defined in either the groundwater quality standards or the drinking water quality norms. Only the contents of K revealed an exclusive groundwater impact from wastewater irrigation. This was confirmed in statistical tests employing theWard’s hierarchical clustering method, which exposed excessive amounts of K introduced into groundwater through irrigation with both SIWW and YIWW. However, this parameter is not considered to pose any health risk to humans or the environment, and its content is not restricted by quality guideline values for either groundwater or drinking water.

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Abstract

This work focuses on modelling soil water reserves using an Artificial Neural Net-work (ANN). Four model variants were established based on 843 records (verifiedthrough 268 measurements) of soil water content (SWC) measured at full-scale fieldsites located in Southwest Poland. It is revealed that commonly recorded climaticdata (precipitation and temperature) linked with SWC and field water capacity(FWC) are applicable in the ANN modelling. The basic model (utilising the meteoro-logical data) was the most suitable for soil profiles with thicknesses of 0–25 cm,while in profiles with thicknesses of 0–50 cm and 0–100 cm the comprehensiveANN model (linking climatic data, FWC and SWC) was the most appropriate. Fur-thermore, comparative studies of the measured and modelled data indicated theirstatistical convergence, thus providing support for the practical implementation ofthe proposed ANN modelling.

Abstract

This study describes the first Norwegian microbial source tracking (MST) approach for water quality control and pollution removal from catchment run-off in a nature-based treatment system (NBTS) with a constructed wetland. The applied MST tools combined microbial analyses and molecular tests to detect and define the source(s) and dominant origin(s) of faecal water contamination. Faecal indicator bacteria Escherichia coli and host-specific Bacteroidales 16 s rRNA gene markers have been employed. The study revealed that the newly developed contribution profiling of faecal origin derived from the Bacteroidales DNA could quantitatively distinguish between human and non-human pollution origins. Further, the outcomes of the MST test have been compared with the results of both physicochemical analyses and tests of pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs). A strong positive correlation was discovered between the human marker and PPCPs. Gabapentin was the most frequently detected compound and it showed the uppermost positive correlation with the human marker. The study demonstrated that the NBTS performs satisfactorily with the removal of E. coli but not PPCPs. Interestingly, the presence of PPCPs in the water samples was not correlated with high concentrations of E. coli. Neither has the latter an apparent correlation with the human marker.

Abstract

Water quality problems in Norway are caused mainly by high phosphorus (P) inputs from catchment areas. Multiple pollution sources contributes to P inputs into watercourses, and the two main sources in rural areas are agricultural runoff and discharge from on-site wastewater treatment systems (OWTSs). To reduce these inputs, Constructed wetlands (CWs) treating catchment runoff have been implemented in Norway since early 1990s. These CWs have been proven effective as supplements to agricultural best management practices for water quality improvements and therefore there are more than 1000 CWs established in Norway at present. This study aims to present some overall data on the present status of CWs treating catchment runoff in Norway, and in particular recent results of source tracking and retention of sediments and total phosphorus (TP) in a model, full-scale, long-term operated CW, which in practice treats runoff from a typical rural catchment with pollution from both point and diffuse sources. Nutrient contributions from agricultural runoff and OWTSs have been quantified in eight catchments, while the source tracking and retention of sediments and P has been studied in the model CW. P runoff in the catchments was largely affected by precipitation and runoff situation, and varied both throughout the year (every single year) and from one year to another. Annual TP contribution that origins from OWTSs was in general limited, and only 1 % in the catchment of the model CW. Monthly contribution, however, was higher than 30 % during warm/dry season, and cold months with frost season. For the purpose of source tracking study, faecal indicator bacteria (reported in terms of Escherichia coli - E. coli) and host-specific 16S rRNA gene markers Bacteroidales have been applied. High E.coli concentrations were well associated with high TP inputs into waterbodies during dry or/and cold season with little or no agriculture runoff, and further microbial source tracking (MST) tests proved human contribution. There are considerable variations in retention of sediments and TP in the CW between the years, and the annual yearly retention was about 38 % and 16 %, respectively. During the study period, the average monthly retention of sediments and TP was 54 % and 32 %, respectively. E. coli concentrations were also reduced in water passing the CW. The study confirmed that runoff from agricultural areas is the main P source in watercourses, however, discharges from OWTS can also be of great importance for the water quality, especially during warm/dry- and cold/frosty periods. Small CWs treating catchment runoff contribute substantially to the reduction of sediments, TP and faecal indicator bacteria transport into water recipients.

Abstract

Norwegian constructed wetlands (CWs) that treat domestic wastewater are classified as horizontal subsurface flow constructed wetlands (HSFCWs). Over the years of continuous performance, the HSFCWs operating under cold climate conditions have shown a high and stable treatment efficiency with regard to the removal of organic matter (>90 % BOD), nutrients (>50 % N and >90 % P) and microbes (>99 % bacteria). The majority of Norwegian HSFCWs are categorised as small (<50 pe) on-site, decentralised wastewater treatment systems. The Norwegian systems consist of three fundamental elements: a septic tank, a pre-filter (i.e. an aerobic vertical flow biofilter) and a horizontal flow saturated filter/wetland bed. The first, primary treatment step begins in the septic tank from which effluents are pre-treated in the second step occurring in the pre-filter/biofilter section and further in the third, final step taking place in the filter bed/HSFCW. The first and third treatment steps are quite common in systems with CWs, but the pre-treatment in biofilter(s) is mainly known from Norway. The main purpose of using the pre-treatment phase is to supply air during the cold season, to enhance nitrification processes, and to reduce the load of organic matter before entering the filter/wetland bed. If constructed and maintained correctly, the biofilters alone can remove 90 % BOD and 40 % N. Various filter/CW beds have been introduced for treatment of domestic wastewater (as complete or source-separated streams) in Norway, but the most common feature is the use of specific filter media for high phosphorus (P) removal. A few Norwegian municipalities also have limits with respect to nitrogen (N) discharge, but the majority of municipalities use 1.0 mg P/l as the discharge limit for small wastewater treatment systems. This particular limit affects the P retention lifetime of the filter media, which varies from system to system depending on the filter media applied, the type of wastewater treated, and the system design and loading rates. An estimated lifetime of filter media with regard to P removal is approximately 15–18 years for a filter/CW bed of a single household. After completing the lifetime, the filter media is excavated and replaced with new/fresh materials, allowing the system to operate effectively for another lifespan. Since the exploited media are P-rich materials, the main intention is their reuse in a safe and hygienic way, in which P could be further utilised. Therefore, the Norwegian systems can represent a complex technology combining a sustainable technique of domestic wastewater treatment and a bio-economical option for filter media reuse. This is a quite challenging goal for reclamation and recycling of P from wastewater. Thus, there are some scenarios of reusing the P-rich filter media as a complementary P fertiliser, a soil amendment or a conditioner, provided the quality is acceptable for utilisation in agriculture. Alternatively, the filter media could be reused in some engineering projects, e.g. green roof technology, road screening or construction of embankments, if the quality allows application in the environment. The core aspect of the reuse options is the appropriate quality of the filter media. As for the theoretical assumption, it should not be risky to reuse the P-rich media in agriculture. In practice, however, the media must be proven safe for human and environmental health prior to introducing into the environment.

Abstract

Nutrients for food production are traditionally extracted from natural resources, most importantly as nitrogen from the air, and phosphorous from limited mineral resources. They can also be recovered and recycled from human waste products. There is generally a low P status in the world’s soils, while Norwegian soils are rich in phosphorous. Most recyclable P is in human and animal waste products as wastewater and manure, but also municipal solid waste and more recently, organic waste contain a considerable amount of P that ideally can be utilized.

Abstract

Elevated nutrient concentrations in streams in the Norwegian agricultural landscape may occur due to faecal contamination. Escherichia coli (E. coli) has been used conventionally as an indicator of this contamination; however, it does not indicate the source of faecal origin. This work describes a study undertaken for the first time in Norway on an application of specific host-associated markers for faecal source tracking of water contamination. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) on Bacteroidales host-specific markers was employed for microbial source tracking (MST) to determine the origin(s) of faecal water contamination. Four genetic markers were used: the universal AllBac (Bacteroidales) and the individual specific markers BacH (humans), BacR (ruminants) and Hor-Bac (horses). In addition, a pathogenicity test was carried out to detect the top seven Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) serogroups. The ratio between each individual marker and the universal one was used to: (1) normalise the markers to the level of AllBac in faeces, (2) determine the relative abundance of each specific marker, (3) develop a contribution profile for faecal water contamination and (4) elucidate the sources of contamination by highlighting the dominant origin(s). The results of the qPCR MST analyses indicated the actual contributions of humans and animals to faecal water contamination. The pathogenicity test revealed that water samples were STEC positive at a low level, which was in proportion to the concentration of the ruminant marker. The outcomes were verified statistically by coupling the findings of major contamination sources with observations in the field regarding local land use (residential or agricultural). Furthermore, clear correlations between the human marker and E. coli counts as well as the ruminant marker and STEC quantity in faecally contaminated water were observed. The results of this study have the potential to help identify sources of pollution for targeted mitigation of nutrient losses.

Abstract

Laboratory-scale experiments on the survival of Escherichia coli in raw, undiluted, freshly collected, source-separated yellowwater were performed. Concentrations of E. coli and its survival at different temperature regimes and storage times were measured in yellowwater originally cross-contaminated with faeces and yellowwater purposely contaminated (deliberately spiked) with faecal material. The temperature regimes of cold (4°C), mild (10°C) and warm (22°C) were the limited factors, whereas the storage time of the contaminated yellowwater was unlimited and lasted until the E. coli concentrations reached the limit of detection of < 1 Most Probable Number (MPN)/100 mL. Temperature and pH played the main role in the inactivation and longevity of E. coli in source-separated yellowwater. The mild storage conditions were the most favourable for the persistence of E. coli, which reached 40 days with a concentration of 2.0 E+03 MPN in 100 mL of undiluted yellowwater.

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Abstract

Nine filter beds have been constructed in the Nordic countries, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Filter beds consist of a septic tank followed by an aerobic pre-treatment biofilter and a subsequent saturated flow grass-covered filter. Thus, filter beds are similar to subsurface flow constructed wetlands with pre-treatment biofilters. but do not have wetland plants with roots submerged into the saturated filter. All saturated filters contain Filtralite (R) P. a light-weight expanded clay aggregate possessing high phosphorus sorption capacity. The filter bed systems showed stable and consistent performance during the. testing period of 3 years. Removal of organic matter measured as biochemical oxygen demand (BUD) was >80%, total phosphorus (TP) >94% and total nitrogen (TN) ranged from 32 to 66%. Effluent concentrations of fecal indicator bacteria met the European bathing water quality criteria in all systems. One system was investigated for virus removal and somatic viruses were not detected in the effluent. The investigations revealed that the majority of the BOD and nitrogen removal occurred in the pre-treatment filters and the phosphorus and bacteria removal was more prominent in the saturated filters. The saturated filters could be built substantially smaller than the current design guidelines without sacrificing treatment performance. The used filter material met the Norwegian regulations for reuse in agriculture with respect to heavy metals, bacteria and parasites. When saturated with phosphorus, the light-weight aggregate. Filtralite (R) P used in the saturated bed is a suitable phosphorus fertilizer and additionally has a liming effect. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Abstract

Tie long-term use of a filter-based, on-site wastewater treatment system increases nutrient discharge to receiving waters and may reduce its hygienic barrier efficiency. The main purpose of this research was to assess the hygienic barrier efficiency and the associated health risks of an on-site system that had exceeded its 5-yr design capacity with respect to phosphorus (P) removal. The system was investigated for bacteria and virus removal and assessed with respect to potential health risks in relation to reuse of effluent for irrigation. The system consists of a septic tank, a pressure-dosed vertical flow biofilter, and an up-flow filter unit with lightweight clay aggregates. The total P concentration in the effluent had increased gradually from initially <0.1 mg P L-1 during the first 2 yr of operation to 1.8 mg P L-1 after 5.3 yr. Escherichia coli was used as an indicator organism for fecal bacteria removal, whereas bacteriophages phi X174 and Salmonella typhimurium phage 28B (S.t. 28B) were used to model enteric virus removal. An overall decrease in E. coli removal occurred from a complete (approximately 5.6 log(10)) reduction during the first 3 yr of operation to 2.6 log(10) reduction. The removal amounts of the bacteriophages phi X174 and S.t. 28B were 3.9 and 3.7 log(10), respectively. Based on removal of S.t. 28B, the risks of rotavirus infection and disease for the investigated scenarios were above the acceptable level of 10(-4) and 10(-3), respectively, as defined by the World Health Organization.

Abstract

City planners need practical methods to assess and compare the sustainability of different alternatives for urban infrastructure. This article presents the consequences of selecting different methods to normalize the values of sustainability indicators, and the influence of selecting different indicators and different weighting techniques. A nature based sewerage system is compared to a conventional system. The article demonstrates that the method used to normalize the indicators, the choice of relevant indicators and the weighting technique have considerable influence on which system is found to be the most sustainable. By selecting particular indicators, weighting and normalization methods, it is possible to prove that virtually any infrastructure system is more sustainable than any other alternative system. Such a biased approach is difficult to reveal unless the most careful, expert scrutiny is applied. Because of this fact, it is of paramount importance that the consequences of different evaluation methods are discussed and sensitivity analyses are carried out honestly and objectively on the critical parameters. An evaluation process made in this way will enable those parts of the analysis that generate disagreement to be identified, and decisions taken on what is important and unimportant.

Abstract

A new compact wastewater treatment system for use in single houses has been constructed in eastern Norway. The system is based on the principles of sub-surface flow constructed wetlands using various types of Filtralite as filter media. It consists of a septic tank followed by an aerobic biofilter succeeded by an upflow saturated filter. The aerobic biofilter is essential to remove organic matter and achieve nitrification, while the upflow filter polishes the wastewater and removes microorganisms and phosphorus. During the first 3 years of operation, the system has show stable and high removal with the following average values measured from the outlet of septic tank to the outlet of the upflow filter: 97.0%-BOD7, 30%-N, 99.4%-P, and 70.8%-SS. No Escherichia coli or somatic coliphages have been detected in the effluent. Due to considerable removal of organic mater, nutrients, and pathogens, the effluent will not negatively affect water and soil ecosystems. The system requires low maintenance and is designed to remove phosphorus for 5 years before renewal of the upflow filter media. When saturated with phosphorus, the media is a suitable fertilizer for plant production. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.