Experts testing possibilities of wastewater recycling in Czechia 

Recycling water from sewage treatment plants is a common practice in many countries with a warmer climate, including Texas, Israel or the southern European states. The purified water is used in industry, agriculture and even in households. A team of experts is now testing the possibilities of water recycling in Czechia:

In countries with a drier, warmer climate, water recycling has become an essential part of water management. Three years ago, the EU adopted a regulation on minimum requirements for water reuse. However, the regulation is not legally binding and has not yet been adopted into the Czech legal system.

Given the dwindling groundwater reserves in Czechia, experts believe this should change. Scientists from Masaryk University and the company Asio Tech are now testing various water recycling technologies at a wastewater treatment plant in Modřice near Brno, explains one of the members of the team, Marek Holba:

“The aim of the Oktagon project is to have the technologies for cleaning individual micro pollutants available once the legislation is adopted. We have confirmed that we are able to treat most of them with the technologies that we have installed here.”

Illustrative photo: KRiemer,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

The wastewater is being treated in five containers, using various devices, explains Jaroslav Lev, head of the research and development department at Asio Tech:

“We have built a simple operation here using various recycling technologies to demonstrate the possibilities of wastewater recycling. The water that we use here has already undergone basic purification at the local treatment plant.”

In each of the five containers, there are different devices that purify the water using different methods. One is intended for watering playgrounds and gardens, another for household use and another for  livestock.

The technology allows to remove harmful substances from the water, including the most dangerous ones that interfere with hormonal processes in the body, says Luděk Bláha from Masaryk University’s RECETOX centre:

“These include natural hormones that humans and animals release in their urine, such as estrogen, but also various industrial chemicals, like anticorrosion additives used in dishwashers. In addition to substances that act like hormones, there are also pesticides and pharmaceuticals, especially antibiotics.”

Illustrative photo: M4rcel01966,  Pixabay,  Pixabay License

At the moment, treatment plants in Czechia do not allow for the removal of these substances from the water and release them back into the rivers. People swim in this water or use it to water their flower beds and the micropollutants can thus get into crops or plants, says Mr. Bláha:

“From a hygienic point of view I think a more significant problem may be viruses or bacteria that are commonly found in nature and we cannot control or regulate them in any way. But in recycled water, which is under control, we are able to ensure its quality is far better than that in the river.”

Authors: Ruth Fraňková , Michal Šafařík
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