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Home Publications National Nursery Proceedings 2001 Trees are the Solution to Wastewater Treatment for Small Communities

Trees are the Solution to Wastewater Treatment for Small Communities

The application of municipal wastewater to land for treatment and disposal, or "land farms," was one of the earliest forms of wastewater treatment technology. There has been renewed interest in using these systems in arid regions worldwide to supplement and reuse dwindling water resources. However, arid regions present complex challenges to the use of land application systems. Many arid regions (for example, Egypt and US/Mexico border) are located in areas that lack infrastructure support and cannot afford expensive treatment technologies. A slow-rate, land application system offers a low-cost treatment for these regions that can be integrated with advanced, integrated ponds, facultative lagoons or other inexpensive primary and secondary treatment technologies. Properly designed land application units provide environmentally safe wastewater treatment by removing pathogens, nutrients, and suspended solids. Additionally, the wastewater can be reused to create value-added benefits such as wetlands; bosques; trees crops for fuelwood, pulpwood, or lumber; and restoration of desert ecosystems. Critical to the design is the selection of tree species adapted to an arid environment, balancing seasonal plant water requirements with plant uptake of nitrogen and the nitrogen and salt loading from the wastewater. These factors must be carefully considered to assure system sustainability and minimize impacts to groundwater. Cases in Ojinaga, Chihuahua, Mexico; Las Cruces, New Mexico USA; and Ismailia Egypt will be discussed.

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Author(s): John G. Mexal, Walter Zachritz, T. W. Sammis

Publication: National Nursery Proceedings - 2001

Event: Western Forest and Conservation Nursery Association Conference
2001 - Durango, CO