Pathogen removal

Water – an essential resource

Constructed wetlands remove germs from waste water

Water is the source of all life. We need it to drink, to prepare food, for washing and cleaning, but also for industrial and food production. Water is, in short, irreplaceable. Yet clean water is becoming an increasingly rare resource in many parts of the world.

The largest consumer of water is agriculture. Around 70 % of the water used by humans – in some developing countries as high as 90 % - is used for irrigation, with fatal consequences in some cases. Faced with a lack of alternatives, farmers often use waste water for irrigation, which leads to health risks, in particular diarrhoea.

In the course of laboratory research and tests under practical conditions carried out over several years in collaboration with partners from science and industry, UFZ scientists have succeeded in demonstrating that waste water can be made hygienic for irrigation purposes using simple technology.  This means that it is possible to reap the benefits of waste water recycling whilst meeting hygiene requirements.

After a general introduction, the following sequences provide (with text, but no sound) about various aspects of constructed wetlands: What effect do wetland hydraulics have on removal efficiencies? What is the difference between horizontal and vertical flow filters? What type of plant is suitable for treating waste water and what fundamental soil processes do constructed wetlands use to purify waste water?

CAST creativ-fernseh GmbH & Co. KG, Dresden
Produced: 2005

Conceptual design and editorial work:
Dr. Oliver Bederski | Umwelt- und Biotechnologisches Zentrum, UFZ
Dr. Peter Kuschk | Department Bioremediation, UFZ
Doris Böhme und Andreas Staak | Public Relations, UFZ

   Flashvideo "pathogen removal"
    Source: Helmholtz – Centre for environmental research (UFZ)