Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

"Buried Dams" Help Clean Recycled Water

Date:
March 7, 2002
Source:
CSIRO Australia
Summary:
Disease-causing microbes can effectively be eliminated from recycled water by storing it underground, new research by CSIRO scientists has found. Promising research findings into natural ways to cleanse polluted water have brought Australia a step closer to a revolution in water reclamation – the “underground dam”.

Disease-causing microbes can effectively be eliminated from recycled water by storing it underground, new research by CSIRO scientists has found.Promising research findings into natural ways to cleanse polluted water have brought Australia a step closer to a revolution in water reclamation – the “underground dam”.

Related Articles


Researchers at CSIRO Land and Water have for several years been investigating the feasibility of diverting urban stormwater and treated effluent into underground aquifers, where it can be recycled for use on parks, gardens, ovals and farms.

The idea is to harvest surplus water during the wet part of the year, store it underground for some months, then bring it to the surface again for irrigation during the dry season.

Researchers consider these underground dams offer a uniquely Australian solution to the problems of water storage, water conservation and recycling. The water will be injected into appropriate aquifers, where it is protected from evaporation or pollution – and does not submerge valuable land or habitat, as does a surface dam.

Now, microbiologist Dr Simon Toze has produced the clear evidence that storing water underground also purges it of disease-causing organisms, making it clean enough to recycle as irrigation.

“We’ve been studying the behaviour and fate of various microbes in groundwater taken from different parts of the country,” he explains.

“We’ve looked at enteric (gut) viruses, the protozoan Cryptosporidium, and disease-causing bacteria like Salmonella and Aeromonas.

“If we are to store large volumes of water underground for recycling, we need to know exactly what happens with these bugs, and whether they can survive in reclaimed water.”

Once underground, the disease-causing organisms face a hostile array conditions such as temperature changes, lack of oxygen, lack of nutrients and a whole army of naturally occurring groundwater microorganisms that kill or inactivate them.

In experiments undertaken in aquifers and under controlled conditions in the laboratory simulating conditions of an underground aquifer, results have shown that the disease-causing microbes can last less than one month, he has found.

“This makes underground storage one of the most promising ways to cleanse and recycle water.

“Australia is naturally a dry continent, and in many areas our groundwater resources are being heavily exploited. This appears to offer a safe, clean way to recharge them.

“We also need to think about our environment, and the importance to natural streams and wetlands of maintaining adequate subsurface water supplies.”

Dr Toze has tested the antiviral activity of indigenous microbes in groundwater taken from South Australia, the Northern Territory, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

In every case the large numbers of virus added to the water disappeared in less than six weeks.

“Since water injected into an aquifer is likely to remain underground for several months before being re-used for irrigation, it looks as if there will be a comfortable safety margin.”

Dr Toze says that, for many of Australia’s more arid towns and cities, reclaiming water will soon be an essential practice.

“At present people still describe this as “waste water” – but that is a bad term, and it shows how limited our thinking still is towards water. Instead, Australians need to focus on the productive uses of reclaimed water.

“This sort of water is not intended for drinking, but for the irrigation of parks, gardens, farms, ovals and street verges.

“I believe that in pioneering this sort of water re-use, Australia is showing the world a lead in a field that will be increasingly vital to the human and environmental future,” Dr Toze says.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by CSIRO Australia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

CSIRO Australia. ""Buried Dams" Help Clean Recycled Water." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020307074711.htm>.
CSIRO Australia. (2002, March 7). "Buried Dams" Help Clean Recycled Water. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020307074711.htm
CSIRO Australia. ""Buried Dams" Help Clean Recycled Water." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/03/020307074711.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins