Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

GROWing The Next Generation Of Water Recycling Plants

Date:
December 12, 2005
Source:
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Summary:
A vegetated rooftop recycling system has been developed that allows water to be used twice before it is flushed into the communal waste water system.

The Green Roof Water Recycling System, GROW, will bring a splash of colour to the rooftops of office blocks and flats in cities across the UK. It will also help recycle water. The green membrane protects the system from rain, which itself could be collected and reused.
Credit: Image courtesy of Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

A vegetated rooftop recycling system has been developed that allows water to be used twice before it is flushed into the communal waste water system.

The Green Roof Water Recycling System (GROW) uses semi-aquatic plants to treat waste washing water, which can then be reused for activities such as flushing the toilet.

GROW is the brainchild of Chris Shirley-Smith, whose company Water Works UK is collaborating with Imperial College London and Cranfield University. The researchers are funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

So-called grey water from washbasins, baths and showers is pumped up to the GROW system, which is constructed on the roof of an office or housing block. It consists of an inclined framework of interconnected horizontal troughs. Planted in these troughs are rows of specially chosen plants that gently cleanse the grey water. Trickling through the GROW framework, the plants' roots naturally take up the dissolved pollutants, leaving 'green water'. Green water is not drinkable and will be dyed with a vegetable colour to signify this, but it can be used to flush toilets or water the garden.

More than half the water used in the home and workplace does not need to be of drinkable quality yet it comes from the same pure source as our kitchen taps. Using GROW, much of the water that enters a building can be used twice before being placed into the national wastewater management system.

"We had to carefully choose which semi-aquatic plants to use. One of the most successful is water mint, whose roots have disinfectant qualities," says Professor David Butler, who oversees the project at Imperial College. The other plant species include the yellow flag iris, marsh marigold, and the common reed. They are chosen to be resistant to the pollutants they absorb. By planting more than one species, the engineers guard against an unusually dirty batch of water exceeding a particular species' tolerance level. Should one species die off, there will still be others there to continue the job until the dead plants can be replaced.

The beauty of the system is that it is not 'high-tech' in the traditional sense. "It does not require sophisticated maintenance, just tending, like any garden," says Butler.

The next aim for GROW is to see if it can be reduced in size to sit above a household water butt, making it serviceable for individual households. The team will also investigate whether the addition of an ultraviolet light can enhance the disinfection of the water. They hope to market GROW commercially in the second half of 2006.

GROW is one project in a much larger EPSRC-funded Sustainable Water Management programme (WaND) that Professor Butler oversees at Imperial. "Our overall aim is to contribute towards sustainable water management in new developments. We hope that GROW will be one of the tools that can help us achieve that goal," says Butler.

###

Notes:

GROW won the 2004 Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM)/Black&Veatch World of Difference award. It was also exhibited on the CIWEM stand at the Chelsea Flower Show, where it gained a bronze medal. It was also a finalist in the Environment Agency's 2005 sustainability awards.

The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) is the leading professional and examining body for scientists, engineers, other environmental professionals, students and those committed to the sustainable management and development of water and the environment. Its website is: http://www.ciwem.org/

Chris Shirley-Smith, whose company Water Works UK is working to commercialise GROW can be found on the web at: http://www.wwuk.co.uk/.

The WaND programme (Water Cycle Management for New Developments) can be found on the web at: http://www.wand.uk.net



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "GROWing The Next Generation Of Water Recycling Plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051210115837.htm>.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. (2005, December 12). GROWing The Next Generation Of Water Recycling Plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051210115837.htm
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. "GROWing The Next Generation Of Water Recycling Plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051210115837.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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