A group of researchers from the University of Granada have come up with a wastewater treatment system that has three advantages: it is possible to obtain cheaper water of a higher quality, it considerably reduces the size of treatment plants (by more than half) and it minimizes the resulting mud production.
José Manuel Poyatos Capilla, researcher from the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Granada, is the responsible for this work, which has been directed by professor Ernesto Hontoria García, director of the Superior Technical Engineering School of Roads, Channels and Ports of the UGR.
Poyatos has used a new technology based on membrane bioreactor systems which makes it possible to shorten the water clarification process (by which active mud is separated), eliminating the stage known as “secondary decanting.” The structure of every plant currently has four stages: pre-treatment, primary decanting, biological reactor and secondary decanting. A tertiary treatment can also be added whenever water is used for irrigating.
Research carried out at the UGR could reduce the size of the biological reactor between 40 and 60%, and would completely eliminate secondary decanting. Instead, scientists from Granada have included a “biological processes” section in their wastewater treatment plant, which could make it possible to separate water from active mud by a membrane filtration process.
The system makes it possible to treat a larger flow of water in a smaller purifier, making Installation much cheaper than installation of plants with tertiary treatment, and it also makes it possible to use the water immediately after it has been biologically treated.