D.11 Irrigation

To reduce the dependence on freshwater and maintain a constant source of water for irrigation throughout the year, wastewater of varying quality can be used in agriculture and horticulture. However, only water that has had secondary treatment (i.e. physical and biological treatment) should be used to limit the risk of crop contamination and the health risks to workers.Follows primary treatment to achieve the removal of biodegradable organic matter and suspended solids from effluent. Nutrient removal (e.g., phosphorus) and disinfection can be included in the definition of secondary treatment or tertiary treatment, depending on the configuration.
Follows secondary treatment to achieve enhanced removal of pollutants from effluent. Nutrient removal (e.g., phosphorus) and disinfection can be included in the definition of secondary treatment or tertiary treatment, depending on the configuration. See POST
Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.

There are two kinds of Irrigation technologies appropriate for treated wastewater: (1) drip irrigation above or below ground, where the water is slowly dripped on or near the root area; and (2) surface water irrigation where water is routed over-land in a series of dug channels or furrows. To minimise evaporation and contact with pathogens, spray or sprinkler irrigation should be avoided. Adequately treated wastewater can significantly reduce dependence on fresh water, and/or improve crop yields by supplying water and nutrients to plants. Raw sewage or untreated blackwater should not be used, and even well treated Water should be used with caution. Long-term use of poorly or improperly treated water may cause long-term damage to the soil structure and its ability to hold water.

Mixture of urine, faeces and flushwater along with anal cleansing water (if water is used for cleansing) and/or dry cleansing materials. Blackwater contains the pathogens, nutrients and organic matter of faeces and the nutrients of urine that are diluted in the flushwater.Refers to (semi-solid) excrement that is not mixed with urine or water. Depending on diet, each person produces approximately 50–150 L per year of faecal matter of which about 80 % is water and the remaining solid fraction is mostly composed of organic material. Of the total essential plant nutrients excreted by the human body, faeces contain around 39 % of the phosphorus (P), 26 % of the potassium (K) and 12 % of the nitrogen (N). Faeces also contain the vast majority of the pathogens excreted by the body, as well as energy and carbon rich, fibrous material.The liquid produced by the body to rid itself of nitrogen in the form of urea and other waste products. In this context, the urine product refers to pure urine that is not mixed with faeces or water. Depending on diet, human urine collected from one person during one year (approx. 300 to 550 L) contains 2 to 4 kg of nitrogen. The urine of healthy individuals is sterile when it leaves the body but is often immediately contaminated by coming into contact with faeces.The phase change from liquid to gas that takes place below the boiling temperature and normally occurs on the surface of
a liquid.
Any substance that is used for growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the main nutrients contained in agricultural fertilisers. N and P are also primarily responsible for the eutrophication of water bodies.
An organism or other agent that causes disease.Waste matter that is transported through the sewer.
An open channel or closed pipe used to convey sewage. See C.3 and C.4
A natural or man-made water body that appears on the surface, such as a stream, river, lake, pond, or reservoir.
The organic molecule (NH2)2CO that is excreted in urine and that contains the nutrient nitrogen. Over time, urea breaks down into carbon dioxide and ammonium, which is readily used by organisms in soil. It can also be used for on-site faecal sludge treatment. See. S.18Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.
Waste matter that is transported through the sewer.

Design Considerations

The application rate must be appropriate for soil, crop and climate, or it could hinder growth. To increase the nutrient value, urine can be dosed into irrigation water; this is called “fertigation” (fertilization plus irrigation). The dilution ratio has to be adapted to the specific needs and resistance of the crop. In drip irrigation systems care should be taken to ensure that there is sufficient head (i.e. pressure) and maintenance to reduce the potential for clogging (especially, with urine from which struvite will spontaneously precipitate).

The liquid produced by the body to rid itself of nitrogen in the form of urea and other waste products. In this context, the urine product refers to pure urine that is not mixed with faeces or water. Depending on diet, human urine collected from one person during one year (approx. 300 to 550 L) contains 2 to 4 kg of nitrogen. The urine of healthy individuals is sterile when it leaves the body but is often immediately contaminated by coming into contact with faeces.Any substance that is used for growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the main nutrients contained in agricultural fertilisers. N and P are also primarily responsible for the eutrophication of water bodies.
The organic molecule (NH2)2CO that is excreted in urine and that contains the nutrient nitrogen. Over time, urea breaks down into carbon dioxide and ammonium, which is readily used by organisms in soil. It can also be used for on-site faecal sludge treatment. See. S.18

Materials

A filtration unit to reduce the risk of clogging is highly recommended before the irrigation water is used in a drip irrigation system. A drip irrigation system can be constructed using locally available materials such as a storage tank, and a hose or drip tape. Ready-made kits are also widely available.

A mechanical separation process using a porous medium (e.g., cloth, paper, sand bed, or mixed media bed) that captures particulate material and permits the liquid or gaseous fraction to pass through. The size of the pores of the medium determines what is captured and what passes through.

Applicability

Irrigation with treated wastewater can be considered an option in the stabilisation and recovery phases of emergencies. Increasingly, food production and ‘camp greening’ programmes are being implemented. Reusing treated greywater for irrigation can reduce dependency on other freshwater supplies.

Total volume of water generated from washing food, clothes and dishware, as well as from bathing, but not from toilets (see blackwater). It may also contain traces of excreta (e.g. from washing diapers) and, therefore, some pathogens. Greywater accounts for approximately 65 % of the wastewater produced in households with flush toilets.An organism or other agent that causes disease.The degradation of organic matter with the goal of reducing readily biodegradable compounds to lessen environmental impacts (e.g., oxygen depletion, nutrient leaching).
User interface used for urination and defecation. Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.

Operation and Maintenance

Drip irrigation systems must be periodically flushed to avoid biofilm growth and clogging from all types of solids. Pipes should be checked for leaks, as they are prone to damage from rodents and humans. Large-scale operations will require a trained operator. Workers should wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

Health and Safety

Adequate treatment (i.e. adequate pathogen reduction) should precede any irrigation scheme to limit health risks to those who come into contact with the water. Even treated effluent can still be contaminated depending on the degree of treatment the effluent has undergone. When effluent is used for irrigation, households and industries connected to the system should be made aware of the products that are and are not appropriate to discharge into the system. Drip irrigation is the only type of irrigation that should be used with edible crops, and even then, care should be taken to prevent workers and harvested crops from coming into contact with the treated effluent. The World Health Organization Guidelines for the Safe Use of Wastewater, Excreta and Greywater should be consulted for detailed information and specific guidance.

General term for a liquid that leaves a technology, typically after blackwater or sludge has undergone solids separation or some other type of treatment. Effluent originates at either a collection and storage or a (semi-) centralised treatment technology. Depending on the type of treatment, the effluent may be completely sanitised or may require further treatment before it can be used or disposed of.Mixture of solids and liquids, containing mostly excreta and water, in combination with sand, grit, metals, trash and/or various chemical compounds. A distinction can be made between faecal sludge and wastewater sludge. Faecal sludge comes from on-site sanitation technologies, i.e. it has not been transported through a sewer. It can be raw or partially digested, a slurry or semisolid, and results from the collection and storage/treatment of excreta or blackwater, with or without greywater. Wastewater sludge (also referred to as sewage sludge) originates from sewer-based wastewater collection and (semi-)centralised treatment processes. The sludge composition will determine the type of treatment that is required and the end-use possibilities.Describes technologies for on-site collection, storage, and sometimes (pre-) treatment of the products generated at the user interface. The treatment provided by these technologies is often a function of storage and is usually passive (i.e. requires no energy input), except a few emerging technologies where additives are needed. Thus, products that are ‘treated’ by these technologies often require subsequent treatment before use and/or disposal. In the technology overview graphic, this functional group is subdivided into the two subgroups: “Collection/Storage” and “(Pre-)Treatment”. This allows a further classification for each of the listed technologies with regard to their function: collection and storage, (pre-) treatment only or both.Refers to the methods through which products are returned to the environment, either as useful resources or reduced-risk materials. Some products can also be cycled back into a system (e.g. by using treated greywater for flushing).A functional group is a grouping of technologies that have similar functions. The compendium proposes five different functional groups from which technologies can be chosen to build a sanitation system:
User interface (U), Collection and Storage/Treatment (S), Conveyance (C), (Semi-) Centralised Treatment (T), Use and/or Disposal (U).
A sanitation system is a multi-step process in which sanitation products such as human excreta and wastewater are managed from the point of generation to the point of use or ultimate disposal. It is a context-specific series of technologies and services for the management of these sanitation products, i.e. for their collection, containment, transport, treatment, transformation, use or disposal. A sanitation system comprises functional groups of technologies that can be selected according to context. By selecting technologies from each applicable functional group, considering the incoming and outgoing products, and the suitability of the technologies in a particular context, a logical, modular sanitation system can be designed. A sanitation system also includes the management and operation and maintenance (O & M) required to ensure that the system functions safely and sustainably. The utilisation of products derived from a sanitation system.
A sanitation system in which excreta and wastewater are collected and stored or treated on the plot where they are generated.
An organism or other agent that causes disease.The means of safely collecting and hygienically disposing of excreta and liquid
wastes for the protection of public health and the preservation of the quality of public water bodies and, more generally, of the environment.

Waste matter that is transported through the sewer.
An open channel or closed pipe used to convey sewage. See C.3 and C.4
Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.
Le terme général employé pour un liquide sortant d’une infrastructure, habituellement après que les eaux noires ou les boues ont subi une séparation de la fraction solide ou un autre type de traitement. L’effluent provient soit d’un processus de collecte et de stockage, soit d’une technologie de traitement. En fonction du type de traitement, l’effluent peut être complètement assaini ou nécessiter un autre traitement avant d’être utilisé ou rejeté.Composés d’urine et de fèces non-mélangées à de l’eau de chasse. Leur volume est peu important, mais ils sont concentrés en nutriments et en agents pathogènes. Selon la qualité des fèces, leur consistance peut être molle ou liquide.Waste matter that is transported through the sewer.

Costs

Transport costs of the treated water to the fields must be considered. Overall costs are highly dependent on the system applied. Irrigation with treated wastewater can generate revenue by increasing agricultural yields and save money if it replaces the need for other fertilisers and water. Commercial scale irrigation systems for industrial production are expensive, requiring pumps and an operator. Small-scale drip irrigation systems can be constructed out of locally available low-tech materials, and are inexpensive.

Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.
Le transport des produits d’un groupe fonctionnel à un autre. La distance la plus longue et les défaillances les plus importantes se situent en général entre l’interface utilisateur ou la collecte et le stockage/traitement, et le traitement (semi-)centralisé. C’est pourquoi, pour simplifier, le transport ne décrit que les technologies utilisées pour transporter les produits entre ces groupes fonctionnels. Dans le graphique de présentation des technologies, le groupe fonctionnel « transport » est subdivisé en trois sous-groupes: « vidange/raccordement », « transport » et « stockage intermédiaire ». Ceci permet d’affiner la classification de chacune des technologies qui y sont listées en fonction de leur rôle dans le processus de transport.

Social Considerations

The greatest barrier to the use of treated wastewater for Irrigation is social acceptance and the legal framework. It may not be acceptable to use irrigation water coming from a water-based sanitation system for edible crops. However, it may still be an option for biomass production, fodder crops and municipal projects such as irrigation of parks, street trees, etc. Depending on the source of the wastewater and on the treatment method, it can be treated to a level where it no longer generates significant odour or vector problems. Following appropriate safety and application regulations is important.

Refers to plants or animals grown using the water and/or nutrients flowing through a sanitation system. The term biomass may include fish, insects, vegetables, fruit, forage or other beneficial crops that can be utilised for food, feed, fibre and fuel production.A sanitation system is a multi-step process in which sanitation products such as human excreta and wastewater are managed from the point of generation to the point of use or ultimate disposal. It is a context-specific series of technologies and services for the management of these sanitation products, i.e. for their collection, containment, transport, treatment, transformation, use or disposal. A sanitation system comprises functional groups of technologies that can be selected according to context. By selecting technologies from each applicable functional group, considering the incoming and outgoing products, and the suitability of the technologies in a particular context, a logical, modular sanitation system can be designed. A sanitation system also includes the management and operation and maintenance (O & M) required to ensure that the system functions safely and sustainably. Any substance that is used for growth. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) are the main nutrients contained in agricultural fertilisers. N and P are also primarily responsible for the eutrophication of water bodies.
The means of safely collecting and hygienically disposing of excreta and liquid
wastes for the protection of public health and the preservation of the quality of public water bodies and, more generally, of the environment.

An organism (most commonly an insect) that transmits a disease to a host. For example, flies are vectors as they can carry and transmit pathogens from faeces to humans.
Used water from any combination of domestic, industrial, commercial or agricultural activities, surface runoff/stormwater, and any sewer inflow/infiltration.

Fact Sheet Overview

Inputs

Effluent
Stored Urine
Stormwater

Outputs

Biomass

Response Phase

Stabilisation + +
Recovery + +

Challenging Ground Conditions

Suitable

Application Level

Household + +
Neighbourhood + +
City + +

Water-based or Dry Technology

Water-Based

Management Level

Household + +
Shared + +
Public + +

Technical Complexity

Medium

Functional Group

Use and / or Disposal

Required Space

High

Objectives & Key Features

• Productive use of water and nutrients

Strength & Weakness

  • Reduces depletion of groundwater
  • Reduces the need for fertiliser
  • Potential for local job creation and income generation
  • Low risk of pathogen transmission if water is properly treated
  • May require expert design and installation
  • Drip irrigation sensitive to clogging
  • Risk of soil salinisation if the soil is prone to the accumulation of salts
  • Social acceptance may be low in some areas
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