Water preservation

In the last decades is being undertaken a “biotechnological solution” which is capable of removing polluting agents from water: phytodepuration is based on the self-purification capacity of acquatic ecosystems through physical, chemical and biological processes carried out by vegetal organisms and bacteria. Plants involved are macro and microphytes which are specifically selected according to some characteristics as their capacity to adapt to the environment which needs to be decontaminated and their rapid growth with formation of biomass; in any case, the species employed for phytodepuration are water plants or hygrophilous plants which grow in moist environments. In particular, according to the type of phytodepuration system which is under construction, different types of floating, submerged and emergent microphytes are used alone or in group. Water depuration takes place thanks to the combined action of macrophytes and some associated micro-organisms: algae feed on a part of the existing pollutants and favour the development of bacteria capable of transforming harmful substances by metabolizing them. The type of installation of a phytodepuration system depends on the direction of the water flow. Surface flow systems consist of tanks or channels from 40 to 60 cm deep and recreate an ecosystem similar to ponds covered by floating hygrophilous plants. In sub-surface flow systems, instead, flowing water isn’t in contact with the atmosphere and an inert stand is inserted in the tanks where the roots of macrophytes will grow. Water flows under the inert stand to favour movement in the tank, which is 70-80 cm deep and is inclined. Phytodepuration systems are a valid alternative to wastewater treatment for small rural communities and seasonal sewers as those of camping sites, hotels and holiday villages or for the treatment of industrial wastewater, percolates coming from landfills and run-off water coming from roads and motorways. Construction costs are very variable but, anyhow, are never higher than those of conventional depuration plants whereas management costs are incredibly low as energy consumption can even be non existent.

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