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(eBook) - Survival - WATER PURIFICATION-Practical Applicatio

(eBook) - Survival - WATER PURIFICATION-Practical Applicatio

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Published by: MellyBelly52 on Sep 15, 2009
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The Development and Practical Application of Slow Sand Filtration and other o-
Filtrationechniques in Closed Hydroponic SystemsANew and Practical Way for Removing Plant Pathogens from Irrigation WaterDr. Walter WohankaState Research Institute, Von-Lade-Str. 1, D-65366 Geisenheim, Germany( +49-6722-502412, fax +49-6722-502410, e-mail:Wohanka@geisenheim.fa.fh-wiesbaden.deIrrigation water sources and recycled irrigation water from so-called closedirrigation systems pose a certain risk of spreading root infecting plantpathogens. Suitable equipment, good sanitation, antagonism ordisease-suppression may reduce the risk to a certain degree. However, there willremain a risk requiring some kind of water treatment. Slow Sand Filtration andsimilar bio-filtration techniques are now available to prevent dissemination ofplant pathogens with irrigation water.HistoryThe first report on Slow Sand Filtration is from 1804. Mr. John Gibb fromScotland developed a purification technique to obtain clean water for hisbleachery. Later, this technique was used for water purification as a crucialweapon against water-borne diseases of man like cholera, dysentery and typhus.In the 20th century slow sand filtration has been replaced or at leastsupplemented by other water treatment techniques like chlorination,UV-irradiation, etc..The idea of using slow sand filtration against water-borne phytopathogens wasintroduced in the late eighties to the State Research Station at Geisenheim.Since that time, slow sand filtration and similar techniques are used world-widein closed cultivation systems.Principles of Slow FiltrationThe principle of a slow sand filter is very simple. Raw water percolates veryslowly through a bed of fine filter sand (see figure 1). The flow rate should bein the range of 10 to 30 cm per hour (2.5 to 7.5 inches/hr) - that means afilter capacity of 100 to 300 L per m2 (25 75 gal/sq. yd.) filter surface and
hour. Soon after the filter process begins, a filter skin forms on the surfaceof the filter bed. It consists of organic and inorganic material and a widevariety of active microorganisms. Depending on the raw water quality, cleaningof the filter bed will be necessary after a few weeks or months to preventclogging. This is done by scraping off only the top inch. Therefore, the initialthickness of the filter bed should be 80 120 cm (32 48 inches).
mechanisms of water purification are not fully understood. However, it seemsvery clear that it is not only a mechanical straining effect. There arephysico-chemical and biological mechanisms involved. However, the contributionof the biological component to the efficacy of slow sand filter is not quiteclear. Recent investigations revealed a very high microbial activity, inparticular in the top layers of the filter bed. Electron microscopic examinationphotos of sand grain surfaces have shown micro-colonization and the developmentof biofilms.Construction of Slow- or Bio-filtersThe capacity of a slow sand filter depends mainly on the filter surface. Therecommendations are in the range of 100 to 300 L per m2 and hour m2 (25 75
gal/sq. yd. per hour). By varying the filter surface, bio-filters are adaptableto any size of cultivation area or cultivation systems.In European greenhouses mostly standard water tanks are used as filtercontainers [e.g. 15 m2 (18 sq. yd.) surface and as such a capacity of 1.5 to 4.5m3/h (400 1200 gal / hr)]. Often on small farms plastic tanks may be found
with a surface of only 1 m2 (1.2 sq. yd.) and a capacity of 100 to 300 L/m2h (2575 gal/sq. yd. per hr). However, very large filters are also possible. So, for
example, outdoor versions with 70 m2 (84 sq. yd.) surface and a capacity of 7 to21 m3 per hour (1860 to 5600 gal /hr).
Figure 2: Functional scheme of a slow (sand) filterThe construction of the inlet structure should prevent damaging of the filterskin on the filter surface by the raw water. Therefore, the raw water shouldfirst flow into a box or a wide pipe and then very gently on the sand surface.As an alternative the raw water may be sprinkled onto the supernatant surface(see fig. 1).The flow rate is controlled by special outlet structures. In the simplest waywith a gravity driven filter only a valve at the outlet is necessary to reducethe flow rate. The outlet opening should be on a higher level than the filtersurface to prevent total drainage and thus drying up of the filter bed. Inhorticultural practice often another outlet structure is recommended. A widepipe [20 to 40 cm (8 16 inches) in diameter] reaching through the filter bed
into the drainage layer (see fig. 1) is most suitable. In this pipe, a plungerpump is installed. The capacity of this pump should not be higher than themaximum filtration rate of the slow sand filter. Otherwise, a regulation valveis necessary. The flow rate is controlled by the outlet structure (valve and/orpump). To monitor the flow rate, a flow meter is absolutely necessary.The standard filter medium is "local" sand which have to fulfill certainrequirements (see table 1). The minimum thickness of the filter bed should be 50to 60 cm (20 24 inches), initially 80 120 cm (32 48 inches) are
recommended. The filter sand is supported by three layers of graded gravel andsome kind of underdrainage (see figure 1). However, the handling of sand causessome practical problems under typically horticultural conditions. A series ofexperiments was conducted to test the suitability of alternative filter mediasuch as pumice or rock wool. Comparison of the filter materials revealed thatrockwool (Grodan type 012517 or 012519) produced the highest efficiency ratescompared to sand and pumice. The slight differences in efficiency between sandand rock wool alone would not justify the higher price for rock wool. However,this filter material also has some other advantages. Rockwool is commerciallyavailable as a standardized material. As a low weight material it is easier tohandle and no drainage layers are necessary. Furthermore, according to our ownpractical experience there are fewer problems with clogging. Table1: quality of filter sandeffective grain size0.15 - 0.30 mm (100 50 mesh)
uniformity coefficient (UC)< 3, max. 5silt content< 1 %acid solubility< 5 % after 30 mineffective grain size (d10): sieve opening through which 10 % (by weight)of the grains will passuniformity coefficient (UC): ratio between the sieve opening through which60 % (by weight) of the grains will pass and the effective grain size; UC= d60/d10 EffectivenessFor evaluation of the effectiveness experimental results and long termexperience from the drinking water industry can not be simply transferred tohorticulture. The main phytopathogens are different from human pathogens anddrainage water from a crop is definitely different from drinking water.Furthermore, the running conditions for a slow sand filter in horticulture arequite different from those of a community water supplier. For these reasonsspecific experimental work has been necessary to evaluate the effectiveness ofslow sand filtration against phytopathogens under specific horticulturalconditions.A series of trials revealed a complete elimination of so-called pythiaceousfungi like Phytophthora or Pythium. The efficiency rates against bacteria andfungi with small spores have been also very high but some propagules of such

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