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Project Highlights

  • Sunflowers as big as your head
  • Zinnias that bloom and bloom and bloom
  • Cosmos the size of a small city
  • Contaminants Addressed

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus

The short-term goal of this project is simple: to identify plant species that grow well in treated wastewater, and to inspire a different line of thinking when it comes to what we do with our waste. Longer-term, this project will delve into some of the concerns around re-use of wastewater for growing food crops: Pathogens and Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CEC’s).

Worldwide, treated wastewater and biosolids are increasingly used for irrigation and fertilization, particularly in arid regions. As easily-accessible clean water dwindles, reuse will become a significantly more common practice.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) System

The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is probably the system people visualize when thinking about hydroponics.

THE NFT System

The basic principle behind the NFT technique is to continually recirculate nutrient solution through a series of tubes (often 4-inch PVC pipe) into which the roots of the plants are suspended.

Ebb and Flow System

This system is a modified ebb-and-flow type with tomato plants being grown in containers filled with inert media that are few doses of treated wastewater 4 times per day.

Hybrid Dutch Bucket/Deep Water Culture System

This system combines two hydroponics concepts: deep water culture and “dutch buckets”. Deep water culture is really just that: using a deep vessel to hold an aerated nutrient solution into which the plant roots are suspended from above. Dutch Buckets typically use some sort of non-reactive media to support the plant which nutrient solution is constantly trickled through from the top.

Our system combines the deep aerated vessel and maintains a constant flow of treated wastewater.