Field experiments are in progress for secondary wastewater upgrading for unrestricted utilization for agricultural irrigation. The integrative approach of secondary effluent polishing is based on using a hybrid UltraFiltration (UF) and Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane pilot system with a capacity of around 1 m3/hr. The UF effluent is used to feed the RO membranes. The RO permeate is subsequently applied for vegetable irrigation. Field results indicate the importance of the UF component in the removal of the organic matter and the pathogens that are still contained in the secondary effluent. Under specific conditions, when the dissolved solids content is relatively low, regarding sanitary and health aspects, the UF effluent can be applied for unrestricted irrigation. During the RO stage most nutrients are removed, allowing application of the effluent without jeopardizing the soil fertility and the aquifers. Preliminary economic assessment indicates that the extra cost for effluent polishing via the UF stage only is in the range of 5 to 15 US cents/m3. The extra cost for the RO stage is also assessed at 10 to 25 US cents/m3. The additional cost depends to a large extent on the quality of the incoming raw secondary effluent and local requirements of the command region.

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