The quantity of freshwater available worldwide is declining, revealing a pressing need for its more efficient use. Moreover, in many developing countries and lightly populated areas, raw wastewater is discarded into the environment posing serious ecological and health problems. Unfortunately, this situation will persist unless low-cost, effective and simple technologies are brought in. The aim of this study is to present such a treatment method, a novel setup which is termed recirculating vertical flow constructed wetland (RVFCW). The RVFCW is composed of two components: (i) a three-layer bed consisting of planted organic soil over an upper layer of filtering media (i.e. tuff or beads) and a lower layer of limestone pebbles, and (ii) a reservoir located beneath the bed. Wastewater flows directly into the plant root zone and trickles down through the three-layer bed into the reservoir, allowing passive aeration. From the reservoir the water is recirculated back to the bed, several times, until the desired purification is achieved. The results obtained show that the RVFCW is an effective and convenient strategy to treat (domestic, grey and agro) wastewater for re-use in irrigation. The system performance is expected to be further improved once current optimization experiments and mathematical modeling studies are concluded.

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