Plenary Lecture

Waste to Resource: Recovery of Nutrients and Energy from Wastewater and Sludge in Decentralized Treatment Systems

Associate Professor Amit Gross
Head, Dept. of Environmental Hydrology & Microbiology
Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research
Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research
Sede Boqer Campus, 84990 Israel

Abstract: Water scarcity has been the driving force for Israel’s search for ‘new water resources”. The use of marginal water has grown significantly in the past 20 years (e.g. >80% reuse of wastewater nationally). The main sources of marginal water in the Negev desert (Israel) are: Geothermal brackish water, recycled wastewater and graywater. Current use of these waters includes: Irrigation of a variety of agricultural crops, brackish-water aquaculture, landscape irrigation, recreation parks and tourism. Although seems promising resource there are few mid/long term negative effects to the use of marginal waters. These include: Negative environmental effects (i.e. on soils and plants), possible contamination of groundwater, and health risks. In addition, being sparsely populated area with many small remote villages and farms, reuse treatments should be decentralized and low cost. Continuous research efforts are currently conducted to utilize marginal waters and sludge efficiently in a way that will maximize the outcome of its use with minimal negative environmental effects. An overview of several such studies with respect to efficient water/waste use in the Israeli desert will be presented.

Brief Biography of the Speaker: Amit Gross completed his undergraduate studies in the Faculty of Agriculture of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel in 1993. He earned his MSc. (1996) and PhD (1999) from Auburn University, USA studying nutrient cycles in earthen ponds. During his postdoctoral training in Australia and Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, he studied various environmental issues related to water treatment and reuse and was recruited in 2003, as a faculty member.
He is currently an associate professor and the head of the Department of Environmental Hydrology and Microbiology, Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel.
Gross' research areas include: treatment and efficient use of marginal water, remediation techniques, and the environmental risks associated with contaminated water resources and sludge (i.e. agricultural effluents, wastewater and contaminated groundwater).

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