ADELAIDE, Australia — March 10, 2016 — A university-designed wastewater treatment system has been accepted as an alternative to existing passive lagoon systems in South Australia.

Flinders University’s Professor Howard Fallowfield said that the new system is smaller, faster and more effective at cleaning wastewater and creates the potential to reclaim more water for irrigation in rural communities.

The Flinders research team installed a high-rate algal pond which was trialled alongside a conventional system at Loxton-Waikerie District Council’s Kingston-on-Murray site. An independent review by the Australia Water Quality Centre validated the method, and found that its ability to remove pathogens was equal to, or better than, the existing system.

“But whereas the current system takes 66 days to do the treatment, we can to it in between five and 10 days,” Professor Fallowfield said.

The high-rate algal pond system also requires much less space.

“Our final report demonstrated that our system occupied about 40 percent of the area previously required, with the smaller footprint opening up the technology to other rural communities that previously had insufficient land area,” Professor Fallowfield explained.

“These sustainable, low-energy systems are cost effective to run, and the capital cost of construction is also about 40 percent of the previous system for effluent-only schemes, and marginally higher for blackwater schemes.”

Approval in South Australia moves the high-rate algal pond system from the research sphere into the real world for the first time, according to Flinders University.

“With the configuration pre-approved, a consulting engineer can apply the technology off-the-shelf,” Professor Fallowfield added.