Irish – Welsh waste water treatment through integrated wetlands launched

A joint Irish-Welsh initiative on integrated constructed wetlands as a potential waste-water solution for agriculture, agribusiness, rural communities and the environment has been launched at the International Wetlands Day seminar in Dunhill, County Waterford.

The integrated constructed wetlands (ICW) concept is a specific approach to the construction of wetlands, led by the Irish Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, and the Centre for Research into Environment and Health at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

ICWs are distinct from other constructed wetland approaches as they are designed to facilitate the widest possible range of ecological conditions as are found in natural wetlands, including those of soil, water, plant and animal ecology. The approach strives to achieve ‘landscape fit’ and ‘biodiversity’ into the design.

The constructed wetlands require relatively low capital inputs compared to conventional pollution treatment technologies and have the potential to provide improved water quality, environmental improvements, biodiversity enrichment and sustainable economic development in a cost effective manner.

Waste water from farming activities, food processing activities and small settlements are an area of growing concern as the EU Water Framework Directive comes in to force.

The ICW project is supported by the European regional development fund under the Ireland/Wales INTERREG Community Initiative Programme.

By David Hopkins

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