Wastewater treatment in agriculture

Wastewater treatment affects people’s everyday lives. The beginning of a new era is certain to bring more technological progress. The largest part of water is consumed for agriculture. Moreover, 80% of freshwater resources are used for agricultural irrigation, breeding, etc. in USA (Aaron Hrozencik, 2015). Therefore, the application of new technologies to agriculture is the most effective for sustainable development of humankind. In fact, science and technology of agriculture have been developed for many years, and some technologies have been very mature and large. The scale is in use, and some technologies are still getting their effects through experiments. But what restricts the development of these technologies is not the lack of technological development, but the promotion and large-scale application of the technologies. Today, there exist certain technologies which are already in use but have not yet been used on a large scale. Each of these technologies has advantages and disadvantages, as well as their best practical or theoretical application conditions. Furthermore, this paper analyses three different technology categories of physics, chemistry and biology, and their application conditions.

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Drone in the filed

Firstly, let’s analyse some physical technologies. The classification of ‘physics’ may cause some misunderstandings. The ‘physical’ technology mentioned in this article is a method of increasing agricultural production and reducing land and wastewater pollution through physical actions. For example, the “canal” is the “physical” technology invented by humans for agricultural irrigation. With the development of drone technology, drones that can be used to detect crop health, soil health and various agricultural data have now been developed (Princess Royal Station, 2018). This kind of drone can save a lot of people’s time to detect these data, so that it can more stable and accurately find and record agricultural data and feed it back to the farmer, so that the farmer can make earlier judgements, thereby improving agriculture. The output of this product also reduces the waste caused by untimely data. There is also a vertical farm system that can be used. The vertical farm system can effectively reduce the area of ​​land used, and the water consumption can be reduced by 70% compared with traditional farms (Linly Ku, 2020). This technology can be used for construction around cities, which can also shorten the distance in the supply chain To reduce food loss during transportation. It can also reduce the waste of water resources caused by inaccurate judgment of the water level during irrigation.

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The structure of nanotubes

Because most of the chemical fertilizers are chemical, it is also a good understanding of how the chemical level can help increase agricultural output, and how new technologies can help sort out wastewater pollution. The discovery of carbon-based nanomaterials fills the gap in chemical treatment of agricultural wastewater to increase production because carbon nanotubes can more effectively produce strong adsorption capacity for various fertilizers in the soil. Moreover, it has a high chemical affinity for aromatic compounds (Zaytseva & Neumann, 2016), so the carbon nanotubes produced from this carbon-based nanomaterial can effectively deal with the pollution of both the soil and the groundwater belt caused by excessive use of chemical fertilizers. Moreover, carbon-based materials have very good stability and will not cause more pollution to the soil. Therefore, this material can be very well used for agricultural production.

Biological wastewater treatment methods have actually begun simple applications in some places. They use microorganisms to treat sugar industry wastewater or wine industry wastewater (Fito, Jemal; Tefera, Nurelegne; Van Hulle, Stijn W. H, 2019), which can not only make pulmonary edema, a large amount of organic nutrients can pass Enough to become the nutrient needed in irrigation, and also save the amount of water used in irrigation. Because in the process of sugarcane sugar production, more than one cubic meter of water is used for each ton of sugarcane processed, so the large amount of waste water produced is most suitable for irrigated agriculture. Such a treatment method can not only reduce the pollutants and toxic substances in the wastewater produced by the sugar industry and the wine industry, but also reduce the amount of water required for the overall local agriculture.

图2
Water use and effluent discharging from sugar factory

In fact, all methods considered have their own advantages and disadvantages. The use of physical methods is the most economical and most capable of large-scale use. But this method has its own drawbacks, such as the demand for high energy consumption. Save the use of water resources, but consume a lot of energy in the use of these methods. So in the future development, we should deal with these methods more to save more energy. Chemical technology is to better deal with the pollution of water resources in agricultural irrigation, and to make the water resources treated by chemical technology have the opportunity to be reused. However, the application of chemical technology requires a lot of money, and most areas of the world do not have a good economic level. Therefore, the application of chemical technology in these areas will only bring a greater burden to their economy. Therefore, in the development of chemical technology, how to reduce costs and adapt measures to local conditions is the top priority. Biological methods seem to be the best, able to integrate surrounding resources, reduce wastewater discharge, and reduce the amount of agricultural water. However, it is subject to large regional restrictions. Only those areas that produce sugar or use grain to make wine can be used well. Therefore, the development of biotechnology needs to look at more fields, so that this method can be used in more areas.

Reference

Fito, J., Tefera, N., & Van Hulle, S. (2019). Sugarcane biorefineries wastewater: bioremediation technologies for environmental sustainability. Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture, 6(1), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40538-019-0144-5

Linly Ku, 2020, New Agriculture Technology in Modern Farming https://www.plugandplaytechcenter.com/resources/new-agriculture-technology-modern-farming/

Princess Royal Station, 6 Emerging Technologies in Agriculture,  https://www.princessroyal.com.au/blog/6-emerging-technologies-in-agriculture#:~:text=Since%20their%20commercial%20introduction%2C%20drone,and%20weed%20data%20in%20crops.

Aaron Hrozencik. (2015). “USDA Economic Research Service – Irrigation & Water Use”http://www.ers.usda.govArchived from the original on 2015-11-15. Retrieved 2015-11-17.

Zaytseva, O., & Neumann, G. (2016). Carbon nanomaterials: production, impact on plant development, agricultural and environmental applications. Chemical and Biological Technologies in Agriculture, 3(1), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40538-016-0070-8

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