Novel Vertical Ecosystem for Sustainable Water Treatment and Reuse in Tourist Resorts

Novel Vertical Ecosystem for Sustainable Water Treatment and Reuse in Tourist Resorts

H. Gattringer A. Claret  M. Radtke  J. Kisser  A. Zraunig  I. Rodriguez-Roda  G. Buttiglieri 

Alchemia-nova GmbH, institute for innovative phytochemistry & closed loop processes, Vienna, Austria

LEITAT Technological Center, R&D Safety & Sustainability Division, Terrassa, Spain

Radtke Biotechnik, Veitshöchheim, Germany

ICRA, Catalan Institute for Water Research, Girona, Spain

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A greywater treatment and reuse technology based on a living ecosystem, which is integrated into a hotel is presented. Benefits include considerable water savings, optical enhancement of the premises, clear green image, improved local microclimate, and reduced ecological footprint. The Vertical Ecosystem (VertECO) consists of an indoor constructed wetland, combining sub-surface horizontal water flow with stage-wise vertical flow. Plants function in symbiosis with rhizosphere microorganisms providing remarkable water cleaning abilities. The unit can be located either indoors or outdoors and is designed to be placed on walls (interior/exterior). Pollution abatement in the range of 90% or higher is achieved, with the effluent being clear, odorless water. The effluent meets regulatory quality standards for several reuses, including garden irrigation, golf course irrigation, toilet flushing, and others. Water savings of 40%–50% can be achieved. Operation costs are much lower than the costs of fresh tap water. Data showing the cleaning performance of the unit is presented, as well as environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data, which points toward a favorable ecological footprint when compared to current common water management practice in touristic resorts and municipalities.


constructed wetlands, decentralized water treatment, ecosystem services, greywater reuse, water pollution abatement, water preservation


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