treatment in the Spanish Mediterranean basin
is still deficient. The Segura watershed is
the most serious example of this situation,
especially the Segura, Guadalentín
and Mula rivers.
of the problem, which is common to most of
Spain, is the lack of urban wastewater treatment
and poor operation of existing treatment plants.
In the Segura river basin, only 87 out of
the 207 water treatment plants perform properly,
two have been abandoned, 59 are inoperative,
and 59 function deficiently. Carboneras (Province
of Almería) is another example of the
poor operation of existent wastewater treatment
plants, with serious problems of odour, poor
energy efficiency, and excessive maintenance
costs. In addition, there are many isolated
population centres (pedanías, or small
population centres dependent on larger population
centres) that have sewage lines, but are too
far from other population centres for a network
of common collectors.
case of Lorca (Murcia Autonomic Community)
is one of the best examples of this problem.
One of the largest municipalities in Spain
(1676 km2), half of its population, approximately
35000 inhabitants, live in dispersed population
centres, in thousands of single-family houses
disseminated throughout the so-called “Huerta
de Lorca” (vegetable farming area).
This population structure makes it very difficult
to lay sewer lines and treat wastewater for
the entire community.
another major problem that has not yet been
solved in a cost-effective way is purine treatment.
The municipality of Lorca is once again a
good worksite because it has 1100 pig farms
for meat production and breeding. These farms
are dispersed and cause serious environmental
problems due to the lack of adequate purine
treatment. They range in size from family
farms with 8 to 10 breed sows or 100 stalls
for fattening, to highly industrialised and
intensified farms with almost 2000 breed sows
or 9000 fattening stalls.
Demonstration of the effectiveness
of an innovative water treatment
system using floating macrophyte
filters . The novelty of the system
is that it converts naturally emergent
rooted macrophytes into floating
macrophytes. In previous experimental
work, the water treatment capacity
of floating macrophyte filters has
been shown to be higher than that
of green filters that use naturally
rooted or floating plant species.
Promotion of these new systems in
the Mediterranean region, where
the lack of a winter vegetative
rest favours plant activity and
makes floating macrophyte filters
especially suitable for centres
of tourism, which are sometimes
located far from urban centres and
have a large population in summer,
when filter activity is maximum.
Promotion of new water treatment
systems suitable for small communities
and different sectors (urban areas,
livestock farms, and industries)
that have a low cost of execution
ACTIONS AND MEANS
of 7 different floating macrophyte filters
prototypes for different sectors. Seven floating
macrophyte filters prototypes will be developed
in southeast Spain to demonstrate the usefulness
of the floating macrophyte filters technique
in different sectors and effluent conditions
(slurries and urban sewage).
Three floating macrophyte filters in small
isolated population centres located more than
20 km from the central urban area in the municipality
of Lorca (Murcia): Doña Inés
(149 inhabitants), Avilés (394 inhabitants),
and Coy (501 inhabitants).
Two floating macrophyte filters in 2 single-family
homes and 1 floating macrophyte filters in
an Interpretation Centre in the municipality
One floating macrophyte filters in a pig farm
in the municipal area of Lorca (Murcia) as
a prototype for purine treatment using this
system (farms with breed sows and fattening
SCIENTIFIC FOLLOW-UP: COMPILATION OF
DATA ON FILTRATION AND PLANT GROWTH.
AWARENESS RAISING AND DISSEMINATION
OF THE TECHNIQUE
Preparation of a manual on the construction
and management of floating macrophyte
- Development of a
25-hour course on floating macrophyte
filters for business technicians, local
authorities, and public administration,
two information sessions for the local
community, and an International Congress
display panels and a video, CD-ROM,
the period of the project:
- Elimination of pollution
caused by wastewater in three population
centres and two pig farms.
- Reuse of high-quality
water in a region where water is scarce.
- Reduction or elimination
of odours from untreated wastewater
and from water treatment plants function
- Reduction of ground
and surface water pollution due to filtration
from the septic tanks of thousands of
single-family houses and effluents of
small population centres isolated from
urban centres. (Half of the population
of Lorca, 35,000 inhabitants, live outside
the urban centre and the district has
1100 pig farms). Implantation of the
system in other regions in southeast
- Reduction of the impact
on landscapes of effluents and large
water treatment plants.
- Reduction of health
risks due to effluents.
- Production of a large
amount of high-quality water and plant
biomass harvested from the filters that
can be used in gardens and intensive
The seven filters planned for in the
project have been built and planted:
two filters in single-family homes in
Cazalla township, one filter in the
“Cortijo de la Tortuga Mora”,
located inside the Biological Reserve
owned by the Fundación Global
Nature, between the townships of La
Escucha and Purias, and three filters
in the small population centres of Avilés,
Coy, and Doña Inés. The
filter for the pig farm was built in
November 2004 in the cultivation which
Society Cooperative GAMUR (Farmers of
Murcia) has in Lorca.
relation to divulgation activities,
a course on floating macrophyte filters
was given in Lorca on 19-23 July 2004.
The information brochure has been published
in English and Spanish and eighteen
information panels have been installed,
the informative video about the project
has been finished.
The International Meeting on Phytodepuration
in Lorca, Murcia was celebrated on 20th
– 23rd July 2005. This Meeting
has gathered more than a hundred of
researchers from seventeen differents
countries, who exchanged experiences
related to Phytodepuration
has already been published the manual
on floating macrophyte filter systems
o Design and calculation
of floating macrophyte filter systems.
o Prototype construction and planting.
o Maintenance of prototypes.
o Information tasks and awareness raising.
o General coordination.
AND RESULTS FOR EACH TASK
CALCULATIONS AND PROJECT WRITE-UP
The first steps in prototype development
were the topographic study of the plots
where filters were to be installed,
drafting the plan for each site, and
analysing the effluents to be treated
in order to calculate the size of each
filter. Afterwards, the construction
projects of each were written up and
FLOTATING MACROPHYTE FILTERS CONSTRUCTION
The company “Hnos. González
Lucas, S.A.” was contracted to construct
the filters. They worked following the
technical specifications and instructions
of the School of Agricultural Engineering,
under the coordination of the Fundación
PLANT PRODUCTION AND TRANSPLANTATION
TO FLOTATING MACROPHYTES FILTER
autumn 2002, the School of Agricultural
Engineering of Madrid planted the plants
for the filters. They were allowed to
grow during spring and summer of 2003,
and then were transplanted to the filter
canals in June 2004. The plantation
had a high density, 18-19 plants/m2,
to ensure prompt surface covering.
The plantation of flotating macrophytes
filter has been carried out from the
School of Agricultural Engineering of
Madrid under the management of the Head
of Departament, Jesús Fernández.
FLOTATING MACROPHYTE FILTERS
Since April 2004, an operator has been
in charge of maintenance tasks for the
The Agroenergy Group
of the Departement of Vegetal Production:
Botany and Vegetal Protection, from
the School of Agricultural Engineering
of Madrid has
carried out the next laboratory samples.
WASTE WATER’S ANALYSIS
1.2. Values to waste water’s parameters
of the filters at the initial stage
of the plantation of 2004
2. PREVIOUS TESTS OF LABORATORY ON DEPURATION
FOR PIG FARMS
3. TESTS CARRIED OUT FOR PIG FARM “GAMUR”
4. OTHER TESTS CARRIED OUT ON TREATMENT
FOR PIG FARMS
CHARACTERISTICS OF EACH FILTER
The project and construction
of each flotating macrophytes filter
had their own particular features:
de Avilés flotating macrophytes
There was already an
old water treatment station in this
small population centre. It was small
and falling into disuse, and only made
primary treatment of effluent from Avilés.
The flotating macrophytes filter construction
supervisors in Avilés decided
that the water treatment station would
continue to provide primary treatment
of wastewater and the resulting effluent
would be pumped to the entrance of the
flotating macrophytes filter channels.
Prior to the plantation
and flooding of the channels, the settling
pond had to be cleaned and the water
pump of the treatment plant was repaired.
Aguas de Lorca, owner of the treatment
plant, is in charge of plant management
and cleaning the settling pond and repairing
the water pump.
The construction of
Pedanía of Avilés’
Filter has just finalised and it is
already into operation.
de Coy flotating macrophytes filter
filter construction started in November
2003. At the same time that the filter
was built, a project was made to bring
water from Coy to the flotating macrophytes
filter. The company Aguas de Lorca repaired
the sewage lines and installed a new
wastewater collector to channel water
to the flotating macrophytes filter.
A primary decanter-digestor
was installed at the entrance to the
filter in Coy, channels are finished
and planted, and the project for bringing
water from Coy has been completed.
The construction of Pedanía of
Coy’s Filter has just finalised
and it is already into operation.
de Doña Inés flotating
filter construction started at the end
of November 2003 and it’s finished.
It includes a small equipped with a
solar photovoltaic installation for
pumping wastewater to the channel that
feeds into the FMF.
flotating macrophytes filter
The owners of two single-family
homes in the Pedanía de Cazalla
dedicated part of their land to the
construction of a flotating macrophytes
Both flotating macrophytes
filter have been built, planted, and
filter in pig farms
The two flotating macrophytes
filter planned for pig farms were combined
finally into a single, larger FLOTATING
MACROPHYTES FILTER to maximize the cost-benefit
relation of the economic investment.
After discussing the project with several
parties, it was decided to install the
flotating macrophytes filter on the
farm owned by the cooperative Sociedad
Cooperativa GAMUR (Ganaderos de Murcia)
in Lorca, where 21,000 suckling pigs
are fattened each year.
Execution of the flotating
macrophytes filter on this pig farm
has important advantages:
- All the farmers belonging
to the cooperative will be able to treat
their purines, as well as non-members
who have problems of purine treatment
- There is enough land
available to increase treatment capacity
and the number of channels in the future,
making it possible to increase the number
of fattening stalls on the farm and
to admit effluents from other farmers
Due to the fact that
the GAMUR cooperative belongs to the
Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives
of Murcia (FECOAM), this experience
has potential for replication in other
cooperatives or pig farms.
Finally, GAMUR agreed
to build a filter for a single wing
of the farm (a small section like breed
sows), so that a smaller amount of purines
can be pre-treated using a simple precipitation
system (thus diminishing the pollution
load entering the system, which can
kill filter plants) and the load entering
the system can be diluted with treated
water produced by the filter itself.
ACTIVITIES: INFORMATION AND
addition to more routine project presentations,
the following actions have been taken:
conference on 17 October 2002 at the
City Council of Lorca, marking the initiation
of the project. Representatives of local
and regional press and television media
attended the press conference. A spokesperson
for each project partner presented their
respective area: Mr. Miguel Navarro,
Mayor of Lorca, Mr. Jesús Fernández,
Professor of Plant Production of the
School of Agricultural Engineering,
and Mr. Eduardo de Miguel, Director
of Fundación Global Nature.
project was submitted to the Water Action
Contest, at the 3rd World Water Forum,
held in Kyoto in March 2003. One of
the first achievements of the project
was to be selected by the Selection
Committee from 850 projects that were
submitted. Only 150 projects reached
the final phase, one of them the “Macrophytes”
LIFE project, whose candidacy was prepared
by the Fundación Global Nature.
The project did not win an award, but
participation in the 3rd World Water
Forum allowed us to present the project
in a conference and to display an information
panel at the Forum.
project was also presented at the XXXVI
National Week of Pig Livestock (SEPOR
’03) held on 15-18 September 2003.
about the project
PDF version of the brochure prepared
in 2002 can be downloaded from this
website. Five thousand two hundred copies
were printed in Spanish and English.
Folleto en Inglés
project includes the preparation of
a video describing the actions executed
throughout the project, in addition
to the operation of filters functioning
at the airports of Madrid-Barajas and
Alicante, as well as the FLOTATING MACROPHYTES
FILTER constructed near Laguna Larga
in Villacañas (Toledo).
two information panels included in the
project have been designed (9 sets of
two panels for the filters and one panel
for the Lorca City Council).
on floating macrophyte filters was held
in Lorca on 19-23 July 2004. Thirty-two
people attended this course, including
students, business-people, and public
brochure on the course-PDF version.
numerous contacts have been made with
residents of the pedanías (small
population centres dependent on larger
population centres) where the projects
are located, two information sessions
with local communities are planned.
The first information session was scheduled
for November 2004, when work on the
Flotating macrophytes filter was completed.
COURSE ON FLOATING MACROPHYTE
FILTER SYSTEMS FOR TREATING
LORCA (MURCIA), 19-23 JULY 2004
Flotating macrophytes filter system
for treating wastewater is based on
emergent macrophytes, such as Typha,
Scirpus, Iris or Sparganium, that are
converted into floating macrophytes
to increase their depuration capacity.
This “soft” system can reduce
or eliminate the main pollutants in
the wastewater that circulates through
roots. This system can be used directly
to process urban wastewater and, with
adequate pre-treatment, effluents from
agroindustry and livestock farms.
course provided attendees with technical
training for the application of this
treatment system, which is a sustainable,
environmentally friendly water treatment
alternative with low installation and
attendees about the problems of wastewater
in the Segura river basin
- Study the methodology, characterisation,
and pre-treatment of wastewater in terms
of its chemical, physical, and biological
- Description of existing wastewater
- Analyse conventional low-energy use
systems and soft systems for the pre-treatment
of wastewater in small communities and
- Analyse in detail the use of Floating
Macrophyte Filter systems for treating
- Debate on current wastewater treatment
problems specific to food-processing
personnel from wastewater treatment
businesses, local authorities, autonomic
and national authorities directly implicated
in to water issues, and university students
from scientific and technical programs.
OF TRAINING PROGRAM
course provided a complete overview
of floating macrophyte filter systems
and aspects of wastewater treatment.
Due to the range of materials examined,
our aim was not an analysis in depth,
but a general overview to acquaint attendees
with the field and to orient them in
developing afterwards their particular
to the technical training information,
there have been some deficiencies in
the design of Floating Macrophyte Filter
the professional skills acquired by
attendees, this course allowed them
to increase their knowledge about soft
treatment systems for wastewater and
about floating macrophyte filter systems
as innovative, low-cost, environmentally-friendly
systems for wastewater treatment in
small municipalities, livestock farms,
and single-family homes.
terms, course development was satisfactory,
meeting course objectives and satisfying
the expectations of attendees and the
MEETING ON PHYTODEPURATION
20-22 July 2005 Lorca (Murcia),
Oral and poster presentations
The submission deadline for
abstracts is 15 February 2005.
The due date for manuscripts
of accepted contributions
is 16 May 2005.
Please address enquiries and
send abstracts by e-mail to
Vanessa Sánchez: firstname.lastname@example.org
The official languages
of the meeting are English
Calendar for the submission
at the Meeting must
be oral or posters.
of acceptance of the
the assigned type
of presentation. Sending
of the guidelines
for the ellaboration
of the texts of the
of complete texts
of the presentations.
of participants (Unless
the maximum number
of participants is
reached before the
Guidelines for the
submission of abstracts
- The name of the autor
in charge of performing
the presentation should
be marked with (*) in
- Abstracts might be
submitted in English
or Spanish by filling
in the attached submission
- The maximum extent
is one page (Din A-4).
It is advisable to use
the font Times New Roman
Normal 12 pt. Single
- 2 more pages could
be added in order to
provide additional information,
graphs and/or figures.
- Abstracts must be
sent using the attached
form, in which the autor
should specify his/her
preference among the
following thematic areas:
o Natural Wetlands.
o Surface Flow Systems.
o Subsurface Flow Systems.
o Floating Systems.
- The preference of
the author/s in relation
to the type of presentation
(oral or poster) should
be indicated in the
Address and method
of sending the asbtract
A) By post
Haya, 23. Escalera
Puerta 2. E
28020 Madrid. Spain.
B) By e-mail:
The reception of abstracts
will be notified to
Meeting Organising Committee
J. Fernández González
Escuela Técnica Superior
de Ingenieros Agrónomos
S. Cirujano Bracamonte
Real Jardín Botánico
de Madrid, Consejo Superior
de Investigaciones Científicas
E. de Miguel Beascoechea
M. D. Millán Sánchez-Jáuregui
Ayuntamiento de Lorca
No registration fee required.
Proceedings, field trip, guided
tour and coffee breaks are
free of cost to participants.
and dinners are not covered
by the Meeting organisation.
This International Meeting
is part of the divulgation
activities included in the
LIFE-Environment project "New
Floating Macrophyte Green
Filters for the Mediterranean
Construction and operating
costs of conventional water
treatment systems often
are cost-prohibitive. Many
conventional treatment plants
in rural communities and
small towns are neglected
soon after inauguration
because of high operating
costs and difficult maintenance.
Green filters are an economic
and easy solution that are
notably elastic, usually
have low environmental impact,
and may even produce large
amounts of biomass, which,
together with low energy
to reducing global warming.
The objective of the meeting
is to exchange the latest
knowledge about low purification
management and maintenance
costs of green filters and
other water treatment systems
using different plant species.
The conference will take place
at the Centro Cultural, c/
Presbítero E. García
Navarro, Lorca (Murcia)
Lorca is located in southeast
Spain and is a centre for
highly developed agricultural
and industrial activities.
It also offers opportunities
to enjoy art and culture
as it has some of the most
important historical sites
airport is located 120 km
from Lorca. Connections
with the Madrid airport
are possible through Murcia
airport, 80 km away. Local
trains run between Lorca,
Alicante and Murcia every
hour. Five daily trains
connect Madrid and Murcia.
Jardines de Lorca ****
+34 968 470 599
Alameda Rafael Méndez,
+34 968 406 600
Musso Valiente, 8
+34 968 467 654
Avenida Fuerzas Armadas,
CIFEA: Centro Integrado
de Formación y Capacitación
Agraria (Integrated Center
about Formation and Agrarian
Training) offers to the
participants in the “International
Meeting on Phytodepuration”
accomodation for about 20
The price for person and
night is: 4.75 €.
It has Dormitories with
4 beds and a shared toilet
If you are interested in
booking, please send us
an e-mail (email@example.com)
before the end of June.
Roughly speaking, our goal, to organize
a fully satisfactory Meeting, has fulfilled
the attendants’ expectatives and
the Coordinator’s expectatives.
This Meeting allowed
a feedback session of interests, problems,
solutions and methods to tackle a main
theme in the management of Green Filters.
The idea was to discuss this theme from
a multidisciplinary point of view, so
that the Meeting would be a meeting point
to have discussions between researchers
from differents areas and origins.
Our objective was to establish relations
between University researchers and personal
from tecnologic centers or companies interested
on innovation so that future projets were
The International Meeting closed on Thursday.
All participants were issued an attendance
certificate and a manual on phytodepuration.