IMDEA Water Institute

Land application systems for urban wastewater treatment of small built-up areas

Posted by IMDEA Water InstituteResponsive · Innovative Products and Technologies · Spain

Summary of the technology

A Land Application Systems (Figure 1) is a plot area, sized according to the influent to be treated, which has forests installed and is irrigated with wastewater.
The residual water partially evaporates and the rest is taken up by the roots of trees and filtered through the soil.
Before application to the soil, it is desirable to introduce a primary treatment system, to remove coarse solids, sand, grease and solids. But these systems provide more than just simple purification, because while treating the water, we are also producing biomass with high economic value.
Unlike conventional waste water treatment systems, no external energy input is needed, so the running and maintenance costs are greatly reduced.
Furthermore, it is a robust technology and the operation is simple. This technology is therefore ideal for treatment of urban waste water from small towns, with strong flow oscillations.

IMDEA Water Institute

Description of the technology


Why can you rely on IMDEA-Water for Land Application Systems installation?

Most current Land Application Systems are not properly designed, as they fail to consider climatic, geologic and hydrogeological factors. Moreover, their management is not optimum due to the random nature of the control.

In IMDEA-WATER we have developed a three-step method for Land Application Systems design that considers physical environment and socioeconomic as well as quality and technological factors. This way, we can provide a purifying process adapted to real needs. The control and management can be carried out by ICTs.

We have already developed two patents to improve our green filters design: a self-winding gate for flood management and a continuous nitrate sensor. We have also developed software to gauge and operate them.

In IMDEA-WATER we also provide a project management team to ensure correct implementation of our Land Application Systems.

What about an already installed Land Application Systems?

At IMDEA-WATER we offer our technical advice service on how to run an already installed Land Application Systems using our new methodology.


  •  Councils, community of municipalities, provincial councils, rural development associations
  •  Architecture studios
  •  Water Companies and Wastewater Treatment Plants in small populations
  •  Water resource managers
  •  Associations or industries producing biomass or wood
  •  Any company interested in developing water supply and water remediation projects in developing countries

Related keywords

  • Soil and Groundwater Pollution
  • Water Management
  • Municipal Water Treatment
  • Water Resources Management
  • water

About IMDEA Water Institute

Research & Technology Organization from Spain

IMDEA Water, a research Institute focused on water management issues, is directed towards optimizing public and private decision-making processes, emphasizing on the link between water, public services, the economy and institutions. The scientific program of the Institute is based on the development of strategic lines for the integrated water management: management of sustainable bodies of water, quality pollution, water treatment and reuse and economic and institutional analysis.
The institute is equipped with high-level up-to-date specialized laboratories as: water, soils, geomatic, ecotoxicology and water biology labs, and pilot plants (mesocosms, microbial electrochemical technologies, land application systems and membranes technologies) for conducting the research activities.

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