Purified water from the food industry for agriculture
Using purified water from the food industry for agriculture - this is the objective of the Flemish-Dutch Interreg cross-border project F2AGRI (literally meaning ‘Effluent to agriculture’). In the Flemish part of the project, treated waste water from a vegetable processing company will be used for irrigation. It will be distributed to 46 farmers in the neighbourhood.
The company’s wastewater comes from the washing and blanching of vegetables and cleaning of the processing units. During the purification process, the waste water undergoes anaerobic treatment, then a nitrification and denitrification process takes place and finally a physicochemical treatment.
Irrigation for 457 hectares and 46 farmers
An important step in setting up this process was the identification of the farmers who would be interested in using the purified water for irrigation. In the direct neighbourhood, the project calculated that there was a potential demand of 100 000 m³ irrigation water for an area of 670 ha of arable land. After consulting all 150 owners and farmers in the project area, 46 farmers signed a commitment to take part in the project for a total area of 457 ha. An underground high pressure pipeline network with 140 tapping points is in design (see map in the document attached).
Establishment of a cooperative
The next challenge will be the establishment of a cooperative organisation with all participating farmers, who will finance this cooperation. This cooperative will be the basis for the day to day business of the irrigation network and will be responsible for investments and maintenance in the pumps and hydrant networks.
One of the farmers involved said: “After the summers of 2015 and 2016, it is very difficult to find irrigation water. As a farmer you cannot doubt to participate in this cooperative.”