News in Brief

Morkel Zaayman: NIWA/ESR funded PhD

Our wastewaters now include a cocktail of organic chemicals from the pharmaceutical and personal care products we commonly use.

These so called Emerging Organic Contaminants (EOCs) are washed off our bodies when we shower or are discharged in laundry and dish-washing, while others are excreted from our bodies via the toilet. The increasing occurrence of EOCs in the environment, and their potential health and environmental effects are of serious concern.

A potential issue is that in rural communities, septic tank systems often function poorly due to overloading or poor maintenance.  This reduces treatment time in the tanks and microbial breakdown of EOCs.  Two potential low-cost treatment options to reduce the environmental risk of EOCs in wastewater include the use of constructed wetlands and separation of waste water streams into blackwater (i.e., toilet) and greywater components.  Greywater diversion can reduce the pressure on poorly functioning septic tank systems, and irrigation of greywater to soil or treatment in wetlands offers further potential to remove or degrade EOCs.

Working with NIWA, ESR, University of Canterbury and Northcott Research Associates, the objective of this project is to improve our understanding of the fate and effects of EOCs within pilot-scale constructed wetland system and greywater irrigated soils.

me of these so called Emerging Organic Contaminants (EOCs) are washed off our bodies when we shower or are discharged in laundry and dish-washing, while others are excreted from our bodies via the toilet. The increasing occurrence of EOCs in the environment, and their potential health and environmental effects are of serious concern.

A potential issue is that in rural communities, septic tank systems often function poorly due to overloading or poor maintenance.  This reduces treatment time in the tanks and microbial breakdown of EOCs.  Two potential low-cost treatment options to reduce the environmental risk of EOCs in wastewater include the use of constructed wetlands and separation of waste water streams into blackwater (i.e., toilet) and greywater components.  Greywater diversion can reduce the pressure on poorly functioning septic tank systems, and irrigation of greywater to soil or treatment in wetlands offers further potential to remove or degrade EOCs.

Working with NIWA, ESR, University of Canterbury and Northcott Research Associates, the objective of this project is to improve our understanding of the fate and effects of EOCs within pilot-scale constructed wetland system and greywater irrigated soils.

Introducing Morkel Zaayman

I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry in 2004 from the University of Pretoria and I have just completed my Masters in Soil science through Massey University in Palmerston North where I investigated the environmental and health risks of greywater use in New Zealand.

Currently, I am doing a PhD through University of Canterbury where in conjunction with CIBR (Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research) and NIWA we will be investigating the fate and behaviour of emerging organic contaminants (EOCs) from wastewater in constructed wetlands and on-site land application systems. The research aims to identify which types of EOCs are removed by wetlands, the removal and deactivation mechanisms involved, removal and deactivation mechanisms of EOCs in greywater applied to soil, and the potential effects EOCs could have on soil health parameters after greywater application.

For more Information on CIBR visit: http://www.cibr.esr.cri.nz

Morkel Zaayman: NIWA/ESR funded PhD