Sustainable Wastewater Management in Farming

Across the agricultural sector, efficient wastewater management systems play a crucial role in promoting sustainable farming practices, enabling better allocation of resources, reducing operational costs, and helping farmers and businesses meet regulatory guidelines. 

We’ve previously discussed the importance of investing in modern wastewater treatment solutions as well as the benefits of recovering nutrients from wastewater, and – especially as the technology has evolved so rapidly in recent years – businesses are increasingly recognising the importance of upgrading their existing solutions in response to growing concerns over water scarcity and environmental degradation.

As agriculture is a major user of fresh water, it also produces a significant amount of wastewater. Although this wastewater can contain a high level of pollutants, many of these are highly concentrated useful nutrients which can be recycled and diluted to create a cyclical on-site process. This helps introduce sustainability, as well as ensuring minimal waste and reducing the need for new freshwater resources. As advanced wastewater treatment systems such as the LAT Unit also require (on average) 70% less energy to operate compared to traditional solutions, this can additionally make farming more manageable in in-land areas where water and energy availability may be lower – creating new opportunities for location expansion, varied crop cultivation, and more

See more of the key considerations for sustainable agricultural wastewater management below:

How to preserve water resources in agriculture 

Modern wastewater management in farming can help conserve water resources by recycling wastewater for irrigation purposes including automatic watering systems. This practice reduces the reliance on freshwater sources, ensuring their availability for other essential needs across the local community. With growing global water scarcity concerns, maximising the use of water across a range of processes can help businesses become more eco-friendly and meet their sustainability goals, as well as reducing wider impacts such as the destruction of land. 

Employing more efficient irrigation techniques is also crucial for long-term sustainable wastewater management. Practices such as drip irrigation or precision sprinklers can help minimise water wastage by delivering water directly to the crops’ root zones, ensuring efficient water uptake. Additionally, using sensor-based technologies can help optimise irrigation scheduling based on soil moisture levels, further conserving water and reducing wastage. With the help of LAT Water, the process can become even more efficient as the LAT Unit uses waste heat as a source of input during the wastewater treatment process, making it cheaper to run than traditional solutions. This innovative, world-first technology can be customised for your location and farmland size, as well as your wastewater output. (Speak to our team to find out more and request a sample test.)

How proper treatment and management of agricultural wastewater can mitigate environmental pollution

When untreated or improperly managed, agricultural wastewater can contain high levels of nutrients, pesticides, and pathogens that can leach into soil and water sources, posing a risk to aquatic ecosystems and human health. By implementing sustainable wastewater management practices through modern technology such as the LAT Unit, farmers can minimise the release of these harmful substances into the environment, safeguarding ecosystems, and maintaining biodiversity. In recent case studies, the LAT Unit was able to recover as much as 90% clean water from treated wastewater at a fraction of the client’s previous operational costs – illustrating the power of innovation in the agricultural space as well as presenting long-term opportunities for the sector. 

How wastewater treatment can enhance soil health in agriculture 

As we’ve already mentioned, wastewater can be a valuable source of nutrients for crops as it contains essential salts and minerals which can promote healthy growth without the use of synthetic chemicals. This is because agricultural wastewater is high in organic elements which can come from animal and plant waste, byproducts of food production, discarded or unusable stock, and more. Treated wastewater can therefore be used in many ways: the recovered clean water can be used for irrigation, and the solid components can be used as dewatered fertilisers and soil amendments (also known as soil fertilisers) which can be mixed in with the soil to improve its consistency and ability to retain water, as well as the ease of plant root penetration which promotes faster growth.

On-site wastewater treatment with the LAT Unit also ensures that all wastewater is continuously analysed for changes in composition, as well as allowing for specialised configurations that ensure maximum results for specific contaminants including pathogens, viruses, and combinations of solid, liquid and gas substances. 

How to prevent nutrient runoff in agricultural applications 

Proper management of nutrients is essential to prevent excessive runoff, subsequent water pollution, and wasted resources. Conducting regular soil tests and employing precision nutrient application methods – such as variable rate fertilisation – can assist in improving nutrient use and ensure full optimisation of the land. As each type of crop will require different types and levels of nutrients throughout its lifecycle, the dewatered fertiliser produced as a byproduct of wastewater treatment with the LAT Unit can be tailored to your exact needs – reducing the need to import or purchase fertilisers, as well as opening up new potential revenue streams for your business should you produce more fertiliser than you can use. By carefully matching nutrient inputs to crop requirements, farmers can also minimise nutrient losses in wastewater and protect water quality as more of the useful nutrients will be absorbed by the crops during growth. 

Embracing sustainable wastewater management practices not only benefits individual farmers but also contributes to a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector as a whole. By integrating these strategies into their operations, farmers can play a significant role in nurturing crops, protecting the environment, and fostering a more sustainable future for agriculture. By adopting efficient strategies such as on-site treatment systems, irrigation management, and nutrient management, farmers can optimise water use, protect the environment, and ensure the long-term viability of their farming operations. 

Contact The LAT Water Team

Meet us in person at Cereals 2023 at the Thoresby Estate, Perlethorpe (NG22 9EQ) on the 13th-14th June at stand 114.

You can also contact our team on +44 (0)1635 635900 or by emailing info@latwater.com. Download our corporate brochure for more details about our sustainable wastewater treatment solutions.

LAT Water at Cereals 2023 event stand 114
Elias Elia
18th May 2023