Shafdan Wastewater Treatment

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“The Dan Region Wastewater Treatment Plant is among 30 projects from around the world chosen by the United Nations, to demonstrate the ability of local authorities to deal with environmental problems. The plant, known to Israelis as Shafdan, was included on the list thanks to its unique method of using the natural filtration qualities of sand in order to improve the quality of sewage. After wastewater is purified in an ordinary facility, it is recharged into the ground, where it undergoes an additional, natural filtration in the sands of Rishon Letzion and Yavne. This improves the quality of the water such that it can ultimately be used safely for all forms of irrigation.The UN’s recognition of Israeli successes, like Shafdan, is therefore significant both for its environmental know-how and its political potential” (GreenProphet).

Shafdan WasteWater Treatment utilizes the surrounding environment, the nearby sands of Rishon Letzion and Yavne, as natural filters for part of the water purification process. Serving a population of two million persons in the Dan region, Shafdan treats 130 million cubic meters of wastewater annually.  Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, operates both the Shafdan facility and its pumping stations. Secondary effluent from the Shafdan plant is used to infiltrate fields in Rishon Letzion and Yavne. From these fields, the effluent is recharged into groundwater reservoirs (aquifers) where it undergoes natural physical, biological and chemical processes that improve its quality and storage ability. The quality of the reclaimed water is very high, making it suitable for all forms of irrigation. Israeli produce grown using reclaimed water includes oranges, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, wheat and flowers.

Recently, Shafdan began to develop even more advanced methods of purifying sewage before recharging it into the sand. This is necessary because despite the benefits of the current purification process, it was discovered that when the wastewater is recharged into the ground after undergoing only primary purification, it damages the soil that it reaches before it hits the sand. As a result of that damage, experts have been forced to seek new areas where they can purify the wastewater, which are not easy to find in such a densely populated area. The new method is designed to enable more efficient use of areas where the purified sewage is already being recharged into the soil. Today Mekorot pumps 130 million cubic meters of purified sewage water into the area of the sands. The water is almost equal in quality to drinking water, and is used for irrigation in the Negev. The company points out that the new method of purification and filtration will also make it possible to remove polluters such as remnants of medicines, that until now were not removed in the purification process.

Three goals of the Shafdan Water Treatment Plant are…

1. To minimize environmental pollution and avoid health risks by constructing a sewage collector and disposal system.

2. To prevent the discharge of raw sewage into rivers and the sea.

3. To contribute toward protecting and preserving the state’s dwindling water resources through appropriate treatment of sewage water for purposes of its reuse. The reclaimed water is supplied for agricultural use following further treatment in the ground-aquifer system (SAT) operated by Mekorot.

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Please click on the links below to learn more about this innovative technology and how Shafdan is paving the way for water reclamation.