VertECO: a vertical ecosystem for indoor and outdoor greywater treatment

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The Mediterranean region faces water scarcity during the summer months. This situation is even worse when millions of tourists visit the region, leading to water stress in the agricultural production systems. The project “demEAUmed” demonstrates and promotes innovative technologies for an optimal and safe closed water cycle in Euro-Mediterranean tourist facilities.

As part of this project, the Vertical Ecosystem (vertECO) was tested to recycle water on-site at Hotel Samba, Lloret de Mar, Girona (Spain).

VertECO consists of a vertical ecosystem treating greywater from handwash basins, showers, and laundries. This indoor vertically-constructed wetland combines sub-surface horizontal water flow with stage-wise vertical flow. Plants function in symbiosis with rhizosphere microorganisms providing remarkable water cleaning abilities. The unit is suitable for both outdoor and indoor use and is designed to be attached to (interior/exterior) walls.

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VertECO offers all advantages of green walls:

  • air filtration,
  • micro-climate improvement,
  • stress reduction and
  • increased biodiversity.

After treatment with vertECO the water can be reused for:

  • toilet flushing,
  • garden and golf course irrigation,
  • facility cleaning and
  • textile washing,

according to European and Spanish regulations.

The following results can be achieved:

  • pollution abatement in the range of 90% or higher, with the effluent being clear, odourless water,
  • water savings of 40%–50%,
  • favourable ecological footprint when compared to current common water management practices in tourist resorts and municipalities.