Plant roots 'can purify dirty water'

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Washington, May 6 (ANI): A group of horticulturists claim to have discovered that plant roots can, to a limited degree, purify dirty washing machine water.

According to the Penn State horticulturists, plant roots enmeshed in layers of discarded materials inside upright pipes can purify dirty water from a washing machine, making it fit for growing vegetables and flushing toilets.

"Our global fresh water supplies are fast depleting," said Robert D. Cameron, doctoral student in horticulture. "So it is critical that we begin to look at alternatives on how we can take wastewater and turn it into a resource."

Cameron and Robert D. Berghage, associate professor of horticulture, use discarded materials and a combination of plant and bacterial communities to treat water from a washing machine and other wastewater.

According to Cameron, this design is superior to previous living treatment systems in that it requires much less space and is much more efficient at removing contaminants.

"We have shown that with this system we can take wastewater from a washing machine and remove more than 90 percent of the pollutants within three days," said Cameron. "The treated water had very low levels of suspended solids and no detectable levels of e.coli."

Cameron presented the work at a meeting on organic and sustainable agriculture in Havana. (ANI)

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