List of articles from – 1/2024

Benefits and risks of using sludge from small WWTPs after processing by composting for the production of selected types of vegetables

The aim of the study, the results of which are presented in this article, was to assess the possibility of simplifying treatment and stabilisation procedures of sewage sludge from small municipal sources of pollution (domestic and small WWTPs up to about 1,000 EP) at the place of their origin and their subsequent use through extensive composting. The results demonstrated the benefit of the application of composts from a material base containing sludge from small WWTPs in increasing the production of the monitored types of vegetables. However, especially with lettuce, there was a higher transmission of selected risk elements. We therefore do not recommend the use of composts with sludge for growing leafy green vegetables. In contrast, this risk did not arise with fruit and vegetables. For practical use, it is still necessary to assess the rate of transfer of other pollutants, such as drug residues and microplastics.

First experience with measurement of phosphorus retention in the Lhotsk stream using TASCC method

Eutrophication of watercourses and reservoirs, specifically the enormous phosphorus load on water, has been the biggest problem for water management in the Czech Republic for several decades. Budget models are effective support for rational solution; apart from resources, they must include the river network characterization, i.e. the retention of phosphorus in streams. A direct method for measuring phosphorus retention in watercourses under well-defined conditions, i.e. a method providing generalizable retention parameters, is fundamentally lacking and it could significantly increase the accuracy of the current models. It seems that TASCC method (Tracer Additions for Spiraling Curve Characterization) has such potential. In this article, we describe its first application in the Czech Republic, namely in the experimental basin of the Lhotsk stream (Beneov district).

Development of the RainWaterManager software tool

Rainwater management is currently one of the frequently discussed topics in the further territorial development of towns and municipalities. The same question is also addressed in the context of climate change and its effect on already existing urban areas. Currently, the most common solution for the disposal of rainwater is its drainage using sewage systems. In connection with climate change, this concept of rainwater management is beginning to show its disadvantages. Rainwater is quickly drained away, which negatively affects moisture conditions in the urban landscape. The consequence of this is its drying and overheating. Another disadvantage is overloading of sewer networks during extreme rainfall events. The solution to eliminate these disadvantages can be an effort to retain the precipitation at the point of impact. However, this concept brings with it a number of questions: What measures can be used for this purpose? What are the spatial requirements for creating these measures? What is the price of their implementation? Can local government demand implementation of these measures by private investors? the answers to these questions are often not trivial and depend on the specific circumstances and the number of assessed criteria. Some help in this regard comes from the RainWaterManager software. This tool helps to choose appropriate measures for rainwater management, to estimate its effectiveness, spatial and economic requirements, and shows how their implementation can be promoted.

Protected areas of natural water accumulation – their meaning in the current system of water environment protection

This article discusses the development, management, and use of the landscape in the form of a declaration of a Protected Area of Natural Water Accumulation (CHOPAV). It examines the importance of this method of protection in the water protection system under the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and other European directives which have been incorporated into the legislation of the Czech Republic. It looks at the possibilities of using this tool in water management to deal with problems caused by climate change. Based on the research and analysis carried out, the article recommends modifications to the CHOPAV regime and area modifications, as well as expansion to other sites.

Emerging contaminants in wastewater – results of Joint Danube Survey 4 evaluated via the grey water footprint

The Joint Danube Survey (JDS4), organized in 2019, provided a unique dataset on the occurrence of several hundred newly identified contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) in waters of the Danube river basin, including wastewater from selected wastewater treatment plants. In this study, published JDS4 data were used to assess the significance of individual substances identified in wastewater using the grey water footprint approach. Determining all newly identified contaminants is time-consuming and expensive, so it is reasonable to focus on the „most problematic“ substances. The advantage of the grey water footprint assessment is conversion of the amount of discharged pollutants into the volume of water needed for dilution to an environmentally ‘safe level’, allowing comparison of different substances. Based on JDS4 data, out of several hundreds of substances detected, 33 were identified as potentially risky, according to set criteria. However, this list cannot be taken as definitive, as the level of knowledge about the harmfulness of individual substances quickly develops with regard to the risk currently attributed to them. Similarly, the JDS4 dataset reflects a specific data collection methodology, which may not capture all connections related to the impact of the occurrence of new substances on the environment.

Interview with Ing. Tomáš Fojtík, director of the T. G. Masaryk Water Research Institute

He has been Director of TGM WRI for a year. How does he evaluate this first year and what has he already managed to change for the better in our Institute? How does he remember his twenty years at the Institute as regular employee? And what are his plans and goals for the future regarding the direction of TGM WRI? „I would like to continue fulfilling my vision of creating a recognized and functioning institute of national and European importance as a research base for the field of water management with such a working culture and environment that it would be a target and prestigious workplace for quality and satisfied experts willing to actively cooperate,“ says the Director of our Institute, and newly also the president of the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe, Ing. Tomá Fojtík.

Current research at TGM WRI on municipal biodegradable waste and food waste

Since 2021, research on selected issues related to the collection, sorting, processing, and reuse of selected types of biodegradable waste has been carried out at TGM WRI within the „Centre of Environmental Research: Waste management, circular economy and environmental security“ (CEVOOH), which was supported as part of the call of the Technology Agency of the Czech Republic „Environment for life“, Subprogramme 3 „Long-term environmental and climate perspectives“, for the period 2021–2026. The research follows on from a number of partial research projects and tasks, an overview of which can be found, for example, on the HEIS WRI website [1] under the Projects tab.