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The designs, installations and applications of drainage material manufactured from recycled mixed polymers

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Oliver Heidrich, Dr Paul Sallis, Dr Paul Quinn


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Waste management and recycling technologies have become major areas of development in today’s societies. UK legislation and regulations have, and still are evolving by imposing and encouraging higher investments for the development and application of recycling technologies. By doing so, the environmental burdens of landfilling, for example plastic wastes, can be reduced. Plastic recycling technologies appear to be well established but the segregation of different polymers and labels may invoke high processing costs and subsequently result in a low uptake of the products manufactured. In order to increase plastic recycling rates there is an urgent need to provide robust recycling processes that manufacture products that can compete on the market place. Flooding and diffuse pollution, arsing from farming has become a major government concern. Drainage from land is traditionally dictated by the rapid removal of runoff from the land through land drains and well maintained ditches, which is thought to contribute to pollution and flood risk. As old land drains collapse it is vital that cost effective and sustainable methods are employed to drain water from profitable land to suitable storage zones, to attenuate flow in the ditch network itself by using, for example barriers and filters. A recycled plastic drainage material (Aquadyne®) is being thought to be able to drain and treat surface water runoff, wastewater and ground water. The surface of Aquadyne® supports the biofilm growth, which was shown to have a beneficial impact on the denitrification of waters and wastewaters. A UK demonstration farm (supported by the Environment Agency), utilises Aquadyne® since January 2006 to create a Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB). Using such a barrier is believed to denitrify the farm runoff and general drainage. Another application of Aquadyne® is the use as drainage for dykes. Seepage and the appropriate drainage of dykes are of major concern to Water Authorities. Aquadyne® was installed in October 2005, which is supported and controlled by the Dutch Water authorities (Waterschap Zuiderzeeland). It is believe that the installation will prevent seepage of a dyke. This paper reports on plastic waste management, recycling and sustainable land drainage, including flood risk management, farm runoff and dyke installation. The current situation of plastic waste management and recycling will be reviewed and current limitations are highlighted. The paper briefly describes Aquadyne®, which is manufactured using 100% mixed waste plastics as raw materials. The installations and applications of Aquadyne® at the UK farm and Dutch dyke are presented. Evidence is provided that Aquadyne® can address two main challenges of today’s society; namely sustainable waste management and innovative land and/or dyke drainage systems (including drainage, water treatment and robust flood/pollution attenuation zones).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heidrich O, Sallis PJ, Quinn PF, Gaskarth J

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: ISWA/NVRD World Congress 2007: Challenging the Future

Year of Conference: 2007

Publisher: ISWA/NVRD