Factsheet – Filter System for Subsurface Drainage Water Treatment Using Biochar

The filter system is developed by WATERAGRI partner alchemia-nova to retain nutrients from subsurface agricultural drainage water. This technology provides a filter structure that can be inserted to a drainage pipe outlet. The structure can be reused by filling it with new filter material each time the filter is saturated, and the loaded filter material can be used directly as fertilizer.

The performance of such system in terms of nutrient retention is investigated in a real drainage pipe in Gleisdorf pilot site in Austria, at an organic farm. Two cartridges are inserted in the drainage pipe. The cartridge structure was filled a substrate media like biochar which can retain phosphorus and nitrogen present in drainage water. Prior to this application, the biochar was tested in laboratory to assess sorption properties of the material.

Direct benefits of the application are the possibility to apply WATERAGRI‘s solution activated biochar to the field, thus reducing the need for artificial fertilizer, reducing nitrogen leaching and increasing the amount of carbon in the soil and thus the soil structure. Simultaneously, and  depending on the soil type, the biochar can increase the water retention capacity of the soil.

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