(photo credit: KKL)
Every year, 200 million cubic meters of rainwater are wasted and washed into the sea. An innovative project in Kfar Saba will make it possible to store rainwater and purify it with the help of various plants, using biofilter technology. The clean water will then be channeled into the underground aquifer, which will help Israel in dealing with the present water crisis.
Participants of the Sixth KKL-JNF World Leadership Conference (WLC) visited this unique project as part of pre-conference activities and were very impressed. This experimental project was implemented in Kfar Saba with the assistance of Friends of KKL-JNF from Australia, including a contribution made by the Finkel family of Melbourne, and in conjunction with the Kfar Saba Municipality.
When rainwater flows in the streets of the city, it collects various toxic substances. Experiments have been done in the past to collect rainwater, but it was not possible to induce it into the aquifer, since it was polluted. Fortunately, a solution has been found. This technology was developed in Australia by Yaron Zinger, an Israeli PhD, who was guided by water engineers Prof. Anna Geltik and Prof. Tim Fletcher of Monash University. Promotion of the project was made possible with the support of JNF Australia's Victorian Division Gold Patrons who, together with the JNF Victoria Executive, led by Sara Gold, agreed to support the promotion of biofilters in Israel.
Zinger met the WLC participants at the site and explained: “The conventional treatment, which is used at present, is to collect rainwater and dump it into the sea. This new technology will make it possible for us to utilize this water.”
According to Zinger, stopping the flow of polluted rainwater into the sea will also benefit the beaches of Israel. Pollution of seawater causes a lot of harm to the fish - so much so that 10% of the fish that are caught along the shores of Israel are not fit for human consumption.
Not only will rainwater be treated at the installation. In the summer, when there is no rainfall, water will be pumped from wells that have been polluted. It will be purified, and the clean water will be returned to the well or to the aquifer.
The biofilter is comprised of several layers. The upper layer is covered with flora, which aids in purifying the water. In the lower layers, which are not aerated, populations of bacteria develop, which live in a low oxygen environment, and these bacteria promote processes that purify the water. This integrated system is efficient for purification from various substances such as heavy metal particles, organic substances and oils.
The harvested water is induced into two storage places—a nearby well and a 90 meter-deep pipeline for direct induction into the aquifer. This installation's capacity for treating water is 5,000 cubic meters of water annually.
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Initial tests have demonstrated that the water is almost potable quality. Zinger showed the visitors two containers. One of them contained a yellowish, putrid liquid. This was a sample of the water that enters the system. The other container contained clear and pure water. This was a sample of the water that exits the system. The young doctoral student, who developed this revolutionary technology, expressed hope that it would become a standard in Israel, so that many additional cities could benefit from similar systems.
Frank Wilson, JNF Canada National President, said that in his country there are
extensive joint ventures being done with KKL-JNF in water research and development, especially in the province of Manitoba. “Coping with ecological problems is a universal effort, and in Canada there is a lot of awareness of the importance of the issue. It is good that Israel and KKL-JNF are at the forefront of activities in this field.”
Lissette Fuentes Albala, from Cuba, expressed great interest in the new technologies, which facilitate better handling of environmental issues. “It is very interesting to see how KKL-JNF helps Israel cope in various ways with the country’s water issues.”
Mathias Niyonzima, from Belgium, of Jewish descent from Burundi, said that the connection to Israel is very important for him and for the Jews in his country. “We are very interested in ecological projects, and it is important for us to be part of the vision of KKL-JNF for a green Israel. The Jewish community in Belgium is not large, and in order to increase support, we have also recently been approaching Christians who love Israel, so that we may contribute to ecological and other projects, and be involved in what is happening here.”
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