Next-Generation On-Farm Water Treatment Technologies

In order to ensure the implementation and sustainability of nontraditional irrigation water use, on-farm technologies will likely need to be developed to improve the quality of these water sources and irrigated food crops.

Goal: To facilitate the successful implementation of irrigation and process water treatment systems on working food crop farms that cost-effectively and sustainably reduce and manage risks due to contaminants in nontraditional irrigation water.

Implement and evaluate on-farm zero-valent iron, biosand filters to reduce chemical, microbial and physical contaminants in nontraditional irrigation water used on food crops in the Mid-Atlantic


We are implementing and evaluating unique field-scale water filtration units that incorporate ZVI technology on recycled or surface water from field sites that are judged to be of poor microbiological, chemical or physical quality. Field samples collected during the evaluation of ZVI filters will be tested for chemical, microbial and physical contaminants.

The CONSERVE team has developed an innovative ZVI filtration system that is low cost, low energy, and shows promising results with regard to removing both chemical and microbial constituents from recycled water sources (see Figure below). To date, successful greenhouse-based experiments have been completed and the first ZVI field-scale trial will be conducted at the UMD Wye Research and Education Center in 2018.

Implement and evaluate on-farm UV and ozone systems to reduce contaminants present in nontraditional irrigation water used on food crops in the Southwest


We are implementing and evaluating simple low-cost disinfection methods at the point where irrigation water enters the field (flood, drip, spray). Specifically, we are integrating several disinfectant technologies; ozone, microbubbles and UV light that will be evaluated in combination with other sanitizers such as hydrogen peroxide and natural plant antimicrobials.