Since the MAGO kick off in May, the AUB team's work is underway to identify and meet with local researchers, farmers, and water utility managers: the stakeholders in wastewater reuse in agriculture; and conduct field visits to wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) in the Beqaa at the municipal and industry levels.
The AUB-MAGO team consisting of : Drs. Rabi Mohtar (PI), Sandra Yanni (co-PI), Lena Abou Jaoude (Research Associate), in addition to Ms. Ghida Krisht(Senior Research Assistant and Project Coordinator), Engineer Ghassan Mazraani (Research Assistant), as well as Ms.Tia Hajjar(MS student) and Mr. Abdul Rahman El Soufi(MS student), visited (July 19) the Ablah and Zahle WWTPs in the Beqaa. Ablah, the smaller of the two plants, supplies neighbouring farmers, at no cost, with secondary level treated waste water (TWW) and treated sludge, thereby providing them with a much safer alternative to irrigating directly from the Litani River Basin. Zahle's WWTP, one of the largest and most sophisticated, and the only operational tertiary level treatment in Lebanon, has a daily output of 16,000 m3 of TWW discharged into the Litani River and, thereby, dilutes existing pollutants.
The Liban Lait WWTP is another efficiently using wastewater in industry: the AUB-MAGO team conducted a field visit there on July 22. With water scarcity an increasingly important challenge, the use of treated wastewater, naturally enhanced with fertilizers, in agriculture is gaining credibility as a viable solution to reducing dependence on fresh water and synthetic fertilizers.