The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Drought and water shortages are factors that affect neighboring communities in Guanacaste and the Greater Metropolitan Area. Among those shortages, a project initiated by specialists of the National University (UNA) seeks to reuse, quite simply, gray water produced in homes.

While liquids are purified in its entirety, they might be reused for household chores that do not involve consumption. The project named ‘Biojardinera’ and was successfully tested in a house in Guanacaste. According to the drivers, installing this system in a house would cost around 300,000 colones ($600).

“It’s also a response to the problems of sewage contamination. In turn, it has become an alternative waste management to provide reusable water in time of need, but also to decrease the water footprint and to reduce sources of contamination. Many of the people we working with are rural and have poorer septic tanks, if any,” said Nelly López, researcher and project officer of the Institute of Social Studies in Population (IDESPO) UNA.

How does a Biojardinera work?

“We built a system where the soapy water is directed from the kitchen sink. The system creates a piped outlet for the gray water from the house to a first tank, which traps sediment and is composed of two plastic containers where all solid particles (fats and waste from the kitchen) are removed,” described López.

After that process, dirty water comes to a main shaft, made of different types of stone. That space, where the water falls, is filled with plants having a high water resistance. Through photosynthesis, they oxygenate and purify water.

“The purified water is then piped out of the storage facility, and exits. This water can then be used for watering plants or other non-potable needs,” explained the specialist.

UNA also has five harvesting systems for rainwater in Talamanca. This is to equip indigenous areas without potable water service. These projects have been developed since 2008 and where the biojardinera had its starting point in 2012.

“It’s a pilot project in a state of ‘being studied’. We need to see, with physicochemical analysis, levels of drinking water quality and the possibilities of system performance,” said the researcher.

The house where the project is installed is owned by a peasant in Guanacaste. The choice was made because the province responds to the dry tropics and usually has problems with the water supply due to low rainfall which stands at nearly four months of each year.

The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

San Jose, Costa Rica