Vetiver grass is used to treat waste leaks at the Khánh Sơn dump in Đà Nẵng. It's the first non-chemical waste treatment pilot project on a small scale to deal with polluted waste at the dump. — VNS Photo Trần Minh Thảo
ĐÀ NẴNG — A group of scientists and biological researchers from Đà Nẵng’s Teacher Training and Engineering College has developed a vetiver (Vetiveria Zizanioides) grass-based system to treat leaks at Khánh Sơn dump in the city.
The system, which was developed on a small scale at the dump in 2018, would be applied to other dumps in the city and neighbouring provinces as well as polluted lakes and sewage systems.
Head of the research team Trần Minh Thảo said the sample was designed to treat 200 litres of waste water that leaks from the dump each day, and at least 90 per cent of the waste was completely cleaned by the grass system and other biological solutions before being safely discharged.
“We have been testing the system before the city approves its deployment. The system is a non-toxic chemical treatment, while the grass roots act as a natural filter of pollutants in the waste,” Thảo said.
“Four square metres of vetiver grass could soak up 200 litres of polluted waste and discharge it each day. It also helps clear bad odours, while reducing sludge after treatment,” he explained.
He said the vetiver grass-based system could be used to clean 750cu.m with an investment of VNĐ50 billion (US$2.2 million) – half that of a chemical-based treatment system – and the system costs only VNĐ50,000 ($2.1) to clean 1cu.m of polluted waste.
Thảo said the group has been testing the vetiver grass-based system and biological solutions at some polluted lakes in the city and Quảng Nam Province.
The biological sewage treatment model was used to filter 10cu.m of toxic sewage from the college’s laboratory each day from 2014, and over 90 per cent of heavy metals contained in the sewage dissolved in the process.
He said continuous tests of the grass system on wastewater treatment were carried out by the group daily from 2014.
The central city plans to build the first solid waste treatment complex project on a 100ha area in Hòa Vang District with total investment of VNĐ138 billion ($6.13 million) in the first stage later this year. The complex will include a dump leakage treatment plant, waste recycling, and waste-to-energy system.
Khánh Sơn dump, 20km west of the city, receives an amount of 1,200 tonnes of waste each day, and the dump releases 700cu.m of untreated wastewater daily.
According to a report from the Việt Nam Vetiver Network, over 40 provinces and cities have been planting vetiver grass to deal with water and soil pollution, desertification, erosion and stabilising river banks and sea dykes.
Geologist Trần Tân Văn, director of the Việt Nam Vetiver Network, said the vetiver grass has been used to protect highway dykes, cover waste dumps at coal mines, and on dioxin-contaminated soil. — VNS