Over the last 20 years, there has been a growing requirement by governments around the world for organisations to adopt more sustainable practices. Wastewater treatment is no exception, with many currently used systems requiring large capital investment, land area and power consumption. High rate algal ponds offer a sustainable, efficient and lower cost option to the systems currently in use. They are shallow, mixed lagoon based systems, which aim to maximise wastewater treatment by creating optimal conditions for algal growth and oxygen production—the key processes which remove nitrogen and organic waste in HRAP systems. This design means they can treat wastewater to an acceptable quality within a fifth of time of other lagoon systems while using 50% less surface area. This smaller land requirement decreases both the construction costs and evaporative water losses, making larger volumes of treated water available for beneficial reuse. They are ideal for rural, peri-urban and remote communities as they require minimum power and little on-site management. This review will address the history of and current trends in high rate algal pond development and application; a comparison of their performance with other systems when treating various wastewaters; and discuss their potential for production of added-value products. Finally, the review will consider areas requiring further research.
- High rate algal ponds
- Wastewater treatment