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Waste Water: Turning Sewage into Profit

30' (GER, ENG subs)
Out of sight, out of mind. We flush the toilet five to eight times a day. It rarely crosses our minds that the waste contains many valuable resources. How can we turn it into gold?

Sewage treatment plants extract many of the important minerals from the water using complex processes, but it is very difficult to do. The problem is that liquid and solid matter end up together in the toilet, and Urine and feces can only be treated separately. The process of separating them in the sewage plant is very expensive and challenging. Because of this, the future lies with separate toilets. Many valuable minerals can be extracted in the sewage treatment plant, such as phosphorus for our health, energy for heating, and even gold. Urine can be used for fertilizer, and solids can become compost. In current day, wastewater is not only a source for these minerals, but we are now finding it can be a very important source of information, as coronavirus traces can be found within it. Wastewater can soon become an early warning system for local coronavirus hotspots.

Original Title: Abwasser: Von der Giftbrühe zur Goldgrube
Year: 2020
Length: 30' (GER, ENG subs)
Resolution: HD
Produced by: NZZ

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