SmartCleanGarden Concept

Water is one of the most necessary elements for life, yet according to the World Health Organization, 2.1 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water. In addition, 4.5 billion people lack safely-managed sanitation facilities.

Unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene can lead to diarrheal diseases that can slow the absorption of nutrients, hindering children’s development.

Millions of people including children die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund

Wasterwater Treatment Plants (WTP) are an essential aspect of sanitation and water infrastructure. WTPs mission is the collection and treatment of sewage along with purifying and returning the water to the environment. Howevever there is not enough economic growth to build more WTP capacities and it cannot match the population growth.

Only 6% of the countries are efficient in terms of wastewater treatment and 80% of our wastewaters flows back to nature untreated.

To complement existing infrastructure of WTPs, Constructed Wetlands (CW), or Reed Bed, are good technical well-known solutions to treat domestic wastewater. It is a nature based system (NBS) that use natural processes involving wetland vegetation, soils and their associated microbial assemblages to improve water quality trough the N cycle: mechanical filtration + biological degradation.

Constructed Wetlands have a lot of proven advantages (high purification performance, adaptability, decentralized, low investment and low maintenance, low energy, biodiversity attraction).
However if CW are proven solutions in rural areas, it is not yet scalable for high-density cities mainly due to the general lack of control – including pathogen risks.

“It’s the time for a paradigm shift, domestic wasterwaters are a benefit to make sustainable and green cities”

Didier Orange, SmartCleanGarden Project Manager, IRD Research Scientist

The aim of SmartCleanGarden Concept (SCG Concept) is to design a new generation of Constructed Wetlands able to scale up to metropolis or megalopolis, with the core ability to produce clean water after natural filtration that could be (re)used for urban gardening and multiple other use cases.

SmartCleanGarden Concept is a cross-disciplinary research project from 2018 (1) to use the concept of enhanced biodiversity in planted filters to increase their effectiveness in limited surfaces (cities), (2) to prototype environmental e-sensors for the efficient survey of the biogeochemical processes by IoT and (3) to use the artificial intelligence to remotely control and manage the safe sewage treatment.

  • Impact on soil pollution and public health: Decentralized, scalable and sustainable wastewater sanitation
  • Impact on climate change and air pollution: Reuse of the wastewaters after natural filtration for urban gardening (green parks or urban food production)
  • Impact on global water scarcity: Reuse of the wastewaters after natural filtration within homes (circular water management, non-drinking water use)
  • Adapt the Constructed Wetland to cities (high-density population)
  • Improve the Constructed Wetland by biodiversity solutions
  • Monitor and measure the soil quality with e-sensors and IoT in order to establish proxies for safe use
  • Improve the Constructed Wetland efficiency with Artificial Intelligence (machine learning)