"Tisza - Tisa" - project
Capacity building in extensive wastewater treatment - Tools for improving water quality in the Middle and lower Tisza Area
Rob Van Deun
Mia Van Dyck
Department Agro- and Biotechnology, Katholieke Hogeschool Kempen, Geel Belgium

University of Szeged Faculty of Agriculture
Hódmezövásárhely , Hungary
Banat University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine
Timisoara, Romania
The main aim of this project is capacity building among Hungarian and Romanian experts and officials in relation to extensive wastewater treatment based on the use of constructed wetlands. This project wants to show in a practical way how water treatment systems with plants can be used to treat wastewater and run-off, regarding procedures and practical aspects. Special focus is the process towards best practices for local and regional implementation.

Throughout the Tisza River Basin (TRB), there is a lack of municipal waste water treatment facilities. Both in Hungary and Romania , the majority of inhabitants live where wastewater treatment is lacking or badly operating. As a result, raw and partially treated sewer is dumped into the tributaries of the Tisza . In addition, run-off from agricultural activities flows into the Tisza River , increasing the organic and nutrient loading of the waters. Constructed wetlands are an alternative approach to wastewater treatment. In many cases this is the only sustainable solution.  Examples in Flanders have proven so. Constructed wetlands comprise low cost technology, allow easy construction, repair and operation and effectively reduce problems related to wastewater. In a previous CEE-project, TOKAI-project (2003-2006) a demonstration site was built in Hungary that will be used to prove the effectiveness of this technology.

According to the European Water Framework Directive (WFD) a cross-border approach of water quality issues within a river basin is imperative. This project will bring together Hungarian and Romanian experts and officials in expert meetings, interactive workshops and technical visits. A trilingual code of good practices, a trilingual website with a virtual library and different publications will be another output of this project. This should assure the following objectives:

ˇ    To gain insight in the needed efforts to bring the current situation in the Middle and Lower Tisza area towards the good (ecological) surface water status as required by the WFD;

ˇ    To gain experience with water treatment systems based on plants to improve water quality;

ˇ  To gain insight in social and legal aspects and cost-effectiveness of constructed wetlands compared to conventional methods;

ˇ    To develop useful tools for future informative programmes and trainings in Hungary and Romania ;

ˇ    To be a true transnational project by transfer of experience and methods, where partners can learn from each other;

ˇ    To transfer experience to other regions and interested parties by networking;

ˇ    To build community acceptance  and confidence for wastewater treatment systems based on plants.