Industrial Water Reuse On The Rise

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This is the time of year when we all begin reflecting upon the past year and deciding what direction we want our companies to take next year.  Black and Veatch recently put out a comprehensive report entitled; 2016 Strategic Directions: Water Industry Report. The 2016 report is a quantitative analysis, conducted over the past year that identifies current trends and the continuous challenges faced by the water industry. They found that the top concern was the increased demand and raising cost to maintain and preserve the integrity of infrastructure systems due to population growth. The report finds the water industry rising to meet some the grandest challenges yet. Managing infrastructure maintenance cost, navigating capital investment with limited resources and engaging customers who may be questioning the cost or the safety of their supply are all top of mind for many of the experts that were surveyed. Fortunately, there are bright spots of innovation and new approaches in cities that are learning to do more with less. Many are exploring alternative water supply strategies and energy efficiency while others are testing advanced purification technologies. In addition, they found that the application of advanced data analytics insights offers opportunities to future-proof their systems.

According to the report, the importance and interest in alternative water supplies, such as water reuse, brackish groundwater, and desalination, continues to grow throughout U.S as organizations look to build diversified, resilient water supplies.

It can be seen from the survey results that non-potable reuse is finding its way as a good “middle ground” for utilities and the public to consider. The report also states that non-potable reuse for landscaping or industrial use enjoys solid public support, and respondents to the survey indicated a strong outlook for this type of program. They suggest that the Water Reuse industry is expected to grow significantly due to the due to the following factors:

  • Interest in industrial reuse

  • Capacity for growth

  • Utilities are increasingly willing to take on new areas that they’ve not delved into in the past.

According to the survey, nearly 25% of water utilities that serve power plants are implementing non-potable water reuse, a figure expected to rise another 10% over the next three years. Use of recycled water in cooling towers is also expected to nearly double in the next three years, from 16% to 30%, and data center reuse will fully double in usage. In fact, master planning for water reuse is another way to look at the broader acceptance of alternative water supplies. Nearly 50% of respondents say they either have or plan to develop a master plan for water reuse, which shows a broad consideration across the country. Given that these results are based on responses from the entire country and not just regional responses from arid states, they highlight the bright prospect of water reuse in the future.

However, despite all of the innovations and acceptance of industrial water reuse, the scale and nature of the challenges in the water industry – from climate change to legacies of underinvestment – call for alignment, leadership, shared responsibilities and collaboration go beyond business-as-usual. Water leaders from around the world will have to address the current water situation in collaborative ways to overcome water challenges faced by cities throughout the world.

As technology improves, the best industrial water treatment methods are going to shift the paradigm from treat to discharge to treat to reuse. This is the mantra that is being recited more frequently, in the US and the rest of the world. In developing countries, high water use companies are looking for ways to reduce and reverse the consumption of potable water, putting more clean water back into the system than they take out. For instance, bottling companies are being called on to not only reuse their process water but clean enough water to be able to help the local municipalities increase clean water output to relieve the strain that they impose on the treatment system. Treatment systems that can amplify processing by reuse and even initial processing of water sources at the least cost are in high demand. The Active Water Solutions (AWS) system has proven to be capable of such processing. Using proven biological methods which have low energy requirements as well as low initial and life time costs, the AWS system approach is well suited for a wide variety of both treat to discharge as well as treat to reuse applications.

If you are actively looking for wastewater treatment technology that has industrial reuse capabilities, contact us today to learn more about our advanced treatment technologies.

The Need For Better Wastewater Technologies in Rural America

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We often hear about urbanization globally. More and more people are moving to the city. At the same time there are many people moving out of the city looking for a quieter and slower pace of life.  People looking for quiet green countryside, friendly neighborhoods, and pristine lakes, streams, and rivers. While these words conjure images of a Norman Rockwell existence the reality is that a number of households in many small and rural communities in the U.S. lack adequate facilities for the proper collection, treatment, and disposal of wastewater not only protecting their quality of life but their health as well.

The average home in the US uses 75 to 100 gallons of water per person per day. When people "use" water it doesn't go away; it becomes dirty and is wastewater or sewage. We typically don’t even think about where our wastewater might go once it’s gone. Out of sight out of mind, Right? The reality is that that waste often wreaks havoc on our greater ecosystem if not disposed of properly. Wastewater contains pathogens (disease organisms), nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, etc.), solids (organic, inorganic), chemicals (from cleaners, disinfectants, medications) and water. Our poor environment can be decimated by all that we put into it. As individuals and members of a larger community, everyone must take responsibility for wastewater generated in their community. We need to start looking a new and improved ways of taking care of this unglamorous but highly important aspect of daily life.

To ensure ideal and most appropriate technology for the community, leadership must have clear goals and specific criteria during the decision process.  The wastewater treatment solution that is chosen must provide the community with effective and manageable wastewater treatment at a reasonable and viable cost.

It’s important to remember that no two communities will have the same criteria, location or soil conditions, so looking at packaged systems can be the most beneficial and easiest option. Packaged plants like the scalable and customizable packaged treatment plants manufactured by Active Water Solutions can be very effective in alleviating the treatment challenges rural communities face. The AWS packaged treatment plants can be an easier more plug and play option for those looking to keep costs at a minimum and avoiding major infrastructure debt. The AWS systems can serve communities of 100 residents to 1,500 residents with minimal service and operations cost over the lifetime of the product.

Engaging all of the members of the community early in the decision-making process leads to the best solutions and encourages responsibility. Finding appropriate technological solutions to a community's wastewater problems is the easy part because of technologies like the AWS packaged wastewater treatment solutions. Working together as a community can ultimately be the biggest challenge to overcome.

Interested in learning more about AWS wastewater treatment solutions? Contact Us Today. 

Advanced Wastewater Technologies Helping Developing Countries

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The World Millennium Development Goals were set up by the United Nations in 2000 in an effort to help solve our global poverty crisis by 2015. It’s now 2018 and we can look back fondly at all that was accomplished, as well as all that still needs much more work. 

According to the World Bank, sanitation was one of the most off-track Millennium Development Goals (MDG) globally. Only 68% of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation, but 70% of the Sub-Saharan Africa population and 53% of South Asia still lack access. The world missed the MDG target for sanitation by almost 700 million people. Lack of sanitation not only causes major health related issues but it also holds back economic growth.

The economic losses that were found were mainly due to premature death, cost of treatment in healthcare facilities and lost productivity due to contaminated water systems. Lack of treatment has profound long-term impacts on populations.

Most people cite the high cost of implementing sanitation technologies and infrastructure as a barrier but the reality is that the cost of not implementing sanitation services and infrastructure can mean even higher costs in the long run. Many countries don’t put sanitation on the top of the priority list because many are dealing with political unrest, food supply issues as well as education and medical treatment of their citizens.  Many countries are dealing in the near term because they can’t look beyond what is happening today.  The long term strategy can be challenging,  making it only more costly. Most people are aware that poor sanitation has a health impact, but there is a lack of awareness of the extent of the economic implications as well. 

Many of our global urban centers are in desperate need of infrastructure upgrades due to rapidly growing urban populations. With advancements in wastewater sanitation technologies like Active Water Solutions we can help move the needle by decreasing waterborne illnesses and reusing the valuable but limited resources that are available.

The infographic below shows the real cost of prolonging sanitation development globally.

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Global Increase in Packaged Water Treatment Systems

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Market research provider Market Research Future has just released an in-depth report detailing information about the Global Packaged Water Treatment System Market (GPWTSM). Based on the information and data the GPWTSM is projected to experience a period of expansion over the next six years resulting in 11% growth above the compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Overall gross is anticipated to top $22 billion by the year 2022. 

But what does this mean for businesses in this sector? 

There is a broad range of factors resulting in this projected growth, not least of which is an increased overall interest in preserving and protecting the environment. As environmental impact and issues like global warming move to the forefront of public discourse, government bodies are beginning to set increasingly strict regulations for the disposal of wastewater in communities everywhere. As a result, the interest and demand for portable solutions that dramatically decrease the time involved in processing wastewater rise significantly. Solutions like these can be quickly brought to rural areas and towns with less cost and less intensive installation. 

Population Growth & Water Scarcity
Another reason for this projected expansion is an overall growth in populations all over the world, communities in need of safe, clean and low-cost water treatments. As cities become more engorged with people and rural areas expand as well, these areas are in need of sustainable treatments for drinking water to ensure consistent service to their residents while keeping tabs on expenditures.

Finally, fresh water supplies are becoming increasingly difficult to access and utilize. Droughts in areas like California have shown that readily available sources of drinking water are no longer a given, and many municipalities are searching for more reliable solutions for their residents’ needs.

Fast Growing Regions
When it comes to which regions are the largest and fastest growing, there are few surprises. North America is listed as first, followed closely behind by Africa and the Middle-east region. The projected high growth in North America is due largely in part to the droughts and water needs in areas like California and Arizona, as well as government regulations.

Technology Solutions
Treatment systems that can amplify processing by reuse and even initial processing of water sources at the least cost will soon be in even higher demand as we face more and more severe drought zones. Advanced technologies such as Active Water Solutions (AWS) wastewater treatment and reuse systems, have proven to be capable of cutting costs while providing superior water treatment in decentralized locations, globally.

Interested in learning more about Active Water Solutions advanced water treatment technologies? Contact Us Today. 

23 Counties in Violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act

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The ever-aging water infrastructure in the United States has become an increasing cause for concern, and environmental factors and pollution have done nothing to help drinking water quality. Since 1974 with the passing of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that 23 counties in the United States are in egregious violation, citing more than 15,000 instances of harmful levels of chemicals in municipal water supplies all over the country. While some contaminants are naturally occurring, an increase in industrial activity within the recent decade has seen a disturbingly large increase in chemicals and other harmful particulates seeping into surrounding ecosystems and groundwater.


Between September 30th, 1980 to July 3rd, 2017, the EPA found that out of the 23 counties in violation, Dona Ana County in New Mexico had the lowest amount of contamination violations. With 52 violations in total, the most recent issued in November of 2008, the EPA found unsafe levels of uranium in the county’s drinking water supply. While uranium naturally exists in the environment, levels have increased to harmful amounts, most likely due to the NASA White Sands Test Facility where missile tests have historically been performed.


Unfortunately, the 52 violations that the EPA gave Dona Ana County pales in comparison to the 231 recorded violations found in Cumberland County, North Carolina. With a water system that serves nearly 16,000 residents, Cumberland County has the highest amount of violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, with the most recent violation having been issued in May of 2009. Much like uranium, radium is a naturally occurring element. However, increased exposure to the element’s radioactivity has been linked to increased risk of anemia and bone cancer.


Other contaminants that the EPA has found in the American public water system include trihalomethanes (TTHM) and haloacetic acids, which are byproducts of chemicals which are commonly used to disinfect water for drinking purposes. Unfortunately, recent studies have found a link between TTHM and haloacetic acids and an increased risk of cancers, as well as certain birth defects when ingested in high concentrations or over-exposure. In addition to these substances, the EPA has also cited other contaminants such as fecal coliform, which is known to cause gastrointestinal illnesses, fever, and other flu-like symptoms.


While many counties have taken measures to increase drinking water quality, further analysis for the data collected by the EPA shows that those counties with the highest amount of violations also happen to be the most economically poor. With few financial resources, it is understandably difficult to make the necessary changes to reverse these violations. Without external funding from the state or the federal government, such violations may continue to plague counties all over the United States.

If you are interested in learning more about advanced water treatment technologies connect with us today. 
 

The Pharma Challenge. What Can We Do About It?

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The existence of pharmaceuticals in the environment and the water supply in small amounts (nanograms to low micrograms per gallon) has been widely discussed and published over the past decade. The increase in detection is primarily attributable to the advances in analytical techniques and instrumentation.

Though the chemical and drug companies denounce any danger from exposure to these low concentration drug residues in water, science and common sense says otherwise. Studies show drug residue cocktails do cause harm. A 2006 study conducted by University of Insubria in Italy simulated water that was drug-polluted by creating a low-level concoction of various drug residues and testing it on embryonic cells. The scientists discovered that, even at low doses, the drug residues stopped cells from reproducing. Although current water contamination levels are measured and researched in parts per million or parts per billion, there is not currently a way to understand just how much exposure citizens experience what those effects are. People regularly drink contaminated water, shower in contaminated water and cook with contaminated water; this suggests that the exposure to contaminants could be huge.

How Do We Fix This Problem? 
Conventional wastewater treatment facilities typically utilize activated sludge processes or other forms of biological treatment such as biofiltration. These methods have demonstrated varying removal rates for pharmaceuticals, but are usually not very effective. There are newer and more advanced technologies that are being deployed as a more suitable alternative than AS. Newer technologies have proven more effective and better at removing pharmaceuticals than ever before. One such technology developed by Active Water Solutions called the DynaFlow I has proven itself to be one of the most cost effective solutions in helping to remove pharmaceuticals from the water supply.

In the bigger picture, the EPA has taken a four-pronged approach that involves public education, closer monitoring of water supplies, partnering with health care institutions and agricultural entities to reduce waste. New regulation will most certainly be on the radar of most political heads shortly. As a first step toward possible regulation, the EPA has added ten pharmaceutical compounds, one antibiotic and nine hormones, to its watch list of potentially harmful contaminants that warrant greater investigation.

Many people believe that removing pharmaceuticals by boiling water is an effective treatment of their water, this is not the reality of how to treat pharma contaminated water sources. Experts have proven that boiling water to remove drug residue is not a valid option. If you think bottled water is a way to get away from the low levels of drugs found in some public water supplies, you would be mistaken. According to an NRDC report, Twenty-five percent of bottled water comes from the tap. Bottled water labels are regulated by the FDA, to help consumers know what is inside but, if bottled water companies use water from municipal sources and do not treat it further to purify it, then it is useless to use them as a way to get rid of pharmaceuticals. 

There is a long road to travel before we solve this major issue of the 21st century. We have only begun to realize the implications of pharma in our water streams. Recognizing and identifying that it's an important discussion is the first step in addressing this complex and challenging problem that has global implications. 

Interested in learning more about advanced technologies that can help remove pharmaceuticals from your water streams. Contact us today. 

The Real Cost of US Infrastructure Problems

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In this new era of shiny, pretty, and hip new technologies, we have gotten very good at turning a blind eye to the things that we know need to be addressed. One of the most important of those is the aging wastewater treatment infrastructure. The time has come for us to wake up and pay attention to the new challenges that we are being faced with. Much of our drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, the million miles of pipes beneath our streets, is nearing the end of its useful life and approaching the age at which it needs to be replaced. And as our population brings significant growth to urban areas of the country, the need for better and more robust treatment systems is here.

According to the AWWA study, Buried No Longer: Confronting America’s Water Infrastructure Challenge¹, if we are to maintain even the current levels of water service, restoring existing water systems and expanding them to serve a growing population will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years.

Let’s take a look at that number. One trillion dollars may seem to be a lot of money but postponing infrastructure investments in the near term will only add to the problems we will face in the years to come. According to the AWWA if we don’t begin to solve this problem our costs of fixing our water infrastructure could double to over $2 trillion if action isn’t taken now.

Another point that we need to remember is, not only will the cost to implement new infrastructure increase, but it also increases the odds of facing the extraordinarily high costs associated with water main breaks and other catastrophic infrastructure failures. We need to keep in mind that the $1 trillion needed doesn’t need to be invested over night. It will by fiscal necessity be spread out over the next 20 years. But, if we act now there is time to plan and implement policies that will get us on the right track and headed for a more definite future.

Business as usual, is not an answer to this problem. Not only do we as residents need reliable water systems but all of us, public and private rely heavily on our infrastructure.  If we choose to wait to address the updating of our water systems our economy may be in jeopardy because of rising costs and the loss of valuable marketshare.

With the recent atrocity in Flint, Michigan where thousands of people were poisoned by lead contaminated drinking water, we know easy fixes will not suffice and that action must be taken.  We can’t delay the inevitable and with the costs inevitably rising now is the time when new technologies can be implemented and encouraged. Status quo won’t work anymore.

There are many actions that we can take as a community and as a country to ensure that our water infrastructure lasts for generations and that our economic future is safe.  Can we really afford not to?

Interested in learning more about how advanced technologies can help alleviate our infrastructure problems at a fraction of the cost? Learn more here. 

 

¹ http://www.awwa.org/Portals/0/files/legreg/documents/BuriedNoLonger.pdf

Our Biggest Water Crisis To Come

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As the population of the United States and the world keeps growing, more pressure is put on our water resources. There are very few individuals that don’t think that we will eventually have some sort of water resource issue in the near future.

The United States Geological Survey has been running a long term survey asking this very question. What will be the biggest water problem in the coming years? To date, there have been over 83,000 participants and respondents to the survey from across the United States.  The survey asks the participants to choose from five answers to that question. 

  • We will not have enough water

  • Our water will be too polluted

  • Drinking water will be unsafe

  • Water systems will break down

  • There won’t be a water problem

When looking at the state to state answers its astounding to see the huge variance in answers based on geographic location. California resident’s response was overwhelmingly in favor of the idea that we will not have enough water with 41% of them choosing this answer.

The Western half of the US is already in the midst of not having enough water in many locations, a true present crisis. While 37% of Colorado residents responded that they didn’t think the US has a water problem at all.  What we found most interesting was that largest total response of all fifty state with 39% of the total votes went to the idea that our water will be too polluted in the next 10 years.

While pollution is certainly a major issue that we all must concern ourselves with, there are technologies out there that can certainly help fight and solve our pollution problems. There are Innovative technologies that have been developed to help combat pollution while conserving water that is efficient, effective and to be deployed.

What do you think our biggest water crisis will be in the next 10 years? Take the quiz and see how others voted. If you are interested in learning more about technologies that help solve some of our most serious water problems, contact us today. We’re revolutionizing the way we treat water, one gallon at a time.

Corporations Face Economic Impact of Water Scarcity

Global climate change is the hot topic of our daily conversations these days. Drought stricken cities, groundwater depletion and storm water contamination are all challenges that will continue to be hotbeds of discussion. While we as individuals are concerned for our future of water and how it affects our daily lives, we often forget about the implications of water scarcity for our industrial needs and economic stability. Water is used in every facet of business. Industries that produce metals, wood, paper, chemicals, gasoline, oils, and most other products all use water in some part of their production process. Every industry utilizes water in some capacity. Industry depends on water, much like agriculture and domestic households depend on water. Industrial reliance on water makes it essential to preserve water in every aspect possible and make sure water pollution is kept at minimal levels.

Over the past decade, water treatment manufacturers have made huge technological strides that now make it possible to treat wastewater for a variety of industrial reuse. Even in developing countries, industries are moving towards wastewater reuse and source separation. The treatment of separated effluents is also gaining more attention globally. Wastewater reuse potential in different industries depends on waste volume, concentration and characteristics, best available treatment technologies, operation and maintenance costs, availability of raw water, and effluent standards.

The reality is that we haven’t even begun to solve our challenges with water consumption, conservation, and reuse but there are ways to begin to change the way we look at and consume water. According to a study put out by the EPA, there are five top ways that industries can approach the way we utilize and change the way we use water in industrial applications. 

  • Water reduction in the process (for example, less water consumed per unit produced)

  • Energy reduction in operations (addressing the “water cost of energy”)  

  • Enhanced monitoring and automated control of water use  Increased vigilance and control of indirect water consumption (for example, leaky pipes, running hoses, vehicle cleaning, dust suppression)  

  • “Fitness-for-use,” which involves treating water and wastewater to the minimum needed for the specific purpose in an industrial process, including using water in progressively less demanding processes  

  • Water reuse, which requires both energy and additional capital investment.

When looking at our water crisis now most can agree that it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. There are approaches that we must begin to look at as alternatives to the status quo. If our industries along with our communities can work together on water conservation and reuse initiatives we might have a fighting chance for the future.

Interested in learning more about a wastewater treatment and reuse system that is revolutionizing how we treat wastewater? Contact us today. 

Water Re-Use Proposes Huge Gains for California Water Reserves

California’s use of recycled wastewater has increased since 2009, rising by nearly 45,000 acre-feet. The increase has been so substantial in fact, that in 2015, recycled water yield surpassed 700,000 acre-feet – an impressive amount of growth over a period of just six years. 

For some people, especially the many water recycling and reuse advocates, these numbers are disappointing. Some had hoped that the yield and the subsequent growth would have been much higher than was has transpired. Fortunately, the projection for future forward growth is estimated to exceed one million acre-feet of water in the coming years. This substantial yield is targeted to enhance the supply of drinking water as well as mitigate the need to use clean, potable water, to meet irrigation needs of agriculture and industry demands. 

Much to the pleasure of water recycling and reuse advocates, some information reflected in the less than anticipated water yield results survey may have been misrepresented. Taking into consideration all of the components reflects that California’s recent droughts and water conservation initiatives may have heavily skewed the reflection of the capabilities of the water recycling and reuse industry over the course of years past.

For instance, the recycling and reuse of water was measured during the years in which California suffered immense drought. The government mandated water conservation caused water usage to be reduced by an impressive 25%. However, the reduction of water use subsequently caused a reduction in the availability and supply of wastewater, thus reducing the overall possible yield of recycled wastewater inevitably. 

Also, a major factor in the halt of substantial growth in recycled water yield is due to the economic challenges the state faces. While water initiatives are well supported socially and from an environmental standpoint, financially the funds just haven’t been available to move forward. The support of the community and the knowledge for implementation will only take a project so far – eventually, the potential for growth and the final outcome is dependent upon the availability of finances sufficient to support the initiative. 

With the majority of water recycling and reuse projects taking place in seasonal irrigation efforts, the capabilities aren’t being used to their full potential – and water authorities and conservation advocates are aware. Taking main focus for future conservation endeavors is treatment and reuse of household potable water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene practice. Such usage is steady year-round, lending more potential to increase reuse yields. 

With initiatives for water conservation as valuable as they are to California’s future, one thing is certain: water recycling will become a common household practice. With sufficient funding and the community’s continued support, water recycling and reuse will secure a more solid and sustainable future for California for the foreseeable future and generations to come.  

Interested in learning more about advanced water treatment technologies that can help sustain water conservation efforts? Contact us today.