Water reuse is becoming increasingly important for modern societies
Water reuse is becoming increasingly important for modern societies. Especially those based in arid regions. Examples include well-known sites such as Water Factory 21 in California’s Orange County Water District and the NEWater project in Singapore. Scientists and engineers are increasingly concerned about emerging contaminants in wastewater treatment plant effluent.
Wastewater is becoming one of the world’s greatest sustainable resources. Nutrient recovery has emerged as an attractive option for wastewater treatment plants in planning or upgrading sites.
Since the recovered products have valuable secondary uses, this process can potentially allow plants to generate alternative revenue streams that can offset operation and management costs.
In the second half of the 20th century, nutrient removal became the main challenge because of eutrophication. Engineers are focusing on developing more compact treatment options. These efforts have yielded a whole range of new processes and devices such as moving bed biofilm reactors and biological aerated filters.
Phosphorus recovery for example, has been achieved in some wastewater treatment plants both in the US and Europe. The energy contained in wastewater and waste solids is significantly higher than the energy required for their treatment.
However, endocrine disruptors and personal care products are typical of these contaminants, which pose great challenges for water re-use. Overall, the NEW concept, which stands for nutrient, energy and water, is emerging as a trend in wastewater treatment plants.
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