Our selection of open access publications on water reuse – June 2024

Our selection of open access publications on water reuse – June 2024

18th June 2024 Highlighted research newsletter 0


Our selection this quarter includes open-access articles published in Nature Portfolio, IWA Publishing, Taylor & Francis and Elsevier, on sustainable wastewater reuse for agriculture, demo-scale up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor coupled with hybrid constructed wetlands for energy-carbon efficient agricultural wastewater reuse in decentralized scenarios, public acceptance in direct potable water reuse, virus surrogates throughout a full-scale advanced water reuse system, and more…Enjoy reading!

Agricultural Water Reuse

Title: Sustainable wastewater reuse for agriculture

Authors: Christou, A., Beretsou, V.G., Iakovides, I.C.et al.

In: Nature Review Earth Environment

Publisher: Nature Portfolio

Abstract: Effective management of water resources is crucial for global food security and sustainable development. In this Review, we explore the potential benefits and challenges associated with treated wastewater (TW) reuse for irrigation. Currently, 400 km3 yr−1 of wastewater is generated globally, but <20% is treated, and of that TW, only 2–15% is reused for irrigation depending on region. The main limitation of TW for irrigation is the inability of current treatment technologies to completely remove all micropollutants and contaminants of emerging concern, some of which have unknown impacts on crops, environment and health. However, advanced water treatment and reuse schemes, supported by water quality monitoring and regulations, can provide a stable water supply for agricultural production, as demonstrated in regions such as the USA and Israel. Such schemes could potentially serve a net energy source, as the embedded energy in wastewater exceeds treatment needs by 9 to 10 times. Agriculturally useful nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium could be also recovered and reused. TW reuse for irrigation could act as a major contributor to a circular economy and sustainable development, but the first steps will be funding and implementation of advanced and sustainable treatment technologies and social acceptance.

Available here.

Title: Demo-scale up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor coupled with hybrid constructed wetlands for energy-carbon efficient agricultural wastewater reuse in decentralized scenarios

Authors: Mancuso G., Foglia A., Chioggia F., Drei P., Eusebi A.L., Lavrnić S., Siroli L., Carrozzini L.M., Fatone F., Toscano A.

In: Journal of Environmental Management

Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract: The impact of climate change on water availability and quality has affected agricultural irrigation. The use of treated wastewater can alleviate water in agriculture. Nevertheless, it is imperative to ensure proper treatment of wastewater before reuse, in compliance with current regulations of this practice. In decentralized agricultural scenarios, the lack of adequate treatment facilities poses a challenge in providing treated wastewater for irrigation. Hence, there is a critical need to develop and implement innovative, feasible, and sustainable treatment solutions to secure the use of this alternative water source. This study proposes the integration of intensive treatment solutions and natural treatment systems, specifically, the combination of up-flow anaerobic sludge blanket reactor (UASB), anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR), constructed wetlands (CWs), and ultraviolet (UV) disinfection. For this purpose, a novel demo-scale plant was designed, constructed and implemented to test wastewater treatment and evaluate the capability of the proposed system to provide an effluent with a quality in compliance with the current European wastewater reuse regulatory framework. In addition, carbon-sequestration and energy analyses were conducted to assess the sustainability of the proposed treatment approach. This research confirmed that UASB rector can be employed for biogas production (2.5 L h−1) and energy recovery from organic matter degradation, but its effluent requires further treatment steps to be reused in agricultural irrigation. The AnMBR effluent complied with class A standards for E. coli, boasting a concentration of 0 CFU 100 mL−1, and nearly negligible TSS levels. However, further reduction of BOD5 (35 mg L−1) is required to reach water quality class A. CWs efficiently produced effluent with BOD5 below 10 mg L−1 and TSS close to 0 mg L−1, making it suitable for water reuse and meeting class A standards. Furthermore, CWs demonstrated significantly higher energy efficiency compared to intensive treatment systems. Nonetheless, the inclusion of a UV disinfection unit after CWs was required to attain water class B standards.

Available here.

Public Perception in Water Reuse

Title: Public acceptance in direct potable water reuse: a call for incorporating responsible research and innovation

Authors: Moesker K., Pesch U., Doorn N.

In: Journal of Responsible Innovation

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Abstract: As global issues such as climate change and diminishing resources become increasingly pressing, water recycling has moved into the focus. However, the successful implementation of Direct Potable Water Reuse (DPR) projects hinges on securing public acceptance, which remains challenging. This paper aims to flesh out possible reasons for the lingering public rejection of DPR. We will do so by conducting a literature review on how public acceptance is understood and what approaches are proposed to enhance it. These approaches are analyzed using Responsible Research and Innovation principles and the `opening up’, ‘closing down’ and `leaving ajar’ approaches. Our research identifies an overreliance on the controversial information deficit model, closing down large parts of public engagement. We advocate for becoming more inclusive through the `leaving ajar’ approach. Particularly, attention should be paid to reflexivity and responsiveness to public concerns to ensure meaningful public engagement.

Available here.

Virus and Pathogens Monitoring In Water Reuse Schemes

Title: Virus surrogates throughout a full-scale advanced water reuse system

Authors: Schmitz B.W., Polanco J.A., Chen H., Manaktala A., Gu X., Goh S.G., Gin K.Y.H.

In: Water Research

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd

Abstract: Water reuse as an alternative water supply is increasing throughout the world due to water stress and scarcity; however, there are no standard practices for monitoring virus pathogens in such systems. This study aimed to identify suitable surrogates for virus fate, transport, and removal throughout a water reuse scheme. Various microbial targets (11 viruses, two phage, and three bacteria) were monitored using molecular and culture methods across all treatment stages in a wastewater reclamation facility and advanced water treatment facility. Criteria were established for identifying suitable surrogates, which included reliable detection, observable fate and transport, calculable log-reduction values (LRVs), correlations with other targets, and various morphological types. In total, five viruses (PMMoV, AiV, GII NoV, AdV, FRNA GII) met these stringent criteria and were suggested as potential virus surrogates. These surrogates enabled successful comparison of assigned versus actual LRVs throughout a water reuse scheme. Results suggest that virus pathogens are effectively removed throughout water reuse treatment and the suggested surrogates can be utilized for monitoring treatment performance and ensuring public health safety. This study provides a framework that water utilities across the world can reference for establishing virus monitoring practices.

Available here.

Water Reuse In Rural Areas

Title: Technical and economic impact of water reuse as an integrated water resource management measure in rural water supply systems

Authors: Angelova I., Alitchkov D., Radovanov V.

In: Water Supply

Publisher: IWA Publishing

Abstract: Water reuse becomes an alternative to reduce the demand in the conventional water supply systems, especially in regions, where non-potable use of drinking water, as for garden and grass irrigation, is predominant. This study evaluates the footprint of reuse on small water supply systems in rural areas, where raw water quality does not meet the drinking water standards and complicated treatment is needed. Individual facilities for reuse of potential rainwater, light gray, gray and domestic wastewater in the households could lead to a decrease in non-potable tap water use up to 60% and a decrease of households’ annual expenses for water supply up to 93 /household. The installation of individual facilities for common reuse of rainwater and gray wastewater requires the highest investment costs, but the option`s operational costs are between 15% and 20% lower than all other options considered. The Drinking Water Treatment Plant capacity reduction due to Integrated Water Resource Management measures implementation enables from 48% up to 58% saving in the total operational costs for drinking water supply in the settlement. The shortest payback period and best economic impact of reuse for small scale water supply systems is observed if rainwater and gray wastewater are reused together.

Available here.

Membrane Technologies for Water Reuse

Title: Gravity-driven ultrafiltration and nanofiltration recycled membranes for tertiary treatment of urban wastewater

Authors: Sabio B.Z., Pacheco R.G., Pàrraga P.V., Bernades I.A., Sales H.M., Blandin G.

In: Journal of Water Process Engineering

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd

Abstract: Water scarcity push towards increased number of desalination plants which suppose an exponential increase of end-of-life (EOL) reverse osmosis (RO) membranes. This research is focused on converting EOL RO membranes into ultrafiltration- (UF-like) and nanofiltration-like (NF-like) membranes to be used as tertiary treatment for water reuse. Converted UF- and NF-like membranes were installed in a gravity driven membrane (GDM) setup. The system was fed with secondary effluent of an urban wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Girona (Spain), operated during 6 weeks with a driving force of 0,184 bar, applying daily membrane flushing and, chemical cleaning after 2–3 weeks of operation. UF-like membrane achieved permeabilities of 12,2 and 8,8 L·m−2·h−1·bar−1 pre- and post-chemical cleaning respectively. NF-like membranes demonstrated also to be of interest for GDM systems, achieving permeabilities of 2,2 and 3,4 L·m−2·h−1·bar−1 pre- and post-chemical cleaning respectively. High permeate quality was obtained with turbidity rejection above 87,2 % and Escherichia coli (E. coli) Logarithmic removal value (LRV) of 4 and 5 for UF-like and NF-like membrane respectively. UF-like and NF-like membranes installed in a GDM system allowed to produce recycled water in accordance with Real Decreto 1620/2007 positioning it as a low-cost, and compliant solution for water reuse applications.

Available here.


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