Reuse of treated wastewater for non-potable use (ReUse)

Population growth, increasing living standards, but also environmental hazards with global climate change as the most significant are all contributing to an increasing water stress in many parts of the world. While access to fresh water for drinking water is getting more costly due to environmental pollution, uses of drinking water conflicts with water needs for agricultural and industrial use, which are in need of substantial water quantities. The use of reclaimed wastewater for non-potable purposes provides a solution for this. This is not new and has in fact been applied in many regions as the main water management approach. As water scarcity becomes more severe, also the need for more sustainable and holistic approaches to deal with our limited fresh water resources becomes more and more obvious. The traditional one-way water handling approach, with end-of-pipe treatment releasing “clean” effluent water to nature, has to be converted into a society-internal water reuse scheme where different water qualities and water uses are considered as an integral part of the water cycle.

The present report presents activities and results from an international project that aimed at developing and optimizing water treatment processes and systems for sustainable reuse of treated wastewater. The starting point is to combine the sequential batch treatment (SBR, sequencing batch reactors) with different conventional and emerging secondary and tertiary treatment techniques in various combinations, optimized from an overall sustainability perspective. Evaluation and optimization is achieved using life cycle assessment and life cycle cost assessment and their combination.

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