A Deeper Look into Decentralized Water Reuse
Specialized wastewater treatment & reuse systems provide sustainable infrastructure solution
Water is a vital resource in the operations of many industrial processes. The increasing demands for water for agricultural, drinking and industrial processes has put significant strain on global freshwater supplies as the world’s population continues to grow.
In many parts of the world, the demand for water has exceeded the supplies of traditional water sources like groundwater and surface water. In the U.S.—especially in the Southwest region, including California—the high demands and short supply of water have forced water use restrictions on both industrial and residential water users.
This situation is forcing serious discussions by private entities and governmental agencies to develop strategies to incorporate alternative water sources while implementing more efficient ways to use and reuse water.
Sustainable solutions will be required to mitigate the effects of climate change, reduce habitat degradation and provide for continued global population growth.
Wastewater is becoming recognized as a significant water resource for non-potable applications worldwide. Large centralized wastewater facilities often treat and discharge this resource rather than recycling and reusing it due to the costs associated with transporting the treated water back to the source.
This paradigm shift has led to discussion of the utilization of a decentralized wastewater reuse approach that can be sustainably implemented on a community level as well as in a commercial or industrial setting to optimally capture, treat and reuse this water resource.
Decentralized systems play a pivotal role in an emerging “green, clean, smart” paradigm for water resource design and management. Recycled water can satisfy many non-potable water demands, as long as the water is adequately treated for the intended application.
In the U.S., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the states regulate different aspects of the treatment of wastewater and have established criteria for reuse water use.