Decentralized Water Treatment for Rural America
Localizing treatment with modular plants can overcome many obstacles, including financial ones
Rural water utilities in the United States may strive to deliver the best in updated infrastructure and high-quality services for their customers, but they face a number of financial, technical, and political challenges.
With a smaller, more spread-out customer base than their urban counterparts, money is often tight for rural utilities, a problem that may be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Scant resources leave very little margin for error in infrastructure investment decisions.
The expense, both CAPEX and OPEX, of running pipelines to widely situated residences make centralized treatment prohibitively expensive, and residents may not have the resources to install and maintain their own septic systems, especially on clay soils that fail perc tests.
Some rural utilities have turned to consolidation with larger utilities, but local areas may not want to cede control. And although consolidation was recommended recently for many small rural systems in California, the process proved lengthy and expensive.
Despite the potential costs involved, sanitation is imperative, as evidenced by the explosion in hookworm infections recently discovered in the rural South.
The good news is that a decentralized water and wastewater treatment strategy — that is, installing small plants at the point of need — can provide excellent local treatment for rural water systems without needing to connect to a centralized plant.
Water Treatment Technology That Slashes Energy Costs
At Fluence, we design and engineer units with rural water and wastewater treatment concerns in mind, and we know the importance of keeping costs low and quality high.
For example, Fluence Aspiral™ wastewater treatment units use proven, efficient membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology to deliver water that is ready for nonpotable reuse while slashing energy costs.
When it comes to water treatment, Fluence NIROBOX™ reverse osmosis (RO) units provide water purification and desalination. NIROBOX™ plants are energy efficient, low maintenance, and can be configured with a number of different filtration, disinfection, and polishing stages depending on source water and target quality.
Water Treatment Units That Provide Maximum Flexibility
Because Fluence units are packaged in standard shipping containers, they can be delivered to remote regions and installed with little site preparation and low energy requirements. The containerized units, some as small as 20 feet in length, make scaling simple with the addition or removal of units, which can be moved or sold as conditions change.
While large-scale infrastructure brings down water price points by leveraging economies of scale, modular treatment keeps costs down by building plants at a facility rather than on site, by keeping installation costs low, and most importantly, by minimizing the need for pipelines to a central plant.
Finally, Fluence modular plants are designed to be operated and monitored remotely by nonspecialized workers, backed up by responsive Fluence support and service.
When wastewater is treated in the community that generates it, there is also an opportunity for safe, beneficial water reuse for nonpotable applications such as agricultural irrigation. Water treated with Fluence solutions exceeds the toughest reuse standards in the world, including California’s Title 22 and China’s Class 1A.
How Can Fluence Help?
Whether your rural service area needs water purification, wastewater treatment, or a full water cycle solution, Fluence’s Aspiral™, NIROBOX™, and Water Management Services provide the equipment to make decentralized treatment a reality. And with all of the most popular public-private partnership contract models available, it can be a reality with no up-front investment. Contact Fluence and talk to our experts about how a modular solution tailored to your community can change lives.