Tucson, Arizona’s Potable Water Reuse Pilot Project wins WateReuse Arizona Project of the Year award

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Source: CH2M Hill Companies, Ltd.

The award, which was presented at the Arizona Water Reuse 2016 Symposium, recognizes outstanding contributions to the water reuse industry within the state of Arizona.

WateReuse Arizona has selected Tucson, Arizona’s Potable Water Reuse Pilot as its 2016 Project of the Year recipient. The award, which was presented at the Arizona Water Reuse 2016 Symposium in Flagstaff, held July 24-26, recognizes outstanding contributions to the water reuse industry within the state of Arizona.

The six-month pilot test was conducted by CH2M under a tailored collaboration project between Tucson Water and the University of Arizona for the WateReuse Research Foundation (WRRF-13-09). The project was led by Larry Schimmoller, CH2M’s Global Technology Leader for Water Reuse, along with Jeff Biggs from Tucson Water and Dr. Shane Snyder from the University of Arizona.

The scheme consisted of multiple barriers to treat secondary effluent for the purpose of potable reuse including soil aquifer treatment (SAT) using Tucson Water’s existing Sweetwater Recharge Basins, side-stream nanofiltration (NF), ozone (O3) and granular activated carbon filtration in both adsorption and biological modes (GAC/BAC). The pilot demonstrated excellent finished water quality, the benefits of multiple treatment barriers in reducing organics and pathogens, as well as the superiority of side-stream nanofiltration treatment as a sustainable and cost effective alternative to reverse osmosis (RO) treatment.

These findings are significant, as preliminary studies have focused on the use of a dual-membrane treatment approach (microfiltration, RO and ultraviolet advanced oxidation) commonly used in California as an effective method for Tucson to meet future goals for potable reuse. However, implementation for RO-based projects for inland communities, such as Tucson, is challenging because of the environmental difficulty and high cost of disposing of the waste stream generated by the RO process. The success of this SAT-NF-O3-GAC/BAC pilot provides the City of Tucson and Tucson Water with an alternative treatment approach for potable reuse that is robust, cost-effective and sustainable in the long term.

'The results confirm that potable reuse is a viable renewable water source for the future. Tucson Water, at the appropriate time, can move forward in our planning program with confidence,' said Jeff Biggs, Tucson Water Recycled Water Program Manager.

“For more than 50 years, CH2M has been a leader in water reuse and was named the 2015 Stockholm Industry Water Award recipient for our work in advancing state-of-the-art water reuse technologies and our leadership in potable water reuse,” said CH2M Global Water Business Group President Peter Nicol. “We are honored to be recognized for the innovative and sustainable potable reuse project we piloted with our client to help the greater Tucson community meet its water supply needs.”

The WateReuse Research Foundation (now Water Environment & Reuse Foundation) published the final report for this project, Potable Reuse for Inland Locations: Pilot Testing Results from a New Potable Reuse Treatment Scheme – Potable Reuse Investigation in Tucson, AZ, in August 2016. Winning the WateReuse Arizona award makes the project eligible for a national WateReuse Association Innovative Project of the Year award, which will be presented at the 31st Annual WateReuse Symposium, scheduled for September 11-14, in Tampa, Florida.

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