LOS ANGELES—OriginClear Inc., a leader in decentralized water treatment, has published an industry white paper which finds that, by treating water on-site using a Modular Water System (MWS), businesses can greatly reduce water costs, improve the environment and even combat global warming.
Highlights of the white paper include the current state of the U.S centralized water treatment, a 1950s type model that is aging and growing increasingly antiquated. This outdated infrastructure is falling badly behind: a 2015 report by the American Water Works Association estimates that the cost of restoring underground pipes will total at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years, without including the cost of constructing new infrastructure or repairing treatment plants.
With the U.S. government already greatly financially burdened, the weight of repair to water infrastructure falls primarily on the ratepayers.
An additional problem is that cities are now built-up, and digging for new mains and facilities is lengthy, difficult, costly, and extremely troublesome to businesses and consumers.
And, local community activists can be extremely effective in slowing or even stopping disruptive urban projects.
Sewage Can Leak Into Groundwater
Finally, shipping dirty water to a central point for treatment violates modern sustainability standards, especially when the system is structurally broken. When the sewage must travel, it leaks into the groundwater, gets lost and sits in lagoons where the build-up of methane, carbon, nitrogen and phosphorous contributes significantly to global warming and harms the environment.
A look at typical municipal sewage collection shows:
- Groundwater pollution occurs when piping systems leak untreated wastewater into the ground, which carries along nutrient pollution that contaminates groundwater.
- Air pollution occurs when sewage collection systems experience built-up methane due to anaerobic conditions that exist in all sewers. The methane off-gases into the atmosphere contributing far more serious contribution to climate change than carbon dioxide.
- Formation of hydrogen sulfide gas in sewers contributes to the build-up of sulfuric acid, which destroys the concrete materials in modern sewer systems.
- Sewer utilities are expected to treat higher hydraulic and organic loads that are not efficient enough to provide the level of treatment needed to protect the environment.
The global impact to the environment from centralized systems shows that more than 85 percent of the U.S. population is served by a few “mega water systems”—those with flow greater than 1 million gallons per day (report).
“Right now, we’re living with an archaic form of centralized water treatment and management that has become a major contributor of carbon and nutrient pollution to the environment,” said OriginClear CEO Riggs Eckelberry.
“Today a brighter light is shining on an alternative modular system that inevitably will replace the current centralized systems that are fast becoming structurally unsustainable and harmful to our environment,” Eckleberry continued.
The fact is that it is much easier to reclaim and reuse this same water for other beneficial purposes. And of course, collection and conveyance issues largely disappear; since the treatment occurs at the point-of-use. The only water being transported and stored is water already treated, hence no longer an environmental issue or burden.
The white paper highlights the many environmental advantages and cost savings of decentralized or modular water treatment and management vs. the older centralized water management by examining how effectively it works for a standard domestic hotel.
Study of 300-Room Hotel
As part of a comprehensive proposal for on-site water treatment, OriginClear conducted a study of a luxury 300-room hotel in Southern California.
The hotel was expected to consume on average 30,000 gallons per day (GPD) of potable water reflecting normal domestic demands such as drinking, bathing, cooking, laundry, spa and pools. Practical experience shows that a 90 percent conversion of potable water to wastewater will occur in such a facility.
Typically, if a 30,000 GPD domestic potable water consumption has a 90 percent conversion rate to wastewater, the resulting wastewater demand will be 27,000 GPD. A 27,000 GPD hotel wastewater rate will discharge an average of 106.4 lbs. of carbon, 12.5 lbs. of nitrogen, and 2.5 lbs. of phosphorus daily to the public sewer. This equates to 19.4 tons of carbon, 2.3 tons of nitrogen, and 0.5 tons of phosphorus imposed on the local public utility and environment annually.
The on-site modular wastewater treatment and advanced filtration processes at a decentralized level, supports the hotel in reducing the carbon and nutrient load on local water systems, achieving up to 99 percent removal rate of carbon. Depending upon the type of process implemented, between 70 percent to 90 percent of nitrogen and phosphorous can be eliminated. This reduction rate would equal an annual removal of 19.2 tons of carbon, 2.28 tons of nitrogen, and 0.49 tons of phosphorous reflecting a tangible and significant reduction in harmful nutrients to the environment.
“With more robust water filtration capabilities, it’s possible to capture nearly all problematic pollutants and prevent them from entering the atmosphere and local water systems, or worse, the ocean,” said Eckelberry.
Additionally, the benefits to recovering water at the point-of-use includes the opportunity to recycle water for secondary reuse such as cooling towers, landscaping and irrigation. Expanding modular water treatment throughout the hospitality industry, and other sectors such as agriculture and complex developments, reduces water consumption costs. Other impactful benefits include less environmental impact on an already challenged atmosphere and tax incentives for enterprises committed to reducing their carbon footprint as it relates to water conservation and harmful nutrient emissions.