Friday, April 22, 2016

Water management: green, cheap, and sustainable

By Grace Hutapea, UDC Political Science Major and CAUSES intern 

In some parts of the world, the existence of water is more valuable than gold. Thus, water has become the most important resource in the world. Water is needed to sustain our lives. In fact, every manufactured product uses water at some part of the production process. As a result, water has become more scarce due to insufficient supply to meet an even increasing demand. Currently, there is a growing trend to utilize wastewater among industries and businesses. This trend has been a major development in water, energy and green technology. The lack of access to a clean water is the driving force behind this trend.

Speaking before the World Green Energy Symposium at the University of the District of Columbia on April 7, 2016, Paul Puckorius, President and CEO of Puckorius & Associates, emphasized the importance of water management as part of energy management. According to Puckorius, the future water management involves green technology to sustain both water and energy. This includes water conservation and water reuse; eliminating or reduction of chemical use in water systems; and development of green water treatment products. 

The implementation of water management is especially important for the commercial and industrial because it will save a lot of money while conserving the water at the same time. For example: recycling the wastewater for toilet use, then treating the used water for cooling towers. According to Puckorius, with proper planning industrial facilities can save somewhere between 10-30 percent in water costs when they switch from freshwater to reclaimed wastewater for use in cooling tower.

Some municipalities in the country have also begun to treat wastewater and injecting it into potable water system for a greater benefit. Prior to this, many municipalities treated wastewater and discharged to the environment a costly process with no income. But now many of the municipalities sell the treated water to save potable water and obtain revenues. This step is proven to be environmentally friendly. Furthermore, it also save tax money that can be allocated for other purposes. 

“Many use water that has been used only once; often discharged into the sewer. As a matter of fact, while some may require treatment prior to reuse, many can be reused as is,” said Puckorius. 

Nonetheless, many municipalities and businesses still can’t afford water treatment technology because it is very expensive. For this reason, scientists are currently working on new technologies that can purify water at lower cost, yet in much higher quality. Water conservation could also be implemented at the household level through the so called reverse osmosis, a water purification process in which water is forced through a semipermeable membrane that removes 90.99% of tap water impurities. In short, reverse osmosis take the used water and make it fresh one; and turn “hard water” into “soft water.” 

Hard water is a term that used to describe well water that contains mineral calcium, magnesium and manganese. Hard water is a very common problem that is normally found in the pipes of homes and is an active environment for harmful bacterial growth such as Legionella bacteria, the main cause for Legionnaire’s Disease, which can be life-threatening. Thus, the filtering process of potable or drinking water at home is also very important.

To minimize the risk of getting harmful bacteria at the municipal and industrial level, it is also very important to use the so called green cooling water system. The green cooling water system use cooling water corrosion inhibitors with no chemical addition that reduce, or potentially killing algae from growing. This product has a cooling components that do not corrode, thus eliminate corrosion inhibitors like plastic cooling towers, titanium tubes, and epoxy coatings.

Eliminating chemical use in the water treatment process is also rapidly expanding among industrial and municipalities. Especially within the municipalities, there is a demand to produce potable water that is green, cheap, and sustainable. Consequently, there is a growing market or opportunities in water management. Hence, water conservation and water reuse have become a trend in many industries.

Read more about the World Green Energy Symposium and the National Capital Region Water Resources Symposium.

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