Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

Chemistry manual

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Elsevier introduces The Alkaloids: Chemistry and Biology by Hans-Joachim Knolker, the latest volume (#84) in the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Serials. This series covers all aspects of alkaloids, including their chemistry, biology and pharmacology. Sections are presented as high-quality, timeless reviews written by renowned experts in the field. The book contains more than 70 published volumes in this field of study. https://www.sciencedirect.com/

UV disinfection system

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

AquiSense Technologies announces the launch of its PearlAqua Deca UV LED disinfection system designed for the POE residential, commercial and light industrial markets. The system offers operational benefits specific to LEDs, including intermittent flow management, mercury-free, ownership cost and provides greater than 99.99-percent disinfection in a small, self-contained unit. The PearlAqua Deca features automatic on/off switching in addition to Dynamic Power Control, which reduces overall energy consumption and extends lamp replacement intervals. https://www.aquisense.com/

Ion chromatography system

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

The Thermo Scientific Dionex Easion ion chromatography system is a user-friendly instrument, designed to yield consistent results and excellent resolution for routine anion and cation analysis of drinking water, while limiting operational costs. The system is equipped to run out of the box, including columns, a suppressor and consumable items required to perform IC separations. The system’s simple design requires no additional pumps or equipment, enabling users of all skill levels the ability to run routine IC methods. www.thermofisher.com

Control unit

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

KROHNE introduces the SHD 200 control unit, which can be used with any 4-20mA/HART field device for monitoring of process parameters and additional control functionality in various industries. The unit offers a second current output (passive) that can be used for any HART variable provided by the field device, as well as for LEDs for signalization of the field device status according to NAMUR NE 107 and for backlight. The SHD 200 features two programmable relays for status output, system alarm or limit-switch functionality and can be used for basic control applications. Examples include displaying static and differential pressure with limit-switch valve opening function in DP flow applications and simple dosing in pH value control applications or control of heating and cooling processes using the temperature values/ temperature difference of two temperature sensors. https://krohne.com/en/

Submersible sewage pump

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

Goulds Water Technology, a Xylem brand, introduces the GSD submersible sewage pump, built to handle residential sewage systems, water transfer, heavy-duty sump and dewatering applications. The new pump features a cast iron design and a premium mechanical seal design for protection against sand and abrasive materials found in modern wastewater streams. The cast iron, recessed vortex impeller, corrosion-resistant, stainless steel motor shaft and hardware provide durable, long-lasting performance. The pump comes with a built-in anti-siphon hole allowing for easier pump installation and prevents air locking from occurring. This series is available in an automatic or manual, 115-volt, 0.5-HP, single-phase pump with two-inch (5.08-cm) discharge.

Microbes and Emerging Chlorine Resistance

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

By Kelly A. Reynolds, MSPH, PhD

Chlorine disinfection is used by the majority of drinking water treatment municipalities to control microbial pathogens. Some microbes, however, are resistant to chlorine disinfectants and require additional or substitutive treatment methods for effective control. In addition to well-known hazards, recent research suggests there are new, emerging microbes that exhibit chlorine resistance.

History of drinking water disinfection
The use of disinfectants to treat drinking water supplies is considered one of the greatest advancements in public health and attributed to saving millions of lives worldwide. Chlorine disinfectants were among the earliest interventions in water treatment and provided a simple, low-cost method for dramatically improving water quality and reducing the spread of disease. The first US city to routinely disinfect community drinking water supplies was Jersey City, NJ, in 1908.

In 1900, diarrhea and enteritis were among the top three causes of death in the US, along with pneumonia and tuberculosis. Following the widespread use of chlorine to disinfect drinking water supplies, death rates from epidemics such as cholera and typhoid decreased dramatically, from 100 cases per 100,000 people to 33.8 approximately a decade later.

Despite past successes in improved sanitation, hygiene and disease reduction, infectious agents continued to emerge. New viruses, such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes AIDS, appeared in the 80s and multi-drug resistant strains of bacteria, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, proved that microbes would continue to adapt and elude human defenses.1 Advances in molecular genetics in the 90s provided new evidence on how quickly microbes change, by either trading bacterial resistance genes in the environment or repairing random viral replication errors that sometimes created more virulent strains of organisms that survived better in harsh environments or were not affected by current vaccines, medications or disinfectants.

Lessons learned
While chlorine disinfectants are generally effective against bacteria and viruses, protozoan pathogens like Cryptosporidium, are highly resistant. This lesson was hard-learned. In 1993, the largest documented waterborne disease outbreak in the US occurred in Milwaukee, WI due to a massive contamination of municipal water with Cryptosporidium. More than 25 percent, or 400,000 people were affected and at least 69 people died, the majority of whom were immunocompromised from HIV infections. Later, reports would indicate that the outbreak cost over $96 million dollars in healthcare costs and productivity losses.2 Combined evidence of widespread gastrointestinal illness reported from hospitals, emergency rooms and clinical test labs, along with anecdotal information of anti-diarrheal medication shortages from pharmacies and consumer reports of poor taste and odor characteristics of the tap water, eventually led to the discovery of the outbreak. Water quality monitoring data, however, from the previous month indicated an increase in water turbidity readings, but the values were still within regulatory limits.

It would be another two and a half days before the community’s drinking water system would be implicated and a boil-water notice issued. The Milwaukee outbreak changed drinking water treatment works dramatically and led to increased recognition for the importance of source-water protection, targeting treatment deficiencies, monitoring and regulatory compliance. Surface-water treatment works, in particular, began using filtration methods along with UV and ozone to target reductions in pathogenic protozoa.

There are still more lessons to be learned relative to microbes and their variable response and emergent changes over time. For example, there is a difference between intrinsic and acquired resistance which may be a function of the microbes’ adaptive ability relative to their environment, genetic predisposition and evolving traits. Additionally, the efficacy of chemical disinfectants may be a function of concentration and contact time required to reach targeted reductions in pathogen concentrations. Efficacies are known to vary across environmental conditions (i.e., temperature, pH, turbidity) and type and strain of microorganism.

Evolving resistance
The 1993 Cryptosporidium outbreak was the result of increased source-water contamination from nearby livestock following recent rainfall events. In addition, water turbidity increases resulted in decreased efficacy of chemical disinfectants in use. Another major driver was that Cryptosporidium was intrinsically resistant to chlorine. The organism had an innate ability to resist the oxidative effects of chlorine. After more than 100 years of using chlorine disinfectants on water supplies, a handful of innately resistant microbes have been identified, but evidence of acquired resistance has not been documented. The world of microbes, however, is constantly evolving and the environment is rapidly changing. For example, a recent study of the persistence of echovirus 11 under varying environmental conditions found that the pathogen evolved toward increased survival when suspended in warmer waters. Another factor in the warm-water-adapted virus was that it was also more resistant to chlorine disinfection.3

Echovirus derives its name from enteric cytopathic human orphan (ECHO) virus. Shed in the feces and other bodily fluids of infected individuals, echoviruses have been associated with waterborne outbreaks. Symptoms range from mild, flu-like illness to severe cases of meningitis and paralysis. Studies showing increased virus adaptation to warm environments warn that these organisms may be harder to eliminate with current disinfection strategies. Further, increased survival in environmental waters relates to increased exposure risks and adverse human health outcomes.3 Additional studies have found that chlorine disinfection efficacy varies widely across different virus strains, compared to ultraviolet (UV) light disinfectant applications. Even slight differences in viral genomes can lead to increased survival capabilities of viruses in the environment, as well as increased resistance to disinfectants.4

Inevitable change
Disinfectant applications are not a one-size-fits-all solution and chlorine chemistries can be very complex when used in changing environmental conditions. New genetic variants of microbes are continuously emerging. Some of these changes cause no measurable effects while others may produce a completely new hazard for which the general population has no immunity to or treatment for. Staying one step ahead of waterborne microbes will require constant monitoring, genetic sequencing analysis, multi-disciplinary approaches and multi-barrier treatments.


  1. National Center for Environmental Health; National Center for Health Statistics; National Center for Infectious Diseases C. Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Control of Infectious Diseases. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4829a1.htm#fig1. Published 1999. Accessed September 13, 2020.
  2. Gradus S. Milwaukee, 1993: The Largest Documented Waterborne Disease Outbreak in US History–Water Quality and Health Council. Water Quality and Health Council. https://waterandhealth.org/safe-drinking-water/drinking-water/milwaukee-1993-largest-documented-waterborne-disease-outbreak-history/. Published 2014. Accessed September 13, 2020.
  3. Carratalà A, Bachmann V, Julian TR, Kohn T. Adaptation of Human Enterovirus to Warm Environments Leads to Resistance against Chlorine Disinfection. Environ Sci Technol. September 2020:acs.est.0c03199. doi:10.1021/acs.est.0c03199.
  4. Sigstam T, Gannon G, Cascella M, Pecson BM, Wigginton KR, Kohn T. Subtle differences in virus composition affect disinfection kinetics and mechanisms. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2013;79(11):3455-3467. doi:10.1128/AEM.00663-13.

About the author
Dr. Kelly A. Reynolds is a University of Arizona Professor at the College of Public Health; Chair of Community, Environment and Policy; Program Director of Environmental Health Sciences and Director of Environment, Exposure Science and Risk Assessment Center (ESRAC). She holds a Master of Science Degree in public health (MSPH) from the University of South Florida and a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Arizona. Reynolds is WC&P’s Public Health Editor and a former member of the Technical Review Committee. She can be reached via email at reynolds@u.arizona.edu

Requirements for the UK Market

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

By Rick Andrew

The UK has established regulations, requirements and testing of water supply fittings since the 1980s. For the purposes of these regulations and requirements, fittings means any product or assembly including valves, connections, POU or POE products, etc. These requirements were significantly updated in the form of the UK water supply regulations of 1999. These regulations state that no water fitting shall be installed, connected, arranged, or used in such a manner that it causes or is likely to cause waste, misuse, undue consumption, erroneous measurement, or contamination of the water supply. It is these five considerations that drive the testing requirements which are the basis for conformance to the UK water supply regulations of 1999.

Under the regulations, there is a legal duty on all users, owners or occupiers and anyone installing water systems, fittings or appliances to ensure compliance. Advance notice of proposed installations in specific cases must be provided, creating an environment in which architects, building developers and plumbers must follow these regulations on behalf of future owners or occupiers.

Requirements of the UK water supply regulations
There are five key considerations in the UK regulations regarding impact of water supply fittings on the water supply:
1. Waste
2, Misuse
3. Undue consumption
4. Erroneous measurement
5. Contamination

These considerations have led to the development of two general categories of tests:
1. Mechanical tests
2. Material or hygienic tests

Mechanical tests
In the category of mechanical tests, there are four broad categories to consider, as follows:
Waste. Under the UK regulations, waste is considered to be leakage of water. Excess use of water is considered separately. Tests to address waste include evaluations of mechanical strength through porosity, joint effectiveness and closure of valves. There are also tests to assess endurance of operating mechanisms, as well as resistance to thermal cycling.

Misuse. Misuse of water under the UK regulations includes improperly using water for purposes of cooling and uses of water pressure for inappropriate purposes other than the purpose of delivering the water supply.
Undue consumption. Toilet flushing volume, amounts of water used in various cycles of appliance functioning, flowrates of faucets and volumes of water used by washing machines are included under the scope of undue consumption under the UK regulations.
Erroneous measurement. The main consideration under erroneous measurement is the accuracy of water meters.

Material or hygienic tests
There are two main considerations related to material safety, the first of which is a focus on contamination and the second is a requirement to meet British Standard (BS) 6920.

Contamination. Requirements to avoid contamination of the water supply include measures to prevent infiltration of particles and also to prevent backflow. The application of coatings is also evaluated to assure that they are any coatings are not contaminating the water supply. Finally, the potential for corrosion or galvanic action is addressed due to the potential for contamination resulting from any corrosion.

BS 6920. Conformance to BS 6920 is the remaining piece addressing prevention of contamination under the UK regulations. The lengthy official title, Suitability of non-metallic products for use in contact with water intended for human consumption with regard to their effect on the quality of the water, accurately captures the scope and purpose of the standard. There are five main test requirements under BS6920, applied to all non-metallic materials in contact with water:

1. Odor and flavor. This test is performed on individual materials to determine if the materials impart a discernable odor or flavor to the water. The test uses a qualified taste-test panel that evaluates serial dilutions of exposure water.
2. Color and turbidity. Evaluations are conducted on each material to determine whether they increase the color and/or turbidity of water to which they are exposed. Increases in color and turbidity are determined through instrumental analysis methodologies.
3. Extraction of metals. A leaching test on all non-metallic materials is conducted, with analysis of a specified list of metals regardless of material type or formulation.
4. Extraction of substances of concern to public health. This evaluation of gross acute toxicity is achieved using a cytotoxicity approach. After the materials are exposed to water, the water is placed in contact with mammalian cells to observe any toxic effects on the cells. Toxic effects on the cells indicate potential human toxicity.
5. Growth of aquatic microorganisms. Materials are placed into water that is saturated with dissolved oxygen and sealed into bottles with no head space. Over a period of weeks, the dissolved oxygen levels are measured. A decrease in the levels of dissolved oxygen indicates growth of microorganisms.

Note that each of these tests is conducted on individual materials. None of the tests are conducted on complete products, unless the product is made of only one material. So, there are multiple material tests required for products that include multiple non-metallic materials in contact with the water supply. Note also that unlike the NSF/ANSI water standards, no formulation disclosure is required because the testing is applied in the same way for each non-metallic material regardless of material type or formulation.

In fact, there are significant contrasts between the NSF/ANSI water standards and BS 6920. The NSF/ANSI water standards typically involve whole-product testing. The basis for the material safety tests under the NSF/ANSI water standards is contaminant-leaching and toxicological evaluation of any contaminants detected. Material formulations of most materials in contact with drinking water are reviewed to develop a list of potential contaminants the laboratory will analyze. The testing is specific to the materials in the product that are in contact with drinking water. The evaluation of detected contaminants for potential toxicity is based on toxicological assessment procedures described in great detail in the standards. Parameters such as odor and flavor and growth of aquatic microorganisms are not considered with respect to the NSF/ANSI Standards.

Demonstrating conformance
There are multiple avenues for demonstrating conformance to the UK regulations. One of the best known is through Water Regulations Advisory Scheme (WRAS) approvals. WRAS approvals require submittal of product information and test results to demonstrate conformance to the UK regulations. Test results must be from laboratories identified on the WRAS website at www.wras.co.uk. WRAS approves these laboratories based on their participation in comparison tests conducted to ensure that approved laboratories achieve similar test results.

Once the information is submitted, it is reviewed by the Product Assessment Advisory Group (PAG). The PAG meets about 20 times each year to review the recently submitted WRAS-approval applications and make a determination regarding acceptance. Note that audits of manufacturing facilities are not required for WRAS approvals. The WRAS approval is issued upon approval by the PAG. The approval is added to the online Products and Materials Directory. This directory can be found at https://www.wras.co.uk/approvals. Approvals are valid for five years. Products achieving WRAS approval are authorized to use the scheme’s approved certification mark.

In contrast with WRAS approvals, typical North American certifications do not use an assessment group or committee-type approach for determining conformance. Usually the process of the certification body directly assesses conformance and grants or denies certification. Also, North American certifications require auditing of the manufacturing facility both initially and on an ongoing basis in addition to product documentation and testing as part of the overall certification.

Recognizing the value of manufacturing facility audits, there are other certifications for demonstrating conformance to UK regulations that use the same testing criteria and also incorporate audits. One such program is NSF’s REG4, with a listings directory that can be located at https://info.nsf.org/Certified/WaterReg/. Another is KIWA’s KUKreg4 program, with a listings directory that can be found at https://www.kiwa.com/nl/nl/nieuws-en-media/gecertificeerde-organisaties/gecertificeerde-bedrijven/.

About the author
Rick Andrew is NSF’s Director of Global Business Development–Water Systems. Previously, he served as General Manager of NSF’s Drinking Water Treatment Units (POU/POE), ERS (Protocols) and Biosafety Cabinetry Programs. Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at (800) NSF-MARK or email: Andrew@nsf.org

Water Conditioning: It Runs in the Family

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

By Emma H. Peterson

Everyone can think of a time when their family was in close quarters, with very little privacy. A family road trip, a holiday weekend or the most evident situation today, being confined by COVID-19, seeing kids move home and parents working from their bedrooms comes to mind first. The one thing that is true about these family affairs that can be both stressful and frustrating, while also being filled with bliss and laughter, is that they are short-lived. It all passes, until the next time.

There is one exception to this scenario: working with family members. Rob Frey from Guthrie & Frey Water Conditioning, LLC knows a thing or two about that. Guthrie is his mother’s maiden name and Frey is his father’s surname, which together proudly presents the family’s roots. But for the joys and struggles encountered while working for and with siblings, spouses and parents, he would not have been able to shape the successful business he runs today.

Frey’s father started the well pump business Guthrie & Frey Inc. in 1974 in Wales, WI. After spending his younger years in the family business, Rob pursued and obtained a degree in biology and ultimately got a full-time job selling microscopes in the medical field. Four years after graduating college, his father offered him a position. Frey always knew he wanted to join the family business, so he was happy to accept the offer. In 1997, Frey had one associate named Bruce Zivney who played a pivotal role in transitioning his father’s establishment toward the water treatment industry. “I have always wanted to own a business,” he says, “Water treatment was an industry that I was somewhat familiar with since I grew up in the well and pump business. I also knew there was a market and that it wasn’t as weather-dependent as the well and pump business.”

Between Frey’s connections and existing relationships and Zivney’s technical experience, they cultivated new branches of business. Once Guthrie & Frey became more reputable as a water conditioning company, the rest of his family joined in to help them continue to develop and flourish. Frey’s brother, Zack, continued to work with their parents on the well pump side of the business and Frey’s wife and co-owner, Sue, joined the water treatment business in 2000 as their advertising representative. Their industry expanded and so did they, ultimately developing another full-service location in Mequon, WI.

Today, Guthrie & Frey serves both residential and commercial clients throughout the southeast region of Wisconsin. “The vast majority of what we do is iron/odor treatment, water softening and drinking water systems,” Frey says. “Occasionally we’ll install UV systems but most of what we do is treat for aesthetic water quality issues.” They are headquartered in Hartland, with a branch office in Mequon. The well pump division and its nine associates continue to operate out of Wales. “Since the well pump division is limited to our clients on private wells only, water treatment gives us exposure to both private well and municipal water clients,” Frey says. “There’s a synergistic relationship that generates a lot of referral business and brand recognition. The most rewarding part of the business is that it is always interesting.”

Guthrie & Frey Water Conditioning, LLC added a new family member to the team recently, their 24-year-old son Scott. “He’s been wanting to be a part of the business since he was 17,” Frey says. “We wanted him to work for someone else for at least a year after he graduated college, just so he could see how someone who is not family would deal with him,” he chuckled. As a licensed plumber with big drive, Frey says: “We are really optimistic that this is his thing.” And just like that, it is looking like the family chain will prevail.

Having more family members in a business than could be counted on one hand may sound like a headache, but Frey loves every minute of it. “It was hard in the beginning, with just me, my mom, dad and brother; but after branching off, it became much easier,” he says, “Working now with my wife and son is 99.9-percent great; we complement each other in terms of skill.” Everyone sticking to their own specialty within the business has made everything run smoothly. And if things do get a little tense, Bella and Vinny, the company’s official furry door-greeters, might step in and break it up. Through it all, Frey says working closely with family members is overall “working great” and he feels blessed.

Aside from family matters, Frey is proud of the talented team he has built over the years. They are all licensed plumbers with many other qualifications. “I have a JPRA, WQA, MWS and a small operators license. Many on the team have some or all of these certifications. We have a combination of in-house and manufacturer-provided training. All of our field technicians are licensed by the state,” he says. In order to be a part of the team at Guthrie & Frey, a positive attitude, aptitude, good character and being physically capable are all you need. “Skills can be taught. If we like you, we’ll invest whatever it takes to give you the skills you need,” Frey says. When someone of the younger demographic wishes to join, they are required to have their plumbing license and so the company invests in training them in the craft by a senior team member. It is a cycle that keeps on giving.

Despite mostly smooth sailing, every company faces obstacles. Frey says: “Our biggest challenge is the expansion of surface water into areas previously supported by municipal wells with a much higher hardness level. The wastewater side is also a challenge relative to chlorides. Finally, finding people who want to learn a trade isn’t as easy as it once was.” Other than hurdles the company may come across during work, they have also faced many challenges presented by COVID-19, but still manage to come out on top. Looking towards the future, Frey is enthusiastic about where he sees Guthrie & Frey going.

“At this time, we do not intend to diversify but rather to expand our client base and continue to improve on our systems to existing services,” he says. “Sue and I are both 50 years old and intend to work for another 10-20 years at some level or another. I’m hoping our son joining the business represents a succession plan but if not, I’m hoping to transition a powerful brand with great market share to someone in the form of a sale.”

With many youthful new faces and a son fresh in the business, Frey is confident that even after he moves on from Guthrie & Frey his legacy will carry on much past him. As far as the water industry as a whole, he also has high expectations. “I see a bright future for the industry. In our area, treatment is typically a need and there always seems to be a new point of focus; for example, arsenic,” he says. With so many new opportunities arising, it is impossible to not be excited about what the future for the water conditioning industry holds. In any event, it is clear that the Frey’s will always have each other’s backs!

Water Reuse – Maximizing Recovery, Minimizing Environmental Impact

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

By Lior Eshed

Water reuse—market overview
Water reuse is a proven method for ensuring a drought-proof, safe, reliable, locally controlled water supply and in recent years, more and more countries are incorporating water reuse into their water management strategies. According to a survey by Bluefield Research, in the US alone, the volume of produced recycled water is projected to increase from 4.8 billion gallons (1.8 billion liters) per day to 6.6 billion gallons (2.49 billion liters) per day in the next seven years—a staggering increase of 37 percent. The worldwide reuse market, currently standing at $1.8 billion, is expected to grow 27 percent in the same timeframe.

The US reuse landscape
The same research found that 39 of the 50 US states currently have reuse regulations or guidelines in place and three more are currently planning regulations. Florida, considered a largely mature market, is the leading state for installed water reuse capacity, whereas California, the southern states and the Midwest represent a great opportunity for immediate growth, especially for industrial reuse (see Figure 1 and Figure 2).
Water reuse facilities in Florida, usually designed to reduce nutrients and organic contaminants in the effluent, do not necessarily include RO, whereas facilities in CA and other locations in the US typically do include an RO step, with the aim to reduce salts concentration in the permeate water. Because of an ongoing pressure to find sustainable water sources during times of continuous droughts, California is a leading state when it comes to industrial reuse.

In 2015, 31 percent (or approximately 360 million cubic meters per year) of California’s total recycled water was used for agricultural irrigation. Increased use of recycled water provides a long-term, reliable water supply and is an important strategy for securing water futures in regions throughout California. Water recycling is also a critically important strategy for environmental protection and efficient use of water for the state. By safely and effectively reusing water for potable and non-potable purposes, many areas of the state are able to reduce current and future reliance on environmentally stressed, imported water sources.

Options for potable reuse
At present, two potable water reuse options are prevalent: indirect potable reuse (IPR) and direct potable reuse (DPR). In the case of IPR, treated wastewater is released into groundwater or surface water sources, and later on reclaimed and treated to meet potable water standards. In the case of DPR, purified water created from treated wastewater, is introduced directly into a municipal water supply system without an environmental buffer of any kind.
After decades of IPR applications, the need for improved effluent quality, advanced treatment technologies and increasing demand for water supplies has finally sparked the interest in DPR. Despite a noticeable trend of readiness to employ more reuse applications, however, countries like the US lag behind when looking at a widespread deployment of DPR. This is mostly attributed to stringent regulations and overall public concern on potential health hazards of DPR that is not performed with meticulous care.

Concern about the potential transmission of infectious disease by pathogenic organisms or the release of organic contaminants are the primary concerns in adopting DPR, despite a lack of epidemiological evidence that the use of reclaimed water has caused a disease outbreak in the US (Source: Frontiers in Environmental Science). Several developed countries (such as Singapore), however, have proven this false through the use of dozens of tightly-regulated DPR facilities that produce high-quality potable water, while still adhering to the strictest health standards.

Industrial reuse opportunities
Industrial cooling towers have long been seen as an ideal repository for wastewater, because of the large volumes of water necessary for the evaporative cooling process. The main industrial sectors that are utilizing wastewater reuse are:

  • Power plants and the electric industry
  • Food and beverage industries
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Hydraulic fracking
  • Oil, gas and petrochemicals

In most cases, water scarcity and the ability to reduce costs by maximizing water recovery, as well as increased awareness of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), are crucial factors driving the need for advanced water reuse in industrial settings. Some industries, however, are still hesitant to adopt reuse solutions on a wider scale.

Industrial professionals typically think of water management issues at their facility from two perspectives: securing water supplies for operations (including supply and discharge) and complying with quality standards for wastewater discharge. Smart water reuse management plans help facilities reduce freshwater demand and generated wastewater volume, minimize subsequent discharge permits, bring down freshwater acquisition and effluent treatment costs, and in some cases, provide byproduct recycling opportunities. On the flip side, properly managed reuse requires a combination of knowledge, monetary investment and adjustment of current operations for both DPR and IPR applications.

Evolving regulation supports more rapid reuse market growth, and encouragement at the legislative level is also a key factor contributing to market readiness. Therefore, despite minimal push-back, all predictions indicate a much broader adoption of water reuse management plans in industrial facilities across the globe.

Water reuse for the future
Standard water reuse usually includes ultrafiltration (UF), RO and ultraviolet advanced oxidation process (UV/AOP) units. Chloramine (not to be confused with chlorine), which is typically dosed in the RO process, helps to control biofouling of the membranes (N.M. Farhat, 2018). It is widely used in water reuse facilities as a bacteriostatic agent to reduce and control biofouling. This is common practice in the industry, including the biggest water reuse facilities in the US, such as GWRS (Orange County, CA), West basin (CA) and the ambitious San Diego Pure program (CA) that is now in bidding process.

Chloramine, however, is a precursor to the formation of DBPs such as NDMA, a dangerous organic contaminant and a suspected carcinogen. As climate change, water scarcity and changing landscapes continue to evolve the state of water around the globe, industrial professionals will increasingly look to reuse in order to offset those concerns, ultimately ensuring a secure water future across both industrial and municipal spaces.

About the author
Lior Eshed graduated from Technion Israel Institute of Technology with B.Sc. and M.Sc. Degrees in environmental engineering. He started at IDE Technologies in 2015 as a process engineer focused primarily on advanced reuse technologies R&D. Eshed is in charge of IDE new products development and has several water treatment patents. Previously, he was an R&D manager at Emefcy (now Fluence), a startup that develops membrane-aerated biofilm reactors and microbial fuel cells.

About the company
IDE Technologies specializes in the development, engineering, construction and operation of desalination and industrial water treatment plants. They provide small to large cost-effective desalination solutions and have an especially well-proven track record in large-scale membrane and thermal desalination, including some of the largest plants worldwide. IDE has proven experience in providing plants that deliver reliable, sustainable and economical solutions across industries.

Where Has All the Fresh Water Gone and Will It Ever Return?

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

By Deborah Deal

A farmer peers with dismay at his acreage now dusty with dried little shreds of what used to be his young plantings. A mom visits the village stream and finds what used to be a vibrant offering, now just a trickle. A homeowner finds he can no longer afford to keep his grass green. And millions of Americans feel the need to buy bottled water in the hope they can avoid the ever-growing list of contaminants that may be coming through their tap. Where has all the water gone?

In reality, our fresh water is not gone (https://ixwater.com/blog), it’s just constantly moving around the globe. The amount of water on the earth today, is relatively the same as was here a thousand years ago. The amount of water on our planet is locked in a closed loop, constantly recycled in a process known as the hydrologic cycle.1

A good percentage of the global population—everyone from farmers to computer geeks—realizes that water evaporates from the surface of the earth every day. It becomes water vapor that rises, condenses and forms water droplets. These water droplets form clouds and when the clouds become dense and saturated enough, gravity takes over and creates rain or snow. Then, the water cycle begins again.

The perception that we are losing water on this planet is formulated because the water has moved and what was once fresh, clean water has become contaminated. Water is moved around through natural processes: think of the glaciers melting and engulfing coastlines. The glacier, though in the form of ice, is still water. Rivers can change in volume, flow and direction due to rain, temperature changes and mankind’s interference. And, of course this includes mankind’s largest influence: the 57,000+ dams we’ve built on the planet.

For example, the Colorado River provides water for seven states and at least 40 million people. It feeds Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the two largest water reserves in the United States. Lake Mead supplies Las Vegas with 90 percent of the city’s water.2 But the river is now dwindling due to climate change’s effect on the snowpack that nourishes it. Nineteen years of drought are also to blame. The river once flowed into Mexico and into the Gulf of California. Now it is depleted well short of the gulf. Did the water leave the planet? Not really. It evaporated and moved elsewhere. Unfortunately it may have gone where they already have too much rain.

Most notoriously, our water resources are being affected by climate change. As the temperature rises so does the evaporation rate, leaving many communities in the dust, while in coastal areas the ocean is swamping not only farmland, but villages, towns and cities. In many areas, there is no fresh surface to draw water from, so communities are accessing their groundwater. But, as we continue to access our groundwater, we are depleting the water table, which also makes it feel like we are running out of water. Again, the water is still there, it’s just moving around, faster than man can accommodate its changing locations, leaving populations thirsty and hungry.

What also makes people think we now have less water is that we have contaminated so much of it. So, in addition to water not being where we are used to it being, much of it is something we no longer want to use. People use a huge amount of water every day in the pursuit of commerce and their own personal use. Once used, most of it is considered trash, something to put out of sight. The water is still there, people just don’t want to use it anymore.

Take domestic use. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the average American uses 80 to 100 gallons (302 to 378 liters) of water per day for indoor personal uses.3 The largest use of household water is to flush the toilet; this is followed by showers and baths. America uses 3.9 trillion gallons (14.7 trillion liters) of water per month.4 The use of recycled wastewater in the US and elsewhere is growing. It’s being used for landscaping, to replenish sensitive ecosystems that are running dry because the original water is being diverted for urban needs and in coastal areas to prevent saltwater intrusion.5

But more recycling and reuse can be initiated. The toilet-to-tap rally by oppositionists who are overlooking the great many steps incorporated to make wastewater safe, is used successfully to turn off voters about wastewater reuse and defeat measures to reuse water in many areas.6 Opposition aside, the growing use of recycled wastewater for irrigation, landscaping, industry and toilet flushing, is a good and necessary way to conserve our freshwater resources. Recycled water is also used to replenish sensitive ecosystems where wildlife, fish and plants are left vulnerable when water is diverted for urban or rural needs. In coastal areas, recycled water helps recharge groundwater aquifers to prevent the intrusion of saltwater, which occurs when groundwater has been over-pumped.

But we can do a lot more recycling of our contaminated waters. We who live in the lap of luxury, who can turn on the spigot every day and get safe water, can insist, through our regulators and government entities, that companies that use a lot of water treat, clean, recycle and reuse their wastewater. Who withdraws and uses the most freshwater for their operations? Industries that produce food products, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum or primary metals. Globally, industry uses 19 percent of all freshwater withdrawals. (Domestic use accounts for 11 percent of freshwater withdrawals.) And industry is expected to use even more in the future—withdrawals of freshwater for industrial use are expected to increase 400 percent by 2050.

In many cases, such as in oil and gas drilling and recovery operations, with the new technology available to them, it is more economical to treat their wastewater and reuse it onsite, than it is to truck in virgin freshwater and truck out and dispose of their wastewater. And the oil and gas industry uses an immense amount of water. Depending upon the ground formation they are trying to extract the oil or gas from, operators can use from two to nine million gallons of water. According to the USGS, this is 28 times the amount of water that these operations used just 15 years ago.
What’s in the water once industry has utilized it in operations and deemed it waste? A myriad of pollutants depending on the industry. The oil and gas industry’s wastewater contains deadly BTEX (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes) and often radioactive materials, lead, arsenic and much more. The textile industry’s effluent contains as many as 2,000 chemicals, many known as carcinogens. To produce the fabric for one sofa, the process takes 500 gallons (1,892 liters) of water;7 to produce the cotton in one pair of jeans, 1,800 gallons (6,813 liters) of water is required.8

Fortunately, water treatment technology has progressed enough that almost every contaminant in industry wastewater can be removed now. Innovative companies are pushing the envelope to find solutions that are more cost-effective and environmentally friendly (https://ixwater.com/press-clippings). One example is the new technology that uses field-rechargeable media, which can be reused for months or even years, minimizing the amount of solid waste from water treatment.

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and the University of Texas collaborated for nearly a decade to create specialized filtration media that target specific classes of industrial contaminants. These media are durable, effective and can be used over and over via in-field recharging, unlike traditional filtration media. Recharging is via simple saltwater backwash or air stripping, which also has the advantage of concentrating removed contaminants for easy disposal. The media itself, once it will no longer charge, is stripped one last time and then can be taken to a municipal landfill or be used as a soil amendment.

What’s holding industry back from using cutting-edge tech? The will of industry, the lack of understanding that new technology is available and that it can be economical. But, more importantly, that it’s necessary. Necessary for our future. As our population increases, so will the perception that the planet has less water. That’s not true. It’s just that we will have less water that we want to use and is safe to use if we don’t recycle more.


  1. Water Cycles. https://www.uen.org/themepark/cycles/water.shtml
  2. “Colorado River flow shrinks from climate crisis, risking ‘severe water shortages.” The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/20/colorado-river-flow-shrinks-climate-crisis\
  3. “Water Q&A: How much water do I use at home each day?” US Geological Survey. https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-qa-how-much-water-do-i-use-home-each-day?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
  4. Current Water Data for the Nation.” US Geological Survey. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/rt
  5. “From Wastewater to Drinking Water.“ Earth Institute Columbia University. https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/04/04/from-wastewater-to-drinking-water/
  6. “From Wastewater to Drinking Water.“ Earth Institute Columbia University. https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2011/04/04/from-wastewater-to-drinking-water/
  7. “What Kinds of Pollution Do Textile Factories Give Off?“ Houston Chronicle. https://smallbusiness.chron.com/kinds-pollution-textile-factories-give-off-77282.html
  8. “Interesting Water Facts.” Oldham County Water District. https://www.oldhamcountywater.com/interesting-water-facts.html

About the author
Deborah Deal is VP of IX Power Clean Water, a tech spin-out from the US National Laboratory at Los Alamos, NM. The company offers new technology for removing the most toxic contaminants from produced water from the oil and gas industry, manufacturing, mining and other industrial processes.

About the product
After seven years of development at the DoE lab, the University of Texas and New Mexico Tech, as well as six years of commercialization work, the company is introducing its technology of treating industrial wastewater to the market.

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