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Read the latest news, innovations, and technology advances in water around the globe…

US Military Training Potable Water Filtration

As reported in the Daily News Hollogram, at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, specially trained Airmen are turning untested water into potable H2O, and training others to do the same. The United States Pacific Air Forces Command Silver Flag instructors from the 554th Red Horse Squadron train service members from US Air Force bases, other military branches, and different nations once each month on how to properly use the Reverse Osmosis Water Purification Unit (ROWPU) 1500. “Learning how to use the ROWPU is important because Airmen, particularly water and fuels systems maintainers, possess the organic capability to produce, store and establish a potable water source for self-sustainment and support purposes,” said Tech. Sgt. Roshia Johari, the 554th Red Horse NCO in charge of water and fuels systems maintenance contingency training. The purification process starts with detecting a viable water source, which can be fresh, brackish or even saltwater. As soon as a water source is established, crews connect two raw water pumps that push water from the source to the ROWPU 1500. The water then goes through three types of filtration: the first stage is a four-layer multimedia filter, the second stage uses a bag filter, and the third stage uses eight reverse osmosis elements. As water is moved through the filtration process, functional chemicals are used to purify and disinfect it. After the water has left the last stage of filtration from the reverse osmosis elements, the water is tested to verify that it is safe to consume. Since most water on Guam is considered clear water, the ROWPU 1500 is used primarily for training purposes. ROWPU’s... read more

Kuwait Finances $22m Ethiopian Water Project

As published in ArabianIndustry.com, Ethiopia and Kuwait signed a $22 million loan agreement to fund a clean and sustainable water project in Aksum, located in northern Ethiopia. The project will provide a clean and sustainable water supply to Aksum and its nearby villages until 2050, through the construction of a water supply and treatment system from Maychew River, about 30km south of the town, according to Saudi Press Agency. Ethiopia and Kuwait started a formal cooperation through avoidance of double taxation, investment protection, and sharing trade and science eight years ago. Kuwait has been assisting Ethiopia’s development through financial support for the implementation of infrastructure including road, airport, energy and water supply projects which are the major priorities of the African country’s government. Major components of the project include construction of a dam, reservoir, and water treatment plant, and other infrastructure work. Read the full story... read more

3M Unveils a Faster RO System

3M recently announced their latest ScaleGard HP Reverse Osmosis System. The new system provides greater RO capacity than previous generations, so that it delivers a faster supply of “Recipe Quality” water. The new high-production reverse osmosis (RO) filter produces up to 2.5 liters of RO water per minute. A pre-filter for chlorine/chloramines reduction is also included, and the option to add extra filters allows RO production to be doubled if required. The system also allows the user to adjust blending levels to optimize the mineral content of the water for consistent taste and scale reduction. The system can be wall mounted. 3M is targeting industrial, chemical/petrochemical, food and beverage and water quality control applications with this... read more

Santa Barbara to Reactivate Desalination Plant

With California’s water supply about to run out, Santa Barbara is taking steps to reactivate a desalination plant that’s been in mothballs since 1992. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the plant — built more than 20 years ago during another severe drought —was never used beyond a test phase before steady rain began falling. Now, officials are working to quickly get the plant back online as the city’s reservoirs continue to diminish. Experts say that California will run out of water in 2016. Santa Barbara will spend up to $40 million to modernize and reactivate the plant, which was closed in 1992. It is among a number of desalting projects being considered along the California coast, including in Huntington Beach, and Monterey Peninsula. The nation’s largest desalination plant is currently being built in Carlsbad, California. Although the Pacific Ocean looks like a natural solution to California’s water crisis, experts say a stampede toward desalination is unlikely. “It has two big disadvantages: It’s really expensive and it’s energy-intensive,” said Henry Vaux Jr., a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of resource economics who contributed to a 2008 National Research Council report on desalination. “Given the time it takes to come up with a plant, including permitting and construction, the drought will probably be over by the time it’s built,” said Heather Cooley, water program director of the Pacific Institute, a nonprofit that conducts research on natural resources. That’s what happened in Santa Barbara in the early 1990s, when construction began on the $35-million plant. At that time, communities were so desperate for water, Ventura even proposed towing icebergs down the... read more

NASA Scientists Issue Warning that California Will Run Out of Water In Just 1 year

California is running out of water fast, according to NASA senior water scientist. Shockingly, the entire state of California will be out of water in just a year’s time. Yes, California will run out of water in 12 months, according to Jay Famiglietti, NASA senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. As difficult as it may be to face, the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before the current drought. NASA data reveals that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, when satellite-based monitoring began, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century. Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and the strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain. The drought means that total water storage in California, which has been in decline since 2002, has been sapped by the need to use the resource for farming, Famiglietti said in the Los Angeles Times. The use of groundwater for farming in the Central Valley has caused land to sink by one foot a year. Sprinklers and other landscaping accounts for 70 per cent of urban water use, according to the Sacramento Bee. Since 2011 the state of California has been losing 12 million acre-feet of water per year and the total amount of water in snow, rivers, groundwater and reservoirs was... read more

10 ways technology is changing the future of water

About 780 million people live without access to clean drinking water, and a growing global population coupled with climate change is threatening to increase that. Here’s how technology can help. Did you know 780 million people, or one in nine people in the world, live without access to clean drinking water? About 3.4 million die each year from water-related diseases. Those stats probably make you think about how often you accidentally leave the faucet dripping, or take too long in the shower, or even pour out a few Dasani bottles you never finished. Water security isn’t limited to access to drinking water. It’s about sanitation — more people worldwide have mobile phones than toilets, but Americans waste more water by flushing toilets than any other use, according to the EPA. And it’s about climate change — melting glaciers, rising seas, flooded coasts, and longer droughts. According to the United Nations, by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in water scarcity, and the demand for irrigation will jump by 15%. Though it’s not a silver bullet, technology can help to change this course, and it’s already starting to. Here’s how. 1. Many more start ups are tackling water problems The interest in water technology is growing amidst the concern over droughts, water shortage, and a warming climate. A San Francisco start up and accelerator, Imagine H2O, organizes and encourages innovations in the water industry to use technology to raise awareness about these issues and solve big water problems. Foundations and large corporations fund the projects by the non-profit, and Imagine H2O recently held a competition for new, empowering water projects. Big corporations like Coca Cola... read more

San Diego to Spearhead Direct Potable Water Reuse

  In the history of wastewater reuse, 2014 will probably go down as a landmark year, when direct potable reuse took off in the US. In November the San Diego city council voted unanimously for a multi-billion dollar plan to recycle over 300,000 m3/day of water. For all the media prompting about “toilet to tap”, when faced with the threat of prolonged drought and water restrictions, communities in Texas and California have proved to be happy to trust their water utilities to make the right decision. Last year saw a number of forward steps in providing alternative technologies, mostly involving new combinations of microfiltration/ultrafiltration (UF)/reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, which have been the mainstay of most advanced reuse projects to date. These have been driven partly by drought, but mostly by the lucrative contracts available for providing cheaper ways of dealing with wastewater resulting from new types of oil and gas exploration.   Past wastewater reuse Most water reuse prior to the last decade was primarily of secondary quality for industrial or agricultural purposes. These will still provide major uses for lower grade reused wastewater. However, for potable and some industrial purposes, a high level of treatment is required. The techniques for potable water reuse usually involve membrane-based techniques such as UF and RO, and using ultraviolet (UV) light or ozone for disinfection. Lately, these are finding other applications in industry. Engineers and scientists are also finding new uses for other techniques such as electrodialysis, ceramic membranes and advanced oxidation in wastewater reuse. Potable reuse For potable purposes, the industry has split wastewater reuse into indirect (IPR) and direct (DPR)... read more

Your Favorite Beer Threatened by California’s Drought

When you crack open an ice-cold beer, chances are you’re not thinking about climate change. But Tony Yanow is. Yanow is the co-owner and co-founder of Golden Road Brewery in Los Angeles, and like the 400 other craft breweries in California, he’s starting to feel the sting of the drought. Beer is about 10% grains, hops, and assorted flavorings. The other 90% is water. And when you’re brewing beer in California, where river basins are quickly drying up, that’s a serious problem. The drought is three years old at this point, but even though lawns are being left to die and fountains are shutting off, breweries are still producing lagers, IPAs, and stouts. (Beer is, after all, the third-most-consumed beverage in the world, so there’s plenty of demand.) But according to Tom McCormick, executive director of the California Craft Brewer’s Association, the drought has begun to tangibly affect breweries in major ways: It’s forced some to use lower-quality water in their brews or invest in expensive water-purification technologies, for instance, and it’s caused beer production costs to creep up thanks to the rising cost of water. At Golden Road Brewery, the question of what to do about the water has become a daily debate. The brewery will churn out more than 31,000 barrels of beer this year (one barrel is about 31 gallons). For every gallon of beer, they’ll use about four gallons of water—and that’s a conservative ratios for a craft brewery. If you do the math, that’s roughly 4 million gallons of water each year, and that figure doesn’t account for the amount of beer that’s spilled or the amount of water required... read more

Zero Waste: A Look at the Future of Reverse Osmosis

With millions of gallons of water wasted daily by reverse
osmosis systems in the United States alone, it is no surprise that ZeroWaste technology
is coming to the forefront of the point-of-use (POU) industry. Watts Industries
of North Andover, Mass., is offering its ZRO-4 under counter system intended to
target the independent water dealer market. Even the best home reverse osmosis systems use four gallons
of water for every one gallon produced. This typically is obtainable only if an
Aqua-Tech permeate pump is used. Most systems waste as much as 20 gallons just
to produce one gallon of product water. The new technology called “ZeroWaste” eliminates
this problem by returning the concentrate water from the reverse osmosis system
back to the home’s plumbing, resulting in 100 percent efficiency. There are
several versions of zero waste available through various vendors but when
shopping around, keep in mind that many of these systems will not meet plumbing
codes. (The only known code-compliant process is the Watts Industries patented
technology.) The system allows for a “legal” cross connection between
the hot and cold water supplies, subsequently reintroducing the concentrate
into the hot water side. Here is How It Works The typical POU system (Figure 1) is a five-stage unit
utilizing three stages of pretreatment (one sediment and two carbon filtration)
then a TFC membrane and subsequent permeate and concentrate waters being routed
to both the tank and traditional drain connections. The ZeroWaste system (Figure 2) takes the water outlet of
the sediment and carbon filters and routes it through a solenoid valve and pump
before going to the membrane inlet. This provides filtered water to the
solenoid and pump, which will keep foreign material from damaging them. Carbon
block filters are preferred because they... read more

GE announces technology to generate renewable energy from wastewater

GE (NYSE: GE) introduced the latest in membrane-based wastewater treatment technology, combining anaerobic digestion technology with its ZeeWeed 500 membranes, resulting in the anaerobic membrane bioreactor (AnMBR). AnMBR offers the ability to generate renewable energy from industrial wastewater, reduce energy consumption and sludge production both economically and reliably. “GE’s most recent development in membranes unites our proven ZeeWeed reinforced hollow fiber membranes with anaerobic digestion technology to construct the new AnMBR. The future of water treatment has a new component and reinforces GE’s commitment to energy neutrality. Our industrial customers are yearning for more energy reduction in wastewater treatment, and GE’s AnMBR will give them a way to generate renewable energy from their wastewater,” said Yuvbir Singh, general manager, Engineered Systems—Water and Process Technologies for GE Power & Water. The technology is best suited for wastewater with high biochemical oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand concentrations that result in higher expenses. “GE announces technology to generate renewable energy from wastewater “Power Engineering.Com”. 1/10/14 accessed. <http://www.power-eng.com/articles/2014/09/ge-announces-technology-to-generate-renewable-energy-from-wastewater.html >.... read more

From Sewage, Added Water for Drinking

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — It used to be so final: flush the toilet, and waste be gone. But on Nov. 30, for millions of people here in Orange County, pulling the lever will be the start of a long, intense process to purify the sewage into drinking water — after a hard scrubbing with filters, screens, chemicals and ultraviolet light and the passage of time underground. On that Friday, the Orange County Water District will turn on what industry experts say is the world’s largest plant devoted to purifying sewer water to increase drinking water supplies. They and others hope it serves as a model for authorities worldwide facing persistent drought, predicted water shortages and projected growth. The process, called by proponents “indirect potable water reuse” and “toilet to tap” by the wary, is getting a close look in several cities. The San Diego City Council approved a pilot plan in October to bolster a drinking water reservoir with recycled sewer water. The mayor vetoed the proposal as costly and unlikely to win public acceptance, but the Council will consider overriding it in early December. Water officials in the San Jose area announced a study of the issue in September, water managers in South Florida approved a plan in November calling for abundant use of recycled wastewater in the coming years in part to help restock drinking water supplies, and planners in Texas are giving it serious consideration. “These types of projects you will see springing up all over the place where there are severe water shortages,” said Michael R. Markus, the general manager of the Orange County district,... read more

Dow invests in manufacturing facility for DOW FILMTEC RO

SHANGHAI, China — The Dow Chemical Company announced plans to invest in a world-class manufacturing facility for DOW FILMTEC™ reverse osmosis (RO) elements in Huzhou, China. The new facility will be online in 2013, according to a press release. “This investment is directly aligned to our growth strategy to maximize value as a leading science company, benefiting our customers in China and the China economy, while contributing to Dow’s global growth,” said Peter Sykes, president of Dow Greater China. “Dow Greater China is built on a solid foundation and we’re very confident about our ability to contribute to the China market and customer growth with a business focus which fits China’s 12th Five-Year plan.” The proposed facility would deliver local supply security of cutting-edge technology for water desalination and waste water reuse for potable, non-potable and industrial water serving China. The facility would also serve as a sourcing point for global demand, boosting supply of Dow’s world-class products worldwide. Additionally, these water technologies will deliver cost-savings through reduced energy usage and excellent operational efficiencies for global customers. The facility joins Dow’s ultrafiltration manufacturing facility in Huzhou and ion exchange resin facility in Qingpu, which supply global, market leading products.   “Dow invests in manufacturing facility for DOW FILMTEC RO elements in China “Water Tech Online. Com”. 1/10/14 accessed. <http://www.watertechonline.com/articles/165352-dow-invests-in-manufacturing-facility-for-dow-filmtec-ro-elements-in-china>.... read more

Dow Introduces New FILMTEC ECO Reverse Osmosis Elements

Next-generation membrane technology facilitates lower energy usage and reduced regeneration costs for industrial plants Dow Water & Process Solutions (DW&PS), a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW), today globally introduced DOW FILMTEC™ ECO Reverse Osmosis (RO) elements. Dow scientists focused their research on energy efficiency in current RO membranes and found that through configurational energy and element design, further energy savings could be realized. The new FILMTEC ECO elements combine new membrane chemistry and low dP feed spacers to help deliver notably lower energy costs and reduced chemical consumption when RO is followed by a mixed bed ion exchange unit. Offering exceptional rejection and low energy consumption (99.7 percent at 150 psi), FILMTEC ECO elements are intended to deliver up to 40 percent lower salt passage at up to 30 percent less energy when compared to standard RO elements. FILMTEC ECO elements are offered in ECO-400i and ECO-440i configurations to match reverse osmosis needs on a broad spectrum. “Plants that switch from conventional reverse osmosis elements to FILMTEC ECO join a unique population of thriving plants that have less impact on the environment and less strain on their bottom line,” said Rajat Mehta, global product director for Dow Water & Process Solutions. “We are thrilled to provide our customers with exceptional rejection and flow performance, while also positively impacting their ecological and economic footprints.” Customers using FILMTEC ECO elements have the ability to achieve: Improved uptime and reduced chemical use for utility providers; Increased rejection at lower feed pressure to accommodate purity needs for electronics manufacturing; Savings on energy use and chemical use and increased capacity by... read more

Distilled From Water, Designer or Tap: High Anxiety

The boom in designer water has brought us not only hundreds of varieties from every place from Serbia to Brazil to South Africa, but also the advent of water sommeliers, water bars and Web site guides to fine waters from around the world. There are waters from springs, wells, glaciers and icebergs, as well as Tasmanian rainwater and melted Italian snow water. There are waters enhanced with minerals, vitamins and proteins, and even waters that have been vibrated at frequencies meant to stimulate health and spiritual well-being. For the conspicuous consumer there is $40-a-bottle Bling H2O, which comes in containers decorated with Swarovski crystals, and for the guilty consumer there is Ethos Water, which helps support water projects in poor countries. In 2006 some eight billion gallons of bottled water were sold in America, and the $11 billion market welcomed 140 new products to the shelves. The year before, the bottled water industry spent $158 million on advertising in the United States alone.   In her fascinating if not terribly comprehensive new book, “Bottlemania,” Elizabeth Royte looks at the water wars: between bottled water and tap water, between big corporations and local water interests, between consumers who say they want the convenience, cleanliness and even status of bottled water, and environmentalists who condemn bottled water as “the moral equivalent of driving a Hummer,” producing tons of plastic bottles, racking up huge transportation fees and leaving behind a significant carbon footprint. Her book does not profile a full array of bottled waters, nor does it delve in detail into water battles around the world. Instead Ms. Royte uses the story... read more

Desalitech water purification system revives brackish aquifer

As California farmers face zero water allocations following one of the driest periods on record in the US state, one central valley farm is partnering with Desalitech, the supplier of high-efficiency water solutions, to irrigate farmland from a brackish aquifer in the San Joaquin Valley. This aquifer is one of California’s largest, but due to increasing salinity levels after decades of pumping and drought, it has been rendered unusable for many kinds of agriculture. Fabbri Ag Services is using a Desalitech ReFlex reverse osmosis system featuring Closed Circuit Desalination (CCD) technology to provide affordable irrigation water and minimise waste generation and energy consumption. By utilising a dormant brackish aquifer, Fabbri Ag Services is making efficient use of local water resources without burdening the state’s already strained reservoir system. The installed Desalitech reverse osmosis system provides Fabbri with 300 gallons per minute of irrigation water to supply about 40 acres of land at a farm near Bakersfield, California. The water it produces is highly pure so that it can be used to support high value crops like almonds and grapes. “Water is essential for agriculture,” said Jeff Fabbri, CEO of Fabbri Ag Services. ”Desalitech is providing a lifeline that will help us sustain crops when drought conditions persist and water deliveries are halted. Desalitech’s solutions are uniquely capable of purifying water with variable composition, making it possible for us to use this abundant but poor water source. We are able to maximise water use efficiency and consume less energy than with any other system we’ve seen. Desalting the aquifer represents a sustainability plan that will let us diversify our water... read more

Can California Desalinate Its Way Out of a Drought

A ferry plows along San Francisco Bay, trailing a tail of churned up salt, sand, and sludge and further fouling the already murky liquid that John Webley intends to turn into drinking water. But Webley, CEO of a Bay Area start-up working on a new, energy-skimping desalination system, isn’t perturbed. 

“Look at the color of this intake,” he says, pointing to a tube feeding brown fluid into a device the size of a home furnace. There, through a process called forward osmosis, a novel solution the company developed pulls water molecules across a membrane, leaving salt and impurities behind. When low temperature heat is applied, the bioengineered solution separates out like oil, allowing clean water to be siphoned off. This method uses less than a quarter of the electricity needed for standard desalination, making it easier for the technology to run on renewable power, said Webley. His company, Trevi Systems, recently won an international low-energy desalination competition and is building a pilot solar plant to desalinate seawater in the United Arab Emirates. 

With world water demands rising and extreme droughts like the one now gripping California expected to grow more frequent and widespread as the climate warms, drawing fresh water from oceans and other salty sources will be increasingly important. “Eventually, we’ll have to develop new sources of water,” said David Sedlak, a University of California, Berkeley, professor of civil and environmental engineering and author of Water 4.0: The Past, Present and Future of the World’s Most Vital Resource. Desalination, along with wastewater recycling and capturing and storing rainwater, will be “three main pillars,” he said, to replace “water supplies that are going to... read more

Hitachi, Toray find new ways to slash desalination costs

TOKYO — Hitachi and Toray Industries are moving forward with water desalination technologies that can cut energy consumption by 30-40%, making treatment less expensive and more accessible for emerging markets with a growing need for water. A plant developed by Hitachi dilutes seawater with treated sewage, halving the salt concentration, before purifying it through reverse osmosis. This reduces the pressure applied to the membrane, lowering the electricity required by 40%. Operational costs, including chemicals and plant maintenance, can be cut about 40% as well. The technology is expected to find applications mainly in industrial water. Current desalination processes generate brine with double the salt concentration of ordinary seawater as a byproduct. The continued release of brine into a small part of the ocean could affect the local ecosystem. Hitachi’s new process generates brine with roughly the same salt content as ordinary seawater, minimizing the burden on the environment. A plant with a daily processing capacity in the tens of thousands of tons would cost 5 billion yen to 7 billion yen ($48.31 million to $67.63 million) — not significantly more than a conventional plant. It would require just 2.6 kilowatt-hours per cu. meter of water. Toray has announced a reverse-osmosis membrane with 1.5 times as many holes for water to flow through. The pressure needed goes down by one-third, cutting power usage by 30%. The membrane will hit the market as early as this year, likely costing somewhat more than conventional products. It lasts twice to 10 times as long in tests, according to Toray, thanks to increased resistance to cleaning chemicals. Anticipated uses include processing water from inland... read more

RO Terms

Anti-telescoping device (ATD):  An anti-telescoping device or ATD is a plastic device located on the ends of a reverse osmosis membrane element in order to prevent the membrane from telescoping under pressure. Concentrate or Brine:  Concentrate or Brine is the water that did not pass through the semipermeable membrane and is rejected with a high concentration of contaminants. Dry Membrane:  A dry membrane has not been tested for quality assurance and has not touched water therefore is dry. Envelope:  One sheet of permeate water carrier sealed on three sides within a folded sheet of membrane. Feed water:  The original water supply that enters the RO system before any of the contaminants are removed. Membrane casting:  Casting is the technique used to produce membranes. Membrane Element:  All membranes are cast inside of what is called the membrane element.       Permeate:  Permeate is the product water that passed through the semipermeable membrane and is now pure water free of most contaminants.     PPM:  Total dissolved solids which are present in the water supply are measured in parts per million (ppm) which is a common unit of measurement for concentration.     psi:  Pound per Square Inch and is a common unit of measurement for pressure.     Reverse Osmosis:  Reverse Osmosis is a water treatment technique which removes 99.99% of water contaminants using pressure to force water through a semipermeable membrane filtering out contaminants.     Salt Flux/Salt Passage:  Salt Flux or Salt Passage refers to the amount of contaminants that pass through the membrane (less than 1% with RO).     TDS:  TDS stands for the Total Dissolved Solids present in... read more