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Sustainable Water and Wastewater Processing

Sustainable Water and Wastewater Processing

Автором Elsevier Science

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Sustainable Water and Wastewater Processing

Автором Elsevier Science

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784 pages
8 hours
Издатель:
Издано:
May 8, 2019
ISBN:
9780128161715
Формат:
Книге

Описание

Sustainable Water and Wastewater Processing covers the 12 most current topics in the field of sustainable water processing, with emphasis given to water as a resource (quality, supply, distribution, and aquifer recharge). Topics covered include emerging sustainable technologies for potable and wastewater treatment, water reuse and recycling, advanced membrane processes, desalination technologies, integrated and hybrid technologies, process modeling, advanced oxidative and catalytic processes, environmentally, economically and socially sustainable technology for water treatment, industrial water treatment, reuse and recovery of materials, and emerging nanotechnology and biotechnology for water processing.

Responding to the goals of sustainability requires the maximum utilization of all water resources, water processing with restricted energy costs and reduced greenhouse gas production. Following these trends, this book covers all the important aspects of sustainable water processing and support.

  • Covers cutting-edge topics of water process engineering, sustainability and energy efficiency
  • Fills the transfer knowledge gap between academia and industry by analyzing the associated environmental, economic and sustainability challenges of water processing
  • Includes theoretical and applied research and technological and industrial solutions for sustainable, economic and large scale water treatment, recycling and reutilization
  • Analyzes potentiality and economic feasibility of already commercialized processes
Издатель:
Издано:
May 8, 2019
ISBN:
9780128161715
Формат:
Книге

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Sustainable Water and Wastewater Processing - Elsevier Science

India

Preface

Charis M. Galanakis⁎,†; Evita Agrafioti‡, ⁎ Food Waste Recovery Group, ISEKI Food Association, Vienna, Austria, † Research & Innovation Department, Galanakis Laboratories, Chania, Greece, ‡ School of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece

Sustainability is a major challenge for the environment around the world today, as climate change and the fast-growing population work together to stretch available resources. It is indisputable that water is among the most important assets of sustainability. The lack of clean water causes millions of deaths annually in poorer countries, and the amount of water required to grow food stresses available resources. As a result, the development of sustainable technologies to recycle and reuse supply water is one of the most significant challenges facing governments, international organizations, and research agencies today. Handling this challenge requires optimized utilization of all water resources as well as the development of water processes with reduced energy costs and restricted greenhouse-gas emissions.

The Food Waste Recovery Group (www.foodwasterecovery.group) organizes numerous actions (webinars, workshops, and e-courses) and produces books targeting food-waste recovery processing and industrial techniques, as well as highlighting sustainable food systems and solutions for the management of specific food-processing byproducts (e.g., from the olive, grape, coffee, and cereals industries). Aligned with these efforts, this book aims to cover all the important aspects of sustainable water processing and to provide support to the scientific community, to professionals, to enterprises, and to international agencies that handle water processing and reutilization.

The book consists of 10 Chapters. Chapter 1 introduces water as a resource. Chapter 7 discusses the quantity and quality of greywater in developed and developing countries, emphasizing natural systems that reduce treatment cost. The health risk associated with the use of treated greywater is also analyzed. In Chapter 12, petroleum and refinery wastewater are discussed. A brief review and characterization of petroleum and oily wastewater, and primary (physical) treatments such as API separators, sedimentation, electrodialysis methods, catalytic vacuum distillation, biological treatments and DAF, are provided. Chapter 2 describes advanced desalination technologies, emphasizing processes characterized by ease of installation and low energy cost. In addition, Chapter 2 discusses the socioeconomic aspects that must be considered, including the ecological and environmental costs that might make technologies like reverse osmosis more expensive. In Chapter 5, applications, research trends, types, versions, and the historical progression of membrane distillation development are discussed. Moreover, membrane distillation patents, projects, and pilot plant setups along with the key technology-developer and promoter companies are presented.

Chapter 6 provides a general overview of the advanced oxidative and catalytic processes. The fundamentals and applications of advanced oxidation technologies (AOPs) are described, and the main costs, energy demand requirements, and environmental impacts of these processes are explained. Chapter 3 presents the physicochemical features of biobased substances isolated from urban organic residues, and it reports on their performances as chemical auxiliaries in AOPs. Modern wastewater-treatment plants feature both aerobic and anaerobic biological processes. For instance, wastewater-treatment systems based on constructed wetlands and algal pond-treatment systems sit at the forefront of innovations in contemporary wastewater treatment, offering enormous opportunities to reduce energy inputs associated with gaseous exchanges. These systems are aimed at the food-water-energy nexus and are the subject of Chapter 10.

Chapter 8 revises integrated and hybrid treatment processes and their application for treating a vast variety of water and wastewater sources. The design approach of these processes encompasses resource recovery and consumption, optimal performance, physical and environmental footprints, the zero liquid discharge concept, and regulations that drive design. Challenges and future prospects of the integrated treatment process in achieving sustainable development are also noted. Recondition and reuse of water are effective options to improve water availability while reducing environmental impacts due to the discharge of untreated wastewater. In this regard, Chapter 10 discusses feasible water coservation strategies and highlights current limitations and opportunities for processsing food with less water.

The book provides a reference addressing all the associated environmental, economic, and sustainability challenges of water processing in a direct, integrated, and holistic way. It covers cutting-edge topics of water-process engineering, sustainability, and energy efficiency. It is intended to serve and guide researchers, environmentalists, managers, technicians, chemical and environmental engineers, professionals, and scientists from water processing and associated industries, as well as to guide design engineers and operators of water and wastewater-treatment plants, representatives of government organizations, international agencies, and aid organizations. It can also be used as a textbook and/or ancillary reading in graduate- and postgraduate-level multidiscipline courses dealing with sustainable water treatment, wastewater treatment, resources recovery, agricultural and environmental science, chemistry, and chemical engineering.

We acknowledge and thank all the authors of the book for accepting our invitation, as well as for their dedication to the book’s concept, editorial guidelines, and timeline. Their collaboration and creative work are highly appreciated. We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with so many knowledgeable colleagues from Argentina, Greece, Italy, India, Iran, Malaysia, South Korea, Spain, The Netherlands, UK, and the USA. We also thank the acquisition editor, Kostas Marinakis, and the book manager, Katerina Zaliva, for their assistance during editing. And, of course, we thank the Elsevier team for guiding us through the production process.

Finally, a message to all readers: Big collaborative editorial projects may contain minor errors or gaps. For any mistake, objection, instructive comments, or criticism for the content of the current reference, you are welcome to contact us.

Chapter 1

Water as a finite resource: From historical accomplishments to emerging challenges and artificial recharge

Cristina Valhondo⁎,†; Jesús Carrera⁎,†    ⁎ Groundwater Hydrology Group (GHS UPC-CSIC), Barcelona, Spain

† Institute of Environmental Assessment and Water Research (IDAEA), CSIC, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract

This chapter resumes the discussion of relevant historical advances in water treatment, sanitation, and reuse, and it highlights the current challenges. The recycle and reuse of water has become essential for water-resource management because of increasing population and living standards. The most concerning contaminants in wastewater, with potential adverse effects on human health and aquatic ecosystems, are emerging organic contaminants and pathogens. There is no water treatment to remove the broad range of different molecules and pathogens without generating potentially hazardous or toxic disinfection byproducts. This chapter summarizes the available technologies for water treatment and production and points out the relevance of the artificial recharge of aquifer as a robust, low-cost, low-consuming technology.

Keywords

Water reuse; Water scarcity; Managed aquifer recharge; Emerging organic contaminants; Pathogens

Contents

1.Introduction

2.A historical appraisal: History of water treatment, sanitation and reuse

3.Emerging challenges

3.1Microbiological pathogens

3.2Emerging organic contaminants

4.Emerging water treatment technologies

4.1Eliminating contaminants by retention, breakup, and degradation

4.2Disinfection

4.3Membrane separation

4.4Reuse and reclamation

5.Artificial recharge of aquifers

6.Summary and conclusions

References

Further reading

1 Introduction

World population growth, global change, ever-growing irrigation, and economic development have led and will keep leading to increased water use and severe scarcity, especially in arid and semiarid regions [1]. The World Economic Forum [2] highlighted the water crisis as a worldwide risk because of its potential global impact. Bouwer [3] estimated the global renewable water supply to be around 7000 m³ per person per year (2000 m³ is considered adequate for good living standards and less than 500 m³ implies water scarcity) [3]. Therefore, water shortages result not from the global lack of water, but from the spatial and temporal mismatch between demand and supply. Things will get worse. Agriculture, livestock, and industry account more than 80% of all human water consumption. The need to feed an ever-increasing population will lead to a parallel increase in water demand. Although water might not be the biggest hurdle to meet this challenge [4], water systems will be stressed. Water engineers have traditionally overcome the problem through reservoirs (but these are reaching a limit in many regions of the world), water transfers (but these are unpopular and limited in distance), desalination (but this comes at a steep energy cost), and groundwater (see the following).

Groundwater represents 99% of the liquid fresh water of the planet [5], and it is the only readily available resource in many arid regions. Therefore, its use has increased sharply since the 1960s, leading to worldwide depletion of water levels [6]. Water-level depletion causes adverse effects, such as seawater intrusion (and loss of submarine groundwater discharge to coastal ecosystems), land subsidence, and especially the reduction of inflow to groundwater-dependent bodies. (Many rivers are losing their base flow and many wetlands are becoming dry.) In short, groundwater is always there; it can be used for moderate extraction or as a strategic reserve, but it cannot be viewed as a long-term solution to meet a growing water demand.

Integrated Water Resources Management is emerging as a primary way to address water scarcity [3]. Surface water, groundwater, pristine water, and wastewater must be combined to address this situation by implementing existing and new techniques for reconciling the demands of people, agriculture, industry, and the environment [6]. Otherwise, water scarcity might have drastic consequences, for example population migration or wars [7]. For two reasons, water reuse is increasingly considered an alternative for the entire water-cycle management and to support the circular economy: first, the discharge of effluents from wastewater treatment plants into surface waters is becoming more expensive because of the stricter requirements to protect the quality of the receiving water and the environment, and, second, discharge effluents might be considered an important water resource [3]. Levine and Asano [8] summarized this challenge by stating that, with the current demand, society no longer has the luxury of using water only once, and the recycling/reuse of water is needed for sustainable water resource management [8].

In this context, water quality becomes the leading problem. Wastewater was traditionally discharged directly, or after treatment, into recipient water bodies. As a result, a growing number of contaminants, from heavy metals to emerging micropollutants, have been detected in these bodies.

Water treatment technologies can help in alleviating the pressure on water quality in industrialized countries. But these technologies can be expensive; they require a considerable infusion of capital and infrastructure, the use of chemical products, and the added need of managing the generated residuals. Therefore, even in countries that can afford such technologies, the current trend is to reduce the production of residues and the use of chemical products during depuration processes, leaning more toward the natural treatment for supply-water production [7]. In this context, the artificial recharge of aquifers (AR) is positioned as an increasingly realistic option because it increases available groundwater resources and facilitates the improvement of the recharge water quality.

One of the most important difficulties to overcome in the area of water reuse is negative public opinion [9]. Water reuse, for nonpotable use (e.g., irrigation or industrial) or indirect potable use (e.g., discharge into drinking water reservoirs or supply), has been presented in many regions of the world as the alternative for facing the increasing demand for quality water [9]. Public acceptance is a determinant for a water reuse project to succeed. Negative perceptions may lead to failure [10], as in San Diego and Toowoomba, Australia [11, 12]. In some cases, the projects have been carried out with little awareness of the population, and in other cases projects have received great public support.

There is little information regarding how the public perception of water reuse has evolved through time, although some changes have taken place. Historically, the acceptance of water recycling depends on the potential use; it is generally more acceptable to recycle it for irrigation or for industrial cooling than for potable uses [13]. Factors such as age, political affiliation, public dialogue and information, trust in the technologies and in the public management agencies, or perception of the good quality of the reused water are also related to its acceptance [9, 11–13]. It is interesting to note that the cognizance of water reuse as already being part of the management scheme can help to increase public acceptance [9].

The objective of this introductory chapter is to provide the background for the rest of the book by summarizing the history of water engineering, as well as the emerging challenges and technologies. Managed aquifer recharge, which is not covered in other chapters, is also discussed here.

2 A historical appraisal: History of water treatment, sanitation and reuse

Water technology has gone through two well-defined periods: The ancient and contemporary eras, separated by the dark Middle Ages, and the slowly recovering modern age. Ancient times witnessed a slow but continuous improvement in almost all branches of water technology. In fact, it could be argued that water needs drove technological developments. Well construction is as old as history, with records in the book of Genesis. Around 3000 BC, a network of some 700 wells fed the city of Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley. Almost the same can be said of water conveyance. Bromehead [14] mentions the aqueduct of Nineveh, whose maker, Sennacherib, recorded on the masonry: To make the orchards luxuriant I cut and directed a canal with iron pickaxes from the borders of Kisiri to the plain about Nineveh through mountain and lowland [14]. Hydraulic engineering matured in Roman times. The only technology they did not master was the design of spillways, which prevented them from building reservoirs in running rivers. Still, they did build dams to create reservoirs fed through canals from nearby rivers. Examples include the Cornalvo and Proserpina dams in Merida (Spain), which are still operational.

Water treatment underwent a parallel effort, Sanskrit and Greek writings recommended water treatment methods such as filtering through charcoal, exposing to sunlight, boiling, and straining [15]. Wastewater was not treated in ancient times, but efforts to get rid of it appear to have been as old as efforts to get a good-quality water supply. In the mid–third millennium BC, homes were connected to clay pipes to carry wastes to cesspools in Babylon and Mohenjo-Daro, where affluent citizens and some peasants enjoyed latrines [16]. The Romans, who developed sophisticated sewage systems, culminated these developments.

Water reuse was not as pressing a need in ancient times as it is today, but wastewater was used for irrigation in ancient Egypt and China [16, 17]. And in general, it should be recognized that all water is reused through the eternal water cycle. In fact, aqueducts usually provided abundant water, and excess clean water was discharged into the sewage. The high dilution obtained in this way does not appear to have posed severe problems to downstream villages, which used it as a water source.

The Middle Ages brought an abrupt end to these developments. Although some records remain describing sewage systems in monasteries [17a], most Roman developments were stopped and abandoned. Things were not too bad in Muslim countries, where the religious demand for hygiene and the Arabic love of gardens and irrigation ensured appropriate water distribution networks for irrigation and supply. Some distribution systems in Spain date back to Arabic times.

In the rest of Europe, the aqueducts fell into disuse, which caused a double problem: lack of water and lack of wastewater dilution. As a result, surface-water quality became deplorable in large cities. In fact, surface water was a direct reuse of wastewater from upstream cities, without any treatment, apart from dilution. A typical example from the Middle Ages is London, where population growth boomed from 40,000 in the 12th century to one million in 1666, and the Thames was used both as a sewer and for water supply. The situation was even worse in Amsterdam, where the Amstel River was dammed to prevent intrusion of the saline water of the Flevo Lake. The city's ring of canals was soon highly polluted by the discharge of wastewater. It is evident that this caused epidemics of cholera and other waterborne diseases. It was not until the 16th century that measures were taken to improve the water, such as prohibiting the discarding of dead animals into the canals. The situation became unbearable; life expectancy in cities fell to between 25 and 35 years, with huge infant and children mortality rates.

The situation changed during the 19th century, largely because of water treatment. Microbes had been discovered, but their role in disease transmission was not even hinted at. Instead, turbidity, bad taste, and odor were empirically thought to transmit diseases. Filtration was initially proposed to improve only the organoleptic characteristics of water, but its health impact was immediate and spectacular (Fig. 1). Mortality was much higher in the cities than in the country, and life expectancy in cities rose by about 20 years because of filtration; the impact on the reduction of specific disease mortality was immediate (Fig. 1). At the beginning, water treatment was restricted to filtration. Paisley (Scotland) is often acknowledged as the first treatment location, but the rest of Europe soon followed after. When the role of pathogens became clear, more sophisticated methods were adopted to ensure disinfection: Ozonization was introduced at the end of the 19th century in Paris; chlorination was introduced in Jersey City (New Jersey, USA) in 1908 [15]. Activated carbon (charcoal), which had been used in ancient times, started in 1929 for taste and odor control, but with time, carbon also proved effective for removing organic substances during water treatment [19].

Fig. 1 (Left) Evolution of life expectancy at birth for French women during the 19th century [18]. Life expectancy was much higher in rural areas than in the cities at the beginning of the century. Cities started to catch up (arrows) when they installed water treatment (essentially sand filtration). Darcy did his experiments in order to design sand filters. (Right) Evolution of typhoid fever mortality at several American cities during the early 20th century. Mortality dropped dramatically after the introduction of filtration (F, arrows) and chlorination (C, arrows).

Potable water treatment and distribution was a big step, but it was not sufficient. Public health and city planning aspirations also demanded the elimination and treatment of wastewater. Engels (1845) wrote: the streets are generally unpaved, rough, and dirty, filled with vegetable and animal refuse, without sewers or gutters, but supplied with foul, stagnant pools instead. Thus, the old Roman concept of sewers was resuscitated. Formal treatment developed slowly. Wastewater had been applied as a fertilizer since ancient times, which naturally led to soil application. Also in Scotland, presumably for the first time in 1929, wastewater was passed through trenches to reduce the load of solids [16] in what may be considered the first pretreatment, as it involves eliminating all coarse material. Primary settlement followed as a natural continuation, when it was noticed that the addition of chemicals, such as lime, promoted flocculation and reduction of suspended matter. Thus, horizontal flow tanks were probably implemented around 1850, whereas radial tanks started in 1905 [16]. Self-purification processes were conjectured in several places when researchers noticed that the development of biofilms in porous media promoted an improvement in water quality [17a, 19a]. These self-purification concepts led to secondary biological treatment, and soon thereafter to activated sludge, which remained the basic paradigm of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) until the 1960s, when tertiary treatment was introduced.

A conceptual separation between wastewater and fresh water was maintained until the end of the 20th century. It became apparent that it might be more useful to restore this link by improving purification and control so as to address water scarcity and population growth. This concept naturally led to water reuse and was the starting point for many new projects and applications. Early attempts toward water reuse were undertaken in the USA in the 1940s when chlorinated domestic wastewater was used in the steel industry. However, it was not until the last quarter of the 20th century that water reuse appeared on the international agenda, first in industrialized countries. Between 1930 and 1970, the volume of reused water in Sweden increased by a factor of 6. A program for recycling the purified water of the Mikawashima WWTP in Tokyo started in 1951; the water was to be reused as process water for a paper mill. In this case, the quality of the purified wastewater was higher than the quality of any other available water source. The fast economic growth in Japan in this period resulted in a strong competition between industry and agriculture for available water sources, which made water recycling even more important. Today, 80% of industrial process water in Japan is already reused.

The principle of treating wastewater as a valuable source of water has become increasingly accepted by engineers, but not as accepted by the general public. We find it paradoxical, in view of the brief history we have just reviewed, that sanitary engineering is looked on with mistrust, despite having contributed more than 20 years to the increase of life expectancy. The technologies for producing clean and safe water from wastewater are available. Perhaps, the best direction for the future stimulation of water recycling is not so much in technology as in educational programs and information campaigns.

3 Emerging challenges

A broad variety of contaminants and pathogens are present in the discharged water, despite wastewater treatment. This implies a continuous inflow of these contaminants and pathogens into the receiving environment, and it implies their accumulation.

Newly designed (engineered) molecules appear every year for a broad range of applications. It is impossible to develop treatment methods to remove all of them at once. Advanced treatments have proven efficient for many of them. But these treatments often generate toxic and/or unknown chemicals. Consequently, a growing number of contaminants, which may have adverse effects on human health and aquatic ecosystems, have been detected in surface water, groundwater, and even drinking water. Emerging organic compounds and pathogens are of particular concern because of their potential effects on human health.

3.1 Microbiological pathogens

Potential microbial pathogens present in wastewater treatment effluents can be divided into viruses, bacteria, prions, and pathogenic protozoa and helminths. Water is a vector of transmission for many of them, which represents an important hazard for the public health, especially in developing countries. Most of these pathogens are enteric and, even though they lose viability over time, their ingestion could produce negative effects. Most of the last outbreak resulting from groundwater contaminations have been related to microbial contamination, as in the case of Milwaukee in 1993, when a Cryptosporidium contamination affected more than 400,000 people [7].

Viruses and prions constitute the worst threat because they represent around the 50% of the agents that have appeared in the past two to three decades [7]. Because of their small size (25–100 nm), the can migrate a longer distance through the aquifer material than bacteria and protozoa can. Viruses are usually more resistant to treatment processes and can cause infections even if they are ingested in smaller doses than other pathogens. The enterovirus is the group detected most frequently in wastewaters [20].

Pathogenic indicators are the parameters commonly measured in water samples for assessing their microbial quality, because it is not possible to detect and quantify all pathogens. Salgot et al. [21] summarize traditional fecal indicators (Table 1).

Table 1

From Salgot, M., Huertas, E., Weber, S., Dott, W., Hollender, J., Wastewater reuse and risk: definition of key objectives. Desalination 187 (2006) 29–40. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2005.04.065.

The definition and standardization of pathogen indicators, including antibiotic resistance bacteria and genes, and the development of fast and approachable analytic methods, is a major challenges.

3.2 Emerging organic contaminants

The term emerging organic contaminants includes a broad range of substances (together with their transformation products and metabolites), not only recently developed or designed, but also recently detected because of the improvement of analytical capacity. Microplastics and antibiotic resistance genes tend to be included in this term. They are difficult to regulate because their number is continuously increasing, and over time new ones replace some of them (this is especially true for pharmaceuticals).

The wide range of different types of molecules and their spatial and temporal variations entail the definition and use of indicators since determining all compounds in a sample is both analytically and economically difficult; this is a major challenge.

Carbamazepine is usually detected in WWTP effluents, and it displays little or no transformation during treatments or in the aquatic environment [22–24]; therefore it has been proposed as an anthropogenic marker in aquatic environments [23]. Nevertheless, new integrated methods such as passive samplers, and methods based on contaminants' load effect on living cells, to facilitate and to reduce the cost of contaminants detention, and to understand the contaminants presence implications, should be developed and normalized.

4 Emerging water treatment technologies

Water-quality demands have shifted: filtration was sufficient during the 19th century, but not during the 21st. This shift reflects several factors: (1) a higher sensitivity of the public to pathogens (reduced immune system capacity caused by the aseptic conditions during growth), (2) a higher sensitivity to health issues (sand filtering reduced infections dramatically, but a few deaths might go unnoticed), and (3) an increase in contaminant types and loads, as reviewed in Section 3. Certainly, a large number of chemicals have been introduced during the 20th Century. Since life was never exposed to these chemicals during the evolutionary process, many of them resulted in unexpected, adverse health effects (many are carcinogenic or endocrine disrupting, etc.). Worse, many have been designed to last under normal (oxic) conditions. Therefore, they are not eliminated during conventional treatment (mostly aerobic) and are they are termed recalcitrant. From a sanitation point of view, this situation is unacceptable. Traditional approaches to potable and wastewater treatment were described in their historical context in Section 2. These approaches no longer suffice. Here, we discuss briefly how water technologies have been developed to address the issues. These technologies are covered in detail in subsequent chapters.

4.1 Eliminating contaminants by retention, breakup, and degradation

The general objective of decontamination is to detect and eliminate any toxic substance in an efficient and manageable manner. Ubiquitous substances, such as arsenic, heavy metals, aromatic halides, nitrosoamines, nitrates, phosphates, and others, can be harmful to health and to the environment. Two key issues are the increasing number of potentially harmful substances and the low concentration (trace level) at which many of these substances are toxic. Detecting these substances and eliminating them, in the presence of others that occur naturally in much higher concentrations, from 3 to 9 orders of magnitude higher, is very expensive and complicated. Chemical treatment of a large volume of water to transform or remove a specific compound at trace concentrations is also expensive, and the treatment may not be effective for all potentially hazardous substances, and the major constituents may interfere with the treatment. Therefore, new methods are needed to detect toxicity and to eliminate toxic agents efficiently. The most powerful methods for the detection of contaminants at low concentrations are built around highly sophisticated laboratory instrumentation, and these are not low cost [7].

The standard processes for decontamination include:

1.Retention by adsorption: Adsorption refers to the retention of particles and solutes by electrostatic forces (the set of mechanisms is actually much broader, ranging from diffusion into immobile water pores, to formation of surface complexes). Adsorption is usually explained using the double, sometimes triple, layer theory, called DLVO after its originators [24a, 24b]. Biofilms tend to adsorb most (neutral) organic compounds; active carbon also displays powerful adsorption properties, so that it has become a customary tertiary treatment process, especially if membrane treatment is demanded for reuse. Still, new adsorption materials and processes are being developed.

2.Breakup of contaminants may be needed to facilitate degradation. The most recalcitrant compounds tend to be cyclic or very long organic chains. Breaking them up into short chains facilitates their degradation and removal. This can be achieved by ozonation or exposure to sunlight.

3.Degradation refers to the transformation of organic compounds into CO2. This is what is sought in biological treatment, where microbial activity is enhanced. Biological treatment is usually aerobic, which is required for moderate reaction times (tank volume is equal to residence time multiplied by the flow rate), but it restricts the number of eliminated compounds. A broader range of compounds would require a broader range of redox states to ensure varying metabolic paths. But, in turn, this requires long residence times, which cannot be realistically achieved in WWTPs, but may be achieved in aquifers [25]. This concept is behind the concept of artificial recharge through a reactive barrier, which will be introduced in Section 5, which follows. Alternatively, advanced methods are required. These include photochemical, electrochemical, and high-temperature processes.

4.2 Disinfection

The objective of disinfection is to produce water that is free of traditional and emerging pathogens, at an affordable price, and without generating other problems resulting from the disinfection process itself. Filtration, which had such a positive impact on life expectancy, is no longer sufficient. Other methods (chlorination, ozonation, UV, ferrates, etc.) have been incorporated into the water treatment industry, but none is foolproof, and all generate contaminating disinfection byproducts (DBPs).

One of the biggest problems is the deterioration of water distribution systems, which leads to biofilm growth and therefore requires the elimination of pathogens within the system. Disinfection with halogenated products produces toxic DBPs such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids. Therefore, effective control of aquatic transmission diseases in the water supply goes through new disinfection strategies that include multiple barriers (e.g., coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, and membrane or porous filtration) [7].

The use of light for inactivating pathogens has resurfaced again, ranging from visible to ultraviolet. Many entities dedicated to water supply have considered the use of sequential disinfection schemes, such as chlorination + UV or chlorination + ozonation, because both UV radiation and ozonation are more effective than chlorination in oocyte control of Cryptosporidium parvum. However, when combined with chlorination, they can generate a quantity of residual chlorine and the formation of high levels of DBPs. Virus disinfection is efficient with ozone, but is not as efficient with UV and chlorine. On the other hand, ozonation can form carcinogenic DBP in waters containing bromate ions [7].

4.3 Membrane separation

Membranes refer generically, and loosely, to devices designed for separating phases present within a liquid. This includes the separation of particles (microfiltration), colloids and macromolecules (ultrafiltration), and even solids (reverse osmosis) (Fig. 2). While often presented as physical separation controlled by size, this is true only for filtration. Reverse osmosis is driven by gradients in the energy of water molecules to diffuse across bioengineered impermeable layers (i.e., the aqueous phase does not flow; water molecules diffuse).

Fig. 2 Typical pore and microorganism size. Modified from A.A. Cronin, S. Pedley, Microorganisms in groundwater: tracers and troublemakers. Environmental Agency (UK), Tech. Rep. P2-290/TR, ISBN 1 85705 944 1.

Membranes are used with two primary goals in water engineering: desalination and water treatment. Both are the subjects of rapid advances.

Desalination refers to the production of drinking water from saline water, either from seawater or from saline aquifers. These sources represent 97.5% of all the water in the land, so desalinating even a small fraction will have a great impact on water scarcity. Since desalination entails the separation of solutes from the aqueous phase, it requires reverse osmosis. Seawater desalination entails a significant economic and energy expenditure (the energy required to desalinate seawater is equivalent to the energy required to pump it some 700 m). This energy is roughly proportional to salinity; hence it is an advantage to desalinate waters that are less saline (i.e., brackish water) than the seawater.

Membrane bioreactors entail the separation of particles, colloids, and large molecules by means of microfiltration or ultrafiltration membranes, and this process suggests excellent water quality (but no salinity reduction) for reuse.

4.4 Reuse and reclamation

The main objective of reuse and reclamation is to restore waters to the natural water cycle or to use them further in the urban water cycle. Waters used were traditionally considered waste, such as municipal or industrial wastewater. An important portion of the expense of producing water for human consumption is the pumping, transportation, and storage of water. Therefore, restoring or recovering water at the point where it will be used, or in the vicinity, would be very efficient. However, wastewater contains a wide variety of pollutants, pathogens, and high loads of organic matter that must be eliminated or transformed.

Municipal wastewater is usually treated with activated sludge and biological treatments to remove organic matter and nutrients, and it is also treated with sedimentation tanks where the solid fraction is separated from the liquid one. With this type of treatment, the quality of the effluents is sufficient for them to be discharged into surface waters, to be used for irrigation, or to be used in some industrial applications. At present, membrane bioreactors (MBRs) is the combination of a membrane process, such as microfiltration or ultrafiltration, with a biological wastewater treatment process, which is the activated sludge process. It is now widely used for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. This technology combines suspended biomass, similar to activated sludge, with microfiltration or ultrafiltration membranes that replace gravitational sedimentation. With this technology, higher-quality effluents are obtained. MBRs have the potential to be used in developing countries, they have a low footprint, they have a flexible design, and they operate in an automated manner, making them ideal for the localized treatment of wastewater in developing countries. Another application of MBRs is to pretreat for reverse osmosis, which, when followed by UV disinfection, can produce water for potable use.

Some current reuse systems consist of conventional treatments of activated sludge and subsequent pretreatment of the effluent, which contains a significant amount of solids in suspension, with MBR with microfiltration. These systems produce an effluent with dissolved species and colloids that can be treated with reverse osmosis. The use of thinner ultrafiltration membranes in the MBRs produces water with fewer dissolved solids than when microfiltration is used, allowing the reverse osmosis system to operate with less dirt. MBRs’ biggest problem is the clogging of the membrane, particularly when it leads to losses in the flow that cleaning the membrane cannot repair. Extracellular polymeric substances, such as polysaccharides, proteins, and organic matter, are produced by microorganisms and are the main responsible of clogged membranes. Therefore, the objective is to develop economic membranes with high flow and low clogging. The morphology and chemistry of the membrane influences the clogging of polymer membranes. In general, the polymers used in these membranes have mechanical and chemical stability, but they are hydrophobic and therefore very susceptible to adsorbing organic compounds. To reduce this tendency, polymerization of graphite or hydrophilic monomers on the surface of the membrane are used. Its use prevents clogging but reduces the intrinsic permeability, in addition to an expected increase in the cost of the membrane [7].

5 Artificial recharge of aquifers

Artificial recharge of aquifers, or managed aquifer recharge, using recycled water has been practiced for several decades in areas with insufficient conventional freshwater resources. The more extended ways to recharge aquifers are via riverbank filtration, infiltration basins, or deep injection into the aquifer. The use of wells to inject water directly into the aquifers (bypassing the vadose zone) is usually performed to store an excess of water produced during low-demand seasons to recover it later during the high-demand season, and it requires water of a quality similar to the natural groundwater quality to avoid aquifer contamination [26, 27]. The extra benefit of riverbank filtration and artificial recharge through the infiltration basin, compared to direct injection, is the transport of the recharged water though the vadose zone where the highest microbial biomass and diversity are located, so biodegradation reactions are common [28, 29]. The vadose zone is also where the highest decrease in pathogens have been observed

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