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ENGG1006 - Engineering for Sustainable Development


Dr. Kaimin Shih



Office: Rm. 5-26, Haking Wong Building • Phone: 2859-1973 • E-mail: kshih@hku.hk


Keeping sustainable water resources is to….

Provide sustainable Protect and restore the

supply of water quantity. water quality.

“Water” - The Earth's Most Important Resource

“Provide Access to Clean Water”

The Grand Challenges for Engineering in The 21st Century

U.S. National Academy of Engineering

Feb. 15, 2008

Major Problems of Water Environment

• Limited Water Resource

Water is so common that we take it for granted

• Safe Drinking Water

Over 1 billion people (1/6) lack access to safe
drinking water worldwide

• Appropriate Wastewater Discharge

Historically discarded in the cheapest method

Water Resources Engineering


Water Cycle Components

1. Storage in ice and snow: freshwater stored in the frozen form, usually in glaciers, icefields
and snowfields.
2. Precipitation: discharge of water, in the form of rain or snow, from atmosphere.
3. Snowmelt runoff to streams: movement of water as surface runoff from snow or ice to the
nearest stream channels.
4. Infiltration: downward movement of water from the land surface into soil and porous rock.
5. Ground water discharge: movement of water out of ground.
6. Ground water storage: water exist for a period below the earth land surface.
7. Water storage in ocean: saline water stored in ocean or inland sea.
8. Evaporation: liquid to gas
9. Condensation: gas to liquid
10. Evapotranspiration: The process by which water is discharged to the atmosphere as a
result of evaporation from soil and transpiration by plants.
11. Water storage in atmosphere: water stored in atmosphere in as vapor, such as clouds and
12. Surface runoff: precipitation runoff which travels over the soil surface to the nearest stream
13. Stream flow: water movement in a channel on land surface, such as river.
14. Springs: a place where concentrated discharge of groundwater flows at the ground surface.
15. Freshwater storage: freshwater stored on the Earth surface, such as lake or reservoirs.
16. Sublimation: from solid phase to gas phase.

Global Water Distribution

2.5% × 0.3% = 0.0075% !

12900 m3/c.a (1970), 9000 m3/c.a (1990), 7000 m3/c.a (2000), 5100 m3/c.a (2025).
5100 m3/c.a would be enough to meet individual human needs, if it
distributes equally among the world's population.

The annual precipitation in Hong Kong is about 2169 mm.

Transport of Water

Engineering for Development: Aqueduct
“Aqueduct” is a water supply channel (conduit) constructed to convey water.

W ate
Purposes g
• Irrigation S

• Drinking water
• Transportation
(More recent time,
such as canals)


A 50 km aqueduct in the South of France.

Top layer: A water conduit

[1.8m H × 1.2 m W]

• Early Time:
Pont du Gard - “Bridge of the Gard (river)”. A 275 m
Earth or porous material
aqueduct constructed by the Roman Empire circa 19
BC. (World Heritage Site in 1985) • Modern time:
Concrete, polymers, or
impermeable soils

Hoover Dam

When completed in 1936, it was the

world's largest concrete structure
(379 m L × 221m H). Lake Mead can
store 35.2 km³ of water.

Dedicated aqueduct from Dongjiang intake to
Shenzhen Reservoir (since 2003)

: Output capacity 2.6 Mm3 per day

Plover Cove Reservoir (1967)
Storage capacity 0.22973 km3
(229.73 Mm3)

High Island Reservoir (1978)

Storage capacity 0.28112 km3
(281.12 Mm3)

Alternative Water Source

To conserve supplies of fresh water,

Hong Kong is progressively
increasing the use of sea water as
an important alternative source of
flushing water for buildings. Sea
water, treated at seafront salt water
pumping stations, is piped to end
user buildings or into service
reservoirs for storage. About 80 %
of Hong Kong’s population uses salt
water for flushing purposes.

Functional Components of Modern-Day Water Utility

How expensive of producing drinking water ?

($$ /m3)

Knowledge Applied in Water Resources Engineering

ƒ Hydrology
Sources and quantity of water

ƒ Hydraulic engineering
Design of wells, dams, reservoirs, transport, distribution systems

ƒ Physics, Chemistry, Microbiology

Water quality and treatment processes

ƒ Management
Policies, administration

ƒ Economics
Cost evaluation, pricing

Water Treatment

Why We Need Water Treatment ?

• Purification for domestic use

• Treatment for specialized industrial applications


• Domestic use:
Thoroughly disinfected, appreciate level of mineral ions

• Boiler use:
Very low mineral ions but may tolerate bacteria

Common Drinking Water


For drinking water from

natural water source

Application Example:
Treating Well Water for Municipal Use

• Aeration: volatile compounds (H2S, CH4, NH3,...)

• Lime (CaO or Ca(OH)2): pH↑, precipitate metal ions
• Coagulation: add Fe- or Al-sulfates to settle suspended particles
• CO2: pH adjustment back to neutral
• Cl2: disinfection

Application Example:
Treating Water for Industrial Use

External Treatment
Basic treatment for entire water supply
• Aeration, coagulation, sedimentation, sand filtration, etc.

Internal Treatment
Further modify properties for specific applications
• Addition of inhibitors to prevent corrosion
• Agents to prevent metal ions precipitation
• Disinfection for food processing
• Membrane filtration for electronic components fabrication

Disinfection Technique: Chlorination

™ Most commonly used:

Cl2(g) + H2O → H+ + Cl- + HOCl
HOCl → H+ + OCl-
HOCl and OCl- are "free available chlorine" and very effective
in killing bacteria.

™ Chloramines can also be used by having ammonia:

NH4+ + HOCl → NH2Cl (monochloramine) + H2O + H+
NH2Cl + HOCl → NHCl2 (dichloramine) + H2O
NHCl2 + HOCl → NCl3 (trichloramine) + H2O
Chloramines are "combined available chlorine", weaker
disinfectants, but are more readily retained throughout the
distribution system.

™ The problem is carcinogenic "disinfection by-products (DBPs)",

such as trihalomethanes (THMs), produced by reacting with
organic matters.

Disinfection Technique: Ozonation

™ A disinfectant in place of chlorine,

particularly in Europe. Generated on site to
contact water for 10-15 mins:
2O3 → 3O2(g)

™ Advantages: No order or taste left in

treated water, and More destructive to
viruses than chlorine.

™ Ozonation gained increased interest due to

the concern over DBPs by chlorination, but
it was recently discovered with the
promotion of bromate (carcinogenic)
formation in water.
Br- + O3 → BrO3-
™ Disadvantages: No residual in water due
to low solubility, and the potential bromate

Sewage (Wastewater)

Municipal sewage may contain...


Algal Nutrients
Municipal Oil
Grease Sewage
Sediments Organics

Others that were hard to image !?

Strategy of Sewage (Wastewater) Treatment

Further Tertiary Treatment


BOD Removal... Secondary Treatment

Insoluble matters... Primary Treatment

Primary Treatment

Purpose: Removal of insoluble matters (solids, grease,...)

• Screening out large size solids (usually the first step)

• Remove settleable and floatable solids by primary

- Add chemicals to help settling or precipitation and remove
them as sludge
- Remove floats known collectively as grease by skimming

Secondary Treatment (1)

Purpose: Use biological process to remove BOD

• BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand)?

- Measure how fast biological organisms use up oxygen in a body
of water
- Pristine rivers: <1 mg/l; Moderately polluted: 2-8 mg/l; Untreated
sewage: 200-600 mg/l.
- Indicate how much harmful biodegradable organic matters in

• Strategy:
Using aerobic biological processes. Microorganisms
provided with added oxygen to degrade organic matters in
water, in order to reduce organic matters (also BOD) to
acceptable levels.

Secondary Treatment (2)

• Attached Growth Processes:

- Trickling Filter
Wastewater is sprayed over hard solid
support covered with microorganisms, and
is exposed to air.

- Rotating Biological Reactor

Microorganisms grow on the drums, and
the drums are slowly rotated to
periodically submerge the microorganisms
in the wastewater to remove organic

Secondary Treatment (3)

• Suspended Growth Process:

- Activated Sludge
Add dissolved oxygen to
promote the growth of
microorganisms on suspended
sludge that substantially
removes organic matters. The
process create large surface
area for reaction, but will need to
settle and treat the sludge
particles during the process.

Tertiary Treatment

• Sometimes called "Advanced Water Treatment"

• Further remove:
- Dissolved small organic compounds (potential toxicity)
- Dissolved inorganic materials (algal nutrients, nitrates,
phosphates, hazardous metals)

• Disinfection to kill bacteria/viruses which may be harmful

to human/animal health.

• Examples: chlorination, ozonation, UV disinfection,

activated carbon sorption, filtration, distillation, etc.

Technology Outlook:
Membrane Filtration for Water

Membrane Filtration

(Reverse Osmosis) (Nanofiltration) (Ultrafiltration) (Microfiltration)

ƒ Advantages:
High treatment efficiency, stable system, compact facility (low capital cost)

ƒ Disadvantages:
Energy consumption (high operational cost), cost of membranes*

* Largely decreased recently but is still a major cost for good membranes

Orange County Water District’s Reclaimed Water

Water Factory – 21
One of the best known projects of the Orange
County Water District (OCWD), located along
the Southern California coast between Los
Angeles and San Diego.

Water Factory 21 protects groundwater from

seawater intrusion by injecting up to 5.7 x 104
m³/d of highly treated reclaimed water blended
with deep-well water into four coastal aquifers.
More than half the injected water flows inland
and becomes potable water supplies.

The treatment technique includes clarification,

sand filtration, followed by reverse osmosis
(RO) membrane technology and chlorination.

Water Factory 21 plans to provide a reliable

supply of injection water, even in times of
drought period.

Water Reuse
Most difficult is on the controversy swirling around the "Toilet to
Tap" idea, which appears to offend the sensibilities.

The Role of Engineered Treatment, Reclamation, and
Reuse Facilities in The Cycling of Water

(Metcalf & Eddy, 4th ed, 2003)

To see may not be something you would like to believe ~

“The Water World” Lab

* Brought to you by Dr. Shih’s research group…

Got Safe Water to Drink ?

██ Methyl Red (pH=5) ██ ██ Thymol Blue (pH=9) ██

Acidic Neutral Basic

What Is It in Your Water ?

NaOH(aq) NaOH(aq)

Weak Acid Strong Acid

pH2.5 pH2.5
0.1 M of CH3COOH(aq) 0.003 M of HCl(aq)

██ Methyl Red (pH=5) ██

CH3COOH(aq) → HCl(aq) → H+ + Cl-
CH3COO- + H+
(Ka= 107)
(Ka= 10-4.75)

[CH3COO-][H+]/ [Cl-][H+]/[HCl] = 107

[CH3COOH] = 10-4.75
pH4 pH11

[CH3COOH] >> [CH3COO-] [Cl-] >> [HCl]

It Is NOT Just Water !!

ZnCl2 (aq) NaOH (aq)

ZnCl2(aq) ⇒ Zn2+ + Cl-

NaOH(aq) ⇒ Na+ + OH-

Zn(OH)2(s) ↔ Zn2+ + 2OH- (Ksp= 10-16.35)

When [Zn2+][OH-]2 > 10-16.35, precipitation of Zn(OH)2(s) will happen

Engineer’s TOOLBOX…

for our Sustainable Development…

Henry’s Constant

 Acidity Constant, (Ka)

CH3COOH(aq) → CH3COO- + H+ Ka = 10-4.75

 Solubility Constant, (Ksp)

Zn(OH)2(s) → Zn2+ + 2OH- Ksp = 10-16.35

 Henry’s Constant, [KH]

NH3(g) → NH3(aq) KH = 57 (M/atm)

Solubility of Gases in Water


Henry’s Law:
[Dissolved Gas]
[Dissolved Gas] = KH Pg William Henry (1775-1836),
an English chemist.

[Dissolved Gas] = concentration of dissolved gas (M = mol/L)

KH = Henry’s Constant (mol/L-atm or M/atm)
Pg = the pressure of the gas (atm)

Henry’s Constants (M/atm) „ At 25oC and 1 atmosphere of

pressure, what is the equilibrium
concentration of O2 in water?

Air is 21% of O2(g), Pg = 0.21 atm.

[O2] = KH × Pg = 0.0012630 × 0.21

= 2.65 × 10-4 M = 8.5 mg/L

Ammonia Stripping – An example of removing
volatile organic chemicals from water
Q: Wastewater is contaminated by ammonia
[NH3] and ammonium [NH4+] ions with a total
concentration of 7.1 × 10-4 M. You are given
the equilibrium condition between these two
NH4+ = NH3 + H+ Ka = 5.5×10-10

At pH10, 25oC and atmospheric ammonia

pressure is 5 × 10-10 atm, how much
percentage of total dissolved ammonia
(including both ammonia and ammonium) can
be removed by blowing air into this
wastewater when equilibrium reached?

You are given Henry’s Constant of NH3 at

25oC as KH = 57 M/atm.

Dr. Shih’
Shih’s Catch & Treat Lab.

Henry’s Law:
[NH3] = KH Pg
← Inject Air

Pg of NH3(g)
= 5 × 10-10 atm

Total NH3(aq) : Total NH3(aq) :
[NH3] + [NH4+] [NH3] + [NH4+]
=?M = 7.1 × 10-4 M


n In equilibrium with air,

[NH3]eq = KH × PNH3 = 57×5×10-10 = 2.85×10-8M

o Due to:

NH4+ = NH3 + H+ Ka = 5.5×10-10

In equilibrium with air, the concentration of NH4+ is:
[NH4+]eq = [NH3]eq [H+] / Ka = 5.2×10-9M

p The total dissolved ammonia (including both ammonia and

ammonium), [NH3]eq, T, is : Bye, bye!
[NH3]eq, T = [NH3]eq + [NH4+]eq = 3.37 × 10-8 M

q So, the % removal is:

1 – [ (3.37 × 10-8) / ( 7.1 × 10-4) ] = 99.995%

ENGG 1006: Engineering for Sustainable Development

Dr. Shih’s Regular Office Hours

QUESTIONS, learning HELP, or more DISCUSSION ?

(1) In person
September 7, 14, 21, 28 (Mondays) 5-7pm at Haking Wong Building
Room 5-26

(2) Via phone or e-mail

Call 2859-1973 or e-mail for appointment

Kaimin Shih
(PhD, Stanford University)



Office: Rm. 5-26, Haking Wong Building • Phone: 2859-1973 • E-mail: kshih@hku.hk