Futuristic WaterHub®: A case study in reuse
First-of-its-kind Emory University program exposes students to cutting-edge technology for water recycling and reuse
As a self-proclaimed “life-long student,” I am required to do a lot of reading. And more reading. That “more reading” is a perfect fit for my new role as a Senior Researcher at GlobalWaterWorks. I was recently reading my copy of the One Water Roadmap1 Report by the US Water Alliance (I’m sure you have a copy on your nightstand). In it, I came across a very interesting case study that I would like to share with you here. This is exactly the kind of cutting-edge technology that GlobalWaterWorks likes to find, to promote, and to see put in action.
Located on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, the WaterHub provides Emory’s students with a first-hand look at a living, learning water reclamation and reuse system. The on-site water recycling system uses cutting-edge technology to provide up to 90% of campus utility water needs, and nearly 40% of the university’s total campus overall water demand. This recycled water is used in Emory’s steam and chiller plants and toilet flushing in select residence halls. What this means for Atlanta is that Emory can reduce its draw of clean potable water by up to 146 million gallons annually from the municipal water system and replace it with recycled water from WaterHub.
The method: Eco-engineering processes
The WaterHub includes a series of hydroponic reactors that mimics nature as found in wetlands, tidal marshes and rivers. It filters wastewater through plant roots, and microbes clean out organic material. The system is designed to be odor free and is ideal for very dense public settings. In addition, a second lower site includes outdoor hydroponics and a demonstration reciprocating wetland (ReCip®) system, another eco-engineered treatment process.
Students have numerous educational opportunities covering microbiological and botanical research, engineering, urban planning and various reuse applications focused on public health research. The compact footprint of the WaterHub site allows for research projects that may not be possible in large treatment facilities.
A Water Purchase Agreement (WPA) between Emory University and Sustainable Water, developer of the WaterHub, allowed the university to avoid any capital expense for this project. The University is expected to save millions of dollars in water utility costs over a 20 year period.
Click here to read a comprehensive Project Overview from Emory University.
GlobalWaterWorks commends Emory University and Sustainable Water for the WaterHub, a program at the forefront of water saving.
Author: Jennifer Croft is a Senior Researcher for GlobalWaterWorks, a marketing organization focused on promoting smart and efficient water technology, thought leaders and resources that help water work for the planet, people and profit. She is based in Illinois but is often working off-site both in the U.S. and abroad. She may be reached at Jennifer.Croft@GlobalWaterWorks.org.
1US Water Alliance, One Water Roadmap – http://uswateralliance.org/sites/uswateralliance.org/files/publications/Roadmap FINAL.pdf
*Photo courtesy of Sustainable Water, http://SustainableWater.com
The WaterHub at Emory University – http://www.campserv.emory.edu/fm/energy_utilities/water-hub/
For more information on water reuse:
Water Environment & Reuse Foundation – http://www.werf.org/
WateReuse – http://www.Watereuse.org