The dirty little secret in water… might just be… revenue!
Savvy wastewater pros are leading the way by using technology to efficiently manage wastewater and create new revenue streams in areas that were previously thought of as waste.
The dirty little secret is only dirty because it starts with wastewater. Smart, data-driven processes are harvesting nutrients, energy and water (N.E.W. Water) from wastewater. Furthermore, they are offering win-win propositions delivering benefits to wastewater management entities, corporations, farmers and the environment while generating hitherto untapped revenue streams.
Municipalities are identifying ways to treat sewage like a resource as opposed to just waste. Recycled water is not only being used to water golf greens but also for street cleaning, fire-fighting, geothermal energy production, industrial processing, restoring natural wetlands and creating constructed wetlands among other uses.
Distributed systems are helping to increase the turns on water inventories, harvesting waste for energy while reducing costs, mitigating risks and improving an organization’s carbon footprint. Read on to learn about case studies implementing cutting edge technologies that found the dirty secret in water and wastewater.
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC), along with Ostara, built the largest nutrient recovery facility in the world. Nutrient recovery helps reduce maintenance costs, mitigate risks and realize additional revenue for the District while also benefitting the farmers and the environmental ecosystem. What’s the secret here? Not only does this provide the District with a closed-loop system that mitigates nutrient pollution from entering the water stream, it also provides a rich resource for farmers (phosphorus from wastewater becomes a valuable fertilizer) and a new revenue stream for the wastewater facility. Reports suggest the process will more than pay for itself. Not only does the District receive $400/ton of Struvite harvested, but the nutrient recovery process reduces the buildup of blockage inducing Struvite in pipes, leading to significant savings in maintenance costs through the system.
On-site water recovery & reuse
BHP Billiton Oil needed to ensure water safety compliance, reduce costs and improve quality of life of an onsite drilling operation. Through WaterFleet’s onsite water and sewer services, BHP was able to realize improved reliability of water sources for its employees, save costs from trucking water and sewage, and utilize recycled water for drilling purposes while consistently meeting regulatory compliance mandates.
The secret here is in the rich resources of water and sewage that can be treated and recycled onsite, rather than trucked in and out – reducing risk and costs while increasing safety and quality – all onsite.
Following the initial pilot and during a 9 month period, WaterFleet helped an average of 8 BHP rig site locations:
- realize over 3.12 million gallons of water savings
- convert 100% of its sewage to recycled water
- eliminate over 2,000 truck trips and 100,000 miles hauled
- achieve a 100% pass rate on water quality and bacteria testing and
- accomplish seven figure savings
Wow, that dirty secret turned into a clean, revenue increasing revelation!
Smart energy saving solutions for wastewater – water reuse as a service (RaaS)
Fluence (formerly Emefcy, now merged with RWL to form Fluence) is providing water reuse as a service for commercial buildings, resorts and municipalities. These decentralized (onsite) wastewater solutions are helping facilities save money and hassles from unnecessary infrastructure build outs (such as pipelines). The localized processes are helping serve nearby irrigation needs as well. Further, the onsite smart solutions are able to save energy (up to 90%) as compared to traditional methods of treatment and pumping, and can even do so with solar power – creating a net-zero foot print and saving facilities about 25% in costs.
Innovative technology solutions with real-time monitoring capabilities provide an intelligent platform that not only makes the wastewater treatment process smarter but safer and environmentally friendly, paving the way for the water industry to realize additional efficiencies.
The case studies above reveal how innovative, sustainable and appropriate technology solutions can contribute to wastewater treatment and reuse while positively impacting the triple bottom line – making water work for the people, planet and profit.
- MWRD Nutrient Case Study on Ostara, http://ostara.com/MWRD/
- BHP Billiton Case Study with WaterFleet, http://waterfleet.com/case-study-bhp-billiton-drilling-camp-housing-water-needs-sourcing-and-recycling-during-drilling-operations/
- Emefcy ROI Model, now deployed in China: https://youtu.be/-58k0WXkou0
About the Author
Nandita Pinisetti, a founding member of Globalwaterworks.org, is a business and marketing executive with extensive experience in the technology and retail industries. A thought leader who embraces innovation, Nandita is data-driven and focuses on customer lifetime value, leveraging customer and competitive insights to drive profitable engagement.