ability have encouraged facility managers
to consider on-site recycling of wastewater or gray water.” The intrinsic link
between water and energy production is
what interests DOE in water reclamation.
Often overlooked is the fact that it takes
large volumes of water to create energy,
and it takes a significant amount of
energy to treat and provide clean water.
According to the River Network,
“Water-related energy use represents
over 13 percent of our national electrical
production, while electrical generation
now uses 53 percent of our nation’s fresh
surface water resources.” What concerns
the DOE is whether water supplies will be
sufficient to meet U.S. energy demands in
20 years and how the embodied energy
associated with water can be improved.
Research shows that decentralized water
reuse will improve our water and energy
footprints at the same time.
A New Approach
Organica-Sustainable Water’s answer
to on-site water reuse is called the
BlueHouse, designed for commercial,
industrial and institutional settings. This
technology treats water through a natural process – producing reclaimed quality
water suitable for boilers, cooling towers,
industrial processes, irrigation and even
toilet flushing. It features a lush greenhouse facility that combines traditional
wastewater engineering methods with
advanced ecological principles to form a
highly robust treatment system.
The greenhouse facility utilizes a
unique biological treatment method (fig.
1) involving a series of interconnected,
sequentially operated, cascading reactors. Water is circulated through both
aerobic and anaerobic chambers in which
suspended plant roots serve as a natural
habitat for microorganisms that form a
unique ecosystem specially engineered to
break down waste. In addition to its sustainable design, this patented process is
engineered to be 15 percent to 30 percent
more efficient than conventional technologies. These efficiencies include lower
energy requirements and less sludge production, at a greatly reduced footprint.
The BlueHouse can be as small as
1,500 sq ft and treat as much as 90,000
gal per day. Custom designs are capable
of treating up to 50 million gal per day,
making the technology highly scalable.
What really sets these greenhouse facilities apart is their ability to be incorporated into nearly any environment – urban
or rural. Small, odorless and aesthetically
pleasing, they are completely changing
the look and feel of water treatment.
On-Site Water Reclamation
Until recently, the U.S. has had relatively little broad-based exposure to water
crises. However, we have the opportunity
to learn from places like China where
water scarcity has impacted health, quality of life and economic growth. With
cities like Shenzhen witnessing enormous
population growth (as much as 20 million people in 30 years), water supply is
becoming a critical issue. More than half
of Chinese cities suffer from water shortages. Fearing stagnant economic development, the Chinese government started
coordinating new policies for developing wastewater infrastructure projects
throughout the country.
As a result of rapid urbanization
straining water supply in Shenzhen,
Foxconn Electronics was forced by the
central government to address its sanitary issues without placing any further
strain on existing water infrastructure.
Foxconn, one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world and the
largest private employer in China, is a
water- and energy-intensive manufacturing facility. To reduce its impact on the
environment, Foxconn searched for a
technology that was both economically
and environmentally sustainable.
Figure 1. The BlueHouse Biological Treatment Method. A 1,500-sq-ft facility can treat as much as 90,000 gal per day by circulating water through anoxic,
aerobic and anaerobic chambers. Suspended plant roots serve as a natural habitat for microorganisms that form a unique ecosystem designed to break
Source: Organica-Sustainable Water.
• Sewer Mining
• Disinfection (optional)
• Filtration (optional)
• BOD/COD removal
• Biological phosphorous removal