While our society currently appreciates having quality drinking water more than ever, wastewater is still too often viewed as “waste”.
With the importance of quality drinking water, it is critical to think about how we care for our precious water resources. In fact, the United Nations recognizes wastewater as an untapped water resource and calls for immediate action.
“In the context of a circular economy, whereby economic development is balanced with the protection of natural resources and environmental sustainability, wastewater represents a widely available and valuable resource. The outlook is undeniably optimistic, provided action is taken now.” (UN Water)[i]
A shift from merely managing our wastes to valuing these resources and converting these traditional plants into Wastewater Resource Recovery Centers (WRRC) offers significant benefits to society. With this shift, utilities can move towards recovering water and solid resources as well as optimizing the production and use of alternative resources such as biogas.
Harnessing the resources inherent to wastewater has many benefits beyond the protection of human and environmental health. Generators can further heighten food and energy security and enhance climate change mitigation, while realizing the economic advantages of taking proactive action.
Wastewater resource recovery and sustainable management requires a circular approach that includes the (1) prevention or reduction of pollution at the source, (2) wastewater collection and treatment, (3) using wastewater as an alternative source of water, and (4) the recovery of useful by-products.
Here are five reasons why we need to leverage the untapped value of wastewater resources:
- Safe water:One tenth of the world’s population lacks access to clean, safe water. When proper wastewater collection and treatment systems are in place, they allow for the removal of bacteria and other contaminants so communities can access clean water – a necessity for health and wellbeing.
- Scarcity of water:Fresh water is scarce. Failing to re-use wastewater means failing to maximize a valuable resource. Recycling wastewater, through scientifically advanced, resource recovery systems returns much-needed, clean water, back into circulation.
- Energy from wastewater:Generators now have the ability to leverage advanced technical solutions to increase the production of biogas in digesters at wastewater treatment plants. This remarkable source of alternative energy can help to reduce operational costs, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and even power these facilities. This can help reduce the negative impacts of climate change.
- Fertilizer from wastewater.With today’s technologies, it is also possible to recover the solids from conventional wastewater treatment and convert these biosolids into pathogen-free, nutrient-rich, Class A quality biofertilizers. These fertilizer products are ideal for promoting healthy and productive soil and plant life. Converting treatment plants into WRRC’s is a great way to turn wastewater into valuable products.
- Cost savings & revenue generation.There are wastewater management solutions available today that offer low capital, energy, and operating costs while producing valuable, much needed products with real market value. Forward thinking generators are already taking advantage of these opportunities to reduce costs and make positive contributions to the circular economy.
We are excited to be able to contribute to the recovery of valuable wastewater resources. We offer innovative, safe, and efficient solutions for optimizing biogas production, providing alternative sources of carbon, and harnessing valuable nutrients in a marketable biofertilizer product with our LysteMize®, LysteCarb®, and LysteGro® products and processes. These solutions offer concrete examples of innovations that are practical and proven to facilitate the transition from traditional wastewater treatment approaches to a more circular, Resource Recovery model. This transition enhances our ability to protect precious water sources in a far more sustainable manner.
To learn more, please visit our website.
[i] UN Water. 2017. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2017. Executive Summary. Wastewater: The Untapped Resource. http://www.unwater.org/publications/world-water-development-report-2017/