Water scarcity, which was thought to be a problem for the distant future, is fast becoming a reality in parts of the United States and the world. Climate change, coupled with increased demand for potable water from urbanization and population growth, have brought the issue of water scarcity to the forefront of immediate concerns worldwide (Lahnsteiner et al., 2018; Leverenz et al., 2011). This has left cities and municipalities scrambling for reliable sources of drinking water. One solution that has been in the pipeline for a while is potable water reuse, in which highly treated wastewater is recycled into the municipal supply. Initially rejected by the public as ‘toilet to tap’, this process is= now getting a second look as it has the potential to increase potable water supplies, and has even been implemented in a few U.S. cities (Hooper et al., 2020). To meet regulatory requirements, as well as be acceptable by the general public as safe, potable water reuse must be treated to a very high degree. Because of this, one of the critical treatment processes for implementing potable reuse is reverse osmosis. Despite challenges such as high energy use and production of a concentrated waste stream, reverse osmosis can remove a wide variety of organic compounds to a high degree including household chemicals, solvents, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, and disinfection by-products (Drewes et al., 2005; Lee et al., 2012). While RO achieves excellent removal of a substantial number of organic compounds, poorer removal of some compounds is well documented including virtually no removal of specific organic chemicals like methyl chloride and bromomethane. (Breitner et al., 2019).
This presentation is available to AMTA Members only.
- Kerry Howe
- University of New Mexico
- AMTA/AWWA Membrane Technology Conference, Las Vegas
- AMTA/AWWA Membrane Technology Conference
- Organic Removal, Reverse Osmosis, Potable Reuse