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The Search for Economical Water Reuse in the Desert Southwest Paul Blowers and Hong Zhao Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering The University of Arizona. Water needs for population and sustainable growth worldwide.
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Paul Blowers and Hong Zhao
Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering
The University of Arizona
The availability of clean water is already a major issue, and will become a ‘water crisis’ if we do not act urgently
Access to Water Remains Insufficient, Especially for thePoor
Tucson, Water, and You
Slope = 12,000 AFY/year
Reclaimed water (as necessary)
CAP allotment = 215,000 AFY
Water Demand, Use (10
Natural recharge of groundwater w/runoff and rainfall = 60,000 A
Currently, we are spending much tax money on waste water treatment, but the benefit is just not showing because we have not been persistent in our work.
90% of the wastewater going into San Diego's $201 million North City Water Reclamation Plant has been discharged into the ocean after going through the expensive treatment process. The San Diego Union-Tribune examined plant records for the first two years of operation and reported October 10 that only 3% of the water has been reclaimed and sold. An additional 7 percent of the water is used at the plant for landscaping, cleaning filters and testing machinery. Commenting on the 16 billion gallons discharged into the ocean since the plant opened, Sierra Club attorney Bob Simmons said, “I can't think of anything to rival it in terms of the magnitude of water waste and waste of taxpayer money. It's scandalous, frankly.”
Simply raising more taxes for this type of project will not solve the problem. The most urgent task is to improve how we characterize the waste water, and find better way to recycle the water in a more effective fashion.
• Inefficiency of the designed water recycle facility.
• Education to the public is not powerful enough to lead people to use recycled water - "Oh, Icky reclaimed water!"
• Water is being used faster then the water cycle can restore it.
• Treated water is often subsidized, exacerbating the problem.
• Groundwater and surface water sources have become polluted and can no longer be used without required extensive treatment.
• New water sources often involve pumping water long distances, desalination, wastewater reuse, and or rationing.
(And What Happens to the Water There)
Wastewater characteristics produced by hospitals
Hospital waste water effluent has many constituents that need to be treated before post-hospital use:
pathogens and other biologic agents
X-ray processing effluents
Science, September 2001, Vol 293, 1786-1790.
We're Stuck - We Need Representative Water Quality Data from Sample Medical Facilities to Address Water Quality
Water reuse and treatment opportunities internally:
The way wastewater is handled now among sectors is very disorganized, using the same treatments and same technologies to handle a wide variety of issues without learning from the best practices in emerging areas
Different grades of water should be treated differently
Minimizing the treatment technology required and using the recycled water in a “matched grade” fashion will optimize the economical and environmental affects on our activities
You pay for clean water at the inlet and outlet now.
2) Raytheon Missile Systems - $792,252,171 payroll
3) University of Arizona - $561,432,996 payroll
5) Davis-Monthan Air Force Base - 7,692 employees
11) Phelps Dodge Mining Company - $168,000,000 payroll
12) University Medical Center - $116,500,000 payroll
13) Carondelet Health Network - $138,256,000
14) TMC Healthcare - $100,080,000 payroll
Total employees from these 7 major water users = 39,292
Tucson can't afford to lose any of these major players because we run out of water.
Funding for this work was provided by the NSF/SCR Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing