Task 6: Direct Potable Reuse of Waste Water

Task Sponsor: Bureau of Reclamation Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility

Background Information

There are a number of communities in the southwestern United States which suffer from water shortages. In several communities which are suffering from gradual loss of population, there is a common belief that people could be attracted to the community, or perhaps back to the community, if the water supply could be increased. One method of accomplishing this is through direct potable reuse of waste water within the community itself.

Problem Statement

From a survey of technical literature, determine what the best practice is on the subject of treatment for direct potable reuse of wastewater. Next, assemble an apparatus to demonstrate the process identified in the first operation. Lastly, use the first two steps to determine what technological advances, if any, must be made for direct potable reuse to become a safe, adequate, and widely-used process.

Design Considerations

  • The wastewater needs to be treated prior to disposal under almost any circumstances
  • Studies have indicated that a large fraction of fresh water delivered to a community reappears as wastewater meaning the right amount of water is available
  • The water does not need to be transported over great distances which frequently incurs a significant hidden cost in water supply
  • In any community, the water will be used for a variety of purposes, however, the water supplied must be raised to a potable level because some of it will be ingested
  • Check your home water bills to see what people currently pay to have water delivered to a residence
  • The treatment capacity of the apparatus should be sufficient to generate enough water to prove that the process works and for testing

Bench-Scale Demonstration

Your team will present a bench-scale demonstration in which you will prepare a functional apparatus to treat the wastewater. The presentation will consist of the full package representing technical, analytical, and financial performance results of your design. Judges will be scoring each team on how well they complete each aspect of this task. The evaluation criteria for this bench-scale demonstration are outlined in the section below.

Written Report Requirements

The written report should demonstrate your team’s insight into the full scope of the issue and include all aspects of the problem and your proposed solution. The report will be evaluated for quality of writing, organization, clarity, reason, and coherence. Standards for publications in technical journals apply. In addition to the listed requirements, your report must address in detail the items highlighted in the Problem Statement, Design Considerations, and Evaluation Criteria.

Evaluation Criteria

The method of evaluation for each project will consist of the following:

  • Technical fundamentals, performance, safety and other issues stated in the problem statement
  • Potential for real-life implementation
  • Comprehensiveness of performance metrics
  • Thoroughness and quality of the business plan and economic analysis
  • Originality, innovation, functionality, ease of use, maintainability, reliability, and affordability of the proposed technology
  • The quality of your treated water – the bench-scale processed water will be evaluated for treated water volume, separation efficiency, and time to process