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Water Matters: Taking Treatment Up a Level

In the third of a four-part webinar series about industrial water management, our experts weigh the pros and cons of advanced treatment technologies.
Webinar Recap: Water Matters 3
 
 
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    Whether you missed our last seminar on water treatment or have found yourself in need of a quick refresher, here is the shorthand:
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    Water management is integral to nearly all industrial facilities. Part 1 and Part 2 of this webinar series explored how to source and track facility water use and explored the ideas of water reuse and conservation. Part 3 dove deeper into the various levels of water treatment, pros and cons for each and how to achieve high-quality effluent for reuse. Our panelists wrapped up by giving some great examples of relevant projects that CDM Smith has delivered and looking toward the future of advanced water treatment.
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    Leading the discussion were three of our best water and wastewater treatment experts. Collectively, they hold more than 80 years of experience in wastewater treatment. Meet Marie Burbano and Rick Molongoski:
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    Why advance your water treatment?
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    The many issues threatening water supply today are encouraging companies to consider innovative solutions in biological and advanced water treatment. Rick began by examining what's driving this trend: stringent discharge regulations, increasing disposal surcharges, water scarcity and consumer demands.
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    More and more, companies are turning to more complex forms of water treatment to meet these growing challenges. Before you decide what treatment technology is right for your plant, you should assess your needs against the 4 Categories of Water Treatment, which Rick walked us through:
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    Water Matters 3: Four Categories of Water Treatment
     
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    Decide which level of treatment meets your requirements and weigh the cost of this treatment against the cost of surcharge fees. Moving onto some specifics around biological and advanced treatment technologies ...
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    So, you want to treat your water?
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    You are going to have to figure out if you need oxygen. If your water has high organic loading rates and you are interested in creating reusable biogas, opt for anaerobic treatment. Aerobic treatment is more costly, requires more energy and leaves a larger footprint. Aerobic methods are best used as a supplement when nutrient removal is necessary.
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    After covering these basics of anaerobic and aerobic biological treatment, our panelists articulated the advantages of membrane bioreactors, or MBRs, compared to traditional activated sludge systems. As they explained, the primary operational difference is the method of liquid-solid separation being used. MBRs typically use ultra-filtration membranes for separation, while activated sludge systems rely on gravitational clarifiers.
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    MBRs' ultra-filtration membranes provide benefits such as better solids control during process upsets, better containment of slow-growing bacteria, and better quality for water reuse. The ultra-filtration membranes will, however, require periodic maintenance cleanings once per week and semi-automatic recovery cleanings two to four times per year depending on the application. Finally, leading MBR manufacturers offer digital remote monitoring and analytic software to assist operators in predicting cleaning requirements and day-to-day system operations.
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    So, MBR systems have clear advantages over activated sludge treatment, but how should you choose between the different configurations of MBR systems available?
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    MBR systems offer truly "next-level" water treatment, using ultrafiltration to extract even small particles from effluent. To tie things together, Rick added MBR into the Aerobic vs. Anaerobic debate:
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    Water Matters 3: Aerobic MBR vs. Anaerobic MBR
     
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    Anaerobic MBR, or AnMBR, may be the "new kid on the block," but it serves to offer quite a few benefits over aerobic MBR, or AMBR, including significant energy savings. In fact, AnMBR actually creates energy in the form of reusable biogas.
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    As Rick pointed out, most AnMBR systems today employ a reuse method for this biogas back in production. If you want to learn more about using beneficial biogas through anaerobic digestion to secure your energy future, check out this article, "Securing Your Energy Future."
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    Whats the big picture?
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    MBR systems are the way to go. They may cost more than activated sludge but consider the benefits: requires less labor, reduces footprint and achieves a higher quality effluent. In fact, MBR systems are the only method proven to consistently produce treated water at such a high quality. If it makes sense for your plant, consider an AnMBR system for the added benefit of reusable biogas—then count the energy savings against your bottom line.
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    Right out of the gate, you can use MBR treated water for a variety of purposes: cooling tower make-up, boiler feed, air scrubbing solution, landscape irrigation and sanitation processes. Additional advanced treatment, such as reverse osmosis or ultraviolet disinfection, will be needed for reuse as process water. In case you are curious, CDM Smith has done all of this before. Rick filled us in on a recent project completed for New Belgium Brewing Company that piloted AnMBR:
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    Water Matters 3: New Belgium Brewing AnMBR Pilot Study
     
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    Our panelists pointed to a couple other projects that incorporated biological and advanced forms of water treatment—check them out to learn more: "Less Brine, More Benefits for Marathon Oil" and "Frito-Lay Snack Food Plant Achieves Ambitious Net-Zero Goal."
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    What does the future hold?
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    As Rick and Marie alluded to throughout this webinar, in many ways AnMBR is at the center of industrial water treatment's future. AnMBR opens the floodgates that allow for complex water treatments, like reverse osmosis, to convert wastewater into drinking water quality reuse water suitable for process use. In addition, businesses continue to find new ways to utilize the biogas byproduct of this process—sparking innovation left and right.
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    Looking toward the future of industrial water treatment, our panelists touched on emerging technologies like the moving-bed biofilm reactor and forward osmosis treatment. They indicated that companies should expect to see continued rising fees from local water treatment works. In particular, they expect to see total dissolved solids regulations to change, forcing clients to adopt more advanced treatment.
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    The challenges of today and tomorrow are leading companies to action. For plants to overcome these market conditions, they will need to implement comprehensive water treatment strategies. Undoubtedly, the technologies we discussed in this webinar will be at the forefront of these action plans.
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    So, that is it in a nutshell! We hope that the information provided in this webinar will be of use to you as you make decisions regarding water use and reuse. We sincerely hope that you will join us for Part 4 of this series, which will look holistically at Integrated Water Management. Stay tuned for more information!

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    Visit us at cdmsmith.com/industry or follow us on Twitter at @CDMSmith_IND
Water Matters Series Indicator
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Unlocking Waste Reuse Benefits for Craft Breweries
http://www.cdmsmith.com/en/Client Solutions/Insights/Unlocking Waste Reuse Benefits for Craft Breweries
Learn how CDM Smith is working with craft breweries, like New Belgium, to advance their treatment approach and cut waste by reusing water and capturing bioenergy.
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