Inside looks at groundbreaking water treatment technologies are among the highlights of this year’s Pacific Water Conference (PWC) presentations. Hosted by the American Water Works Association, Hawaii Section, and the Hawaii Water Environment Association, the eighth annual PWC brought water and wastewater professionals together using a virtual format to collaborate, earn credits and hear from thought leaders.

Sessions spanned a wide range of timely industry topics such as smart utility, digital monitoring, and alternative water supplies. Presentations on process intensification and water reuse, however, topped the agenda. Two sessions that offered equally detailed views and matching analysis were “Process Intensification Using Membrane Bioreactor Process” and “A Proof-of-Concept Demonstration for Future Potable Reuse.”

Brown and Caldwell experts Dr. Jose Jimenez and Robert McCandless led the presentations, respectively.

“These technologies represent significant changes over existing process treatment and operations,” said Dr. Jimenez, a vice president and process and research specialist with Brown and Caldwell.

Process intensification

Dr. Jimenez’s presentation, “Process Intensification Using Membrane Bioreactor Process,” covered how one Georgia utility successfully incorporated more treatment with fewer chemicals and less energy into its water reclamation facility design.

“These processes will allow the utility to increase plant capacity, meet existing and proposed effluent load allocation, modernize treatment, minimize operation costs, and improve sludge handling process and disposal issues,” Dr. Jimenez said.

The improvements will also benefit the community by addressing odor, noise, and light issues as well as sludge handling and disposal.

Potable reuse

From the Peach State to the Golden State, McCandless’ presentation offered PWC attendees a glimpse into the future of potable reuse in Southern California.

“This advanced water purification demonstration facility represents a realistic vision for the future of wastewater treatment plant design and water reuse that optimizes the treatment process, saves money, increases local water supplies, builds groundwater storage resiliency, helps mitigate the impacts of climate change and drought, and truly benefits the community,” said McCandless, vice president and an advanced water purification and membrane specialist with Brown and Caldwell.

To meet compliance and regulatory mandates, the wastewater treatment process features a BNR MBR system, reverse osmosis, UV-AOP, and product water stabilization so that the product water can be reused at places such as an airport for irrigation, toilets, cooling towers, and fire sprinklers. The facility will help demonstrate the efficacy of the treatment process to provide for other uses including replenishing groundwater storage basins to increase resiliency.

“When complete, the facility will be a multi-use building housing the RO and UV-AOP systems that is configured for tours and an outdoor hosting area.

“It will be sophisticated and educational,” McCandless said.


About the experts

Dr. Jose Jimenez is a vice president and process and research specialist at Brown and Caldwell with an impressive 20-year career of developing and implementing groundbreaking wastewater treatment technologies. Dr. Jimenez’s work focuses on innovative technologies and approaches to nutrient removal and recovery; carbon diversion; energy and chemical reduction; and process optimization. He is a licensed professional engineer, a board-certified environmental engineer, and has published numerous peer-reviewed articles with an emphasis on wastewater resource recovery and process intensification. Additionally, Dr. Jimenez was elected a WEF Fellow in 2019 and serves as chair of WEF’s Municipal Treatment Symposium and Program Committee.

Robert McCandless is a vice president and an advanced water purification and membrane specialist with Brown and Caldwell.  He has over 32 years of experience with a range of water and wastewater engineering projects, predominantly with treatment plants.  He has been part of over 40 projects utilizing membrane filtration for drinking water, membrane bioreactors, reverse osmosis and nanofiltration. His projects include both municipal and industrial clients, and include drinking water, process water, and water reuse applications.

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