New Stanford facility will test water-recovery technology

526 Views

Ground will be broken Tuesday, March 25, on a new Stanford University facility that will test promising technologies for recovery of clean water and energy from wastewater.

The new facility, to be located on Bonair Siding Road, near the offices of Land, Buildings & Real Estate (LBRE), is a collaborative effort among university water-resource specialists and faculty researchers from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,  the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford-ledEngineering Research Center for Re-inventing the Nation's Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt).

The facility is funded by the university and by a gift from Stanford alumnus William Codiga and his wife, Cloy. Called the William and Cloy Codiga Resource Recovery Center at Stanford, the facility's mission is to accelerate commercial development of new wastewater technologies by testing at a scale large enough to demonstrate a process's effectiveness and stimulate investment for full-scale implementation. The center will also test technology that is mobile and can be deployed at remote locations.

Such new technology is eagerly awaited by water purveyors and wastewater utilities nationwide that struggle with the dual challenge of replacing aging wastewater infrastructure while coping with water shortages. While the facility will not address immediate drought concerns, it will create new options for long-term water management. For example, Codiga Center technologies may make it possible for wastewater, which is now transported to centralized sewage treatment plants, to be purified locally and recycled for irrigation, restoration of ecosystems and other purposes.

Potential power source

Researchers will also use the facility to test whether by-products of water purification, such as methane, can be used to power treatment plants of the future. For instance, Stanford postdoctoral researcher Yaniv Scherson is already piloting a process at the Delta Diablo Sanitation District's Antioch, Calif., facility that "turbocharges" methane combustion by adding nitrous oxide created from the ammonia in wastewater.

"The collaboration that led to this facility will showcase how the campus can meet its future water supply needs through innovative approaches that produce non-potable water locally where it's needed and in ways that save energy and money," said Richard Luthy, a professor of civil engineering and director of ReNUWIt, which is funded by the National Science Foundation. "Together with Stanford Utilities, we can demonstrate new approaches for reclaiming water while inspiring others to innovate and adopt solutions tested at Stanford."

Those applications are likely years away from implementation on the Stanford campus, according to Tom Zigterman, associate director for Water Services and Civil Infrastructure. But he hopes that the technologies will eventually lead to recycled water of an acceptable quality that could be considered as an alternative non-potable water supply and have a role in Stanford's long-term sustainable water management plans. Stanford currently relies on the Hetch Hetchy water system for its potable water, while also using groundwater and surface water diversion for much of its non-potable water needs. In the long run, however, as Stanford's water needs grow with its population and campus development, those sources alone may not meet all demands.

Before Stanford can reuse wastewater, a method must be perfected to eliminate contaminants that result, for instance, from pharmaceuticals and personal hygiene products. Such contaminants, if used today, might affect the groundwater that the university relies on as a potable backup water supply to its Hetch Hetchy water.

Details can be seen here 

Support
Please feel free to submit your feedback below
Feedback

CAPTCHA
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.