A mobile water recycling lab is being used convince people that water recycling is a viable solution to the current drought conditions in Colorado and the wider American West.
A viable solution to drought
How do you convince the public on the merits of water recycling, especially direct potable reuse (DPR)?
It’s an age-old question discussed time and time again between global water professionals.
Colorado has turned to a travelling, mobile water recycling lab to convince people that water recycling is a viable solution to the current drought conditions in the American West.
Called PureWater, the mobile unit was created by a team of researchers at the Colorado School of Mines, led by Tzahi Cath, professor of civil and environmental engineering.
The designed lab demonstrates how wastewater can be treated to high-quality drinking water. Simply put: dirty water in one end; clean water out the other in a physical demonstration that people can taste, quite literally.
A PR campaign on wheels
As reported by The Lake Lake Tribune, there was some scepticism at first from people to drink the water but many others understood the importance of the innovation.
The 35-foot trailer, branded by the Tribune as a “public relations campaign on wheels”, includes six steps of filtration and purification, including ozone, carbon filters, chlorine and ultraviolet (UV) treatments.
Interestingly, it does not include reverse osmosis (RO) membranes.
“Most DPR systems use reverse osmosis as one of the main barriers to stop small contaminants,” said Professor Cath. Speaking on The Conveyor podcast, he said: “Our system doesn’t have reverse osmosis system. It’s a non-desalination, non-reverse osmosis direct potable reuse, which is very unique.”
Data on temperature, flows, pressure and concentration of ammonium nitrate are measured and collected in real-time. Below is a video of Professor Cath explaining the concept of DPR: