Operating advanced water treatment plants for potable reuse differs from operating traditional water and wastewater treatment plants. Larry Schimmoller will present recommendations for influencing design and operating advanced treatment processes at the American Water Works Association’s International Symposium on Potable Reuse.

By: Larry Schimmoller, CH2M Global Technology Leader for Water Reuse

Larry Schimmoller will present his two papers, “Operational Recommendations for Advanced Treatment Processes at Potable Reuse Plants”, co-authored by CH2M’s Tony O’Neil and Jim Lozier, and “Potable Reuse without Reverse Osmosis: Pilot Testing Results for a New Potable Reuse Treatment Scheme,” co-authored by Tucson Water’s Jeff Biggs, at the American Water Works Association’s International Symposium on Potable Reuse, on Tuesday, January 26, in Long Beach, California.

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The American Water Works Association is hosting its first International Symposium on Potable Reuse this week in Long Beach, California. With increasing interest in potable water reuse, the conference will provide a unique venue for water reuse, wastewater and drinking water treatment professionals, water utility managers and executives, government agencies and others to discuss many of the hot topics in both direct and indirect potable reuse.

I look forward to attending and presenting during Tuesday’s sessions on two different tracks—Planning and Implementation, as well as Treatment and Monitoring.

During my first presentation, I will provide operational recommendations for advanced treatment processes at potable reuse plants. Operating advanced water treatment plants for potable reuse is significantly different and somewhat more challenging than operating traditional water and wastewater treatment plants. Typically, advanced treatment processes are mechanically intensive, highly automated and require extensive instrumentation and analytical equipment to ensure reliable operations and enhanced finished water quality. Furthermore, public health protection is paramount for potable reuse projects, requiring rigorous and defensible approaches for monitoring water quality and treatment process operation. Although a variety of advanced treatment processes have been used for potable reuse, common technologies employed at recent potable reuse plants have included microfiltration (MF), reverse osmosis (RO) and ultraviolet advanced oxidation (UVAOP).

Using operational and design experience from five full-scale dual membrane advanced treatment plants, I will share important operational considerations that need to be integrated across all delivery phases to reliably produce advanced water quality, while achieving sustainable long-term use of assets and processes.

In the afternoon session on potable reuse without reverse osmosis, Jeff Biggs from Tucson Water and I will highlight how the City of Tucson and Tucson Water are exploring potable reuse as a means to diversify and expand their water portfolio, in order to meet the needs of the greater Tucson Metropolitan area. In support of this effort, pilot testing of an innovative and sustainable potable reuse treatment scheme was conducted to test its feasibility.  The proposed treatment scheme, which does not use RO, offers significant benefits to utilities considering potable reuse, because it avoids generation of RO concentrate that creates difficult and costly dispose challenges.

Significant sample analyses at multiple locations within the pilot have shown excellent water quality with respect to pathogens, TOC, TDS, nitrogen, nitrosamines, fluorescence and numerous trace organics. The operational performance of the treatment processes has also been extensively monitored and the results, such as GAC regeneration frequency, will be presented to demonstrate performance. During our presentation, we’ll compare the sustainability of the proposed scheme to other potable reuse schemes and discuss the full-scale applicability to utilities.

For more information about the design and operation of advanced treatment processes at potable reuse plants, join me at the American Water Works Association’s International Symposium on Potable Reuse this week. Unable to attend the conference? Follow us on Twitter and use the #AWWA hashtag to keep with the latest happenings at the conference.

Larry Schimmoller is CH2M’s global technology leader for water reuse, based in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in advanced water treatment processes, such as membrane technologies, advanced disinfection and oxidation, activated carbon, as well as planning, managing and delivering water reuse projects. Larry serves on the WateReuse Research Foundation’s Research Advisory Committee (RAC) where he provides research guidance for the water reuse industry.  He has also served as principal investigator on several water reuse research projects for the Foundation to test alternative technologies for potable reuse and investigate the sustainability of various treatment processes through a triple bottom line analysis. Larry received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Clarkson University and a master’s degree in environmental engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.