WRA awards unique recycling plant in Oahu

The Water Reuse Association awarded the private partnership between the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BHWS) and USFilter Operating Services (USFilter) for its treatment facility that recycles wastewater for manufacturing and irrigation use.

The Water Reuse Association awarded the private partnership between the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BHWS) and USFilter Operating Services (USFilter) for its treatment facility that recycles wastewater for manufacturing and irrigation use. The "Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Water Use" award recognises programs that advance water recycling and preservation, sustain the environment and increase public education of water reuse.

"Water is one of Hawaii's most precious natural resources, despite the fact that we're surrounded by an ocean. Our wastewater reclamation facility maximises the use of reclaimed water, which allows us to preserve and protect Hawaii's drinking water supplies," said HBWS Manager and Chief Engineer Clifford Jamile.

Faced with prolonged droughts, dry winters and hot summers, Oahu's groundwater aquifers have been historically challenged in meeting the island's needs. During the late 1990s, the island's water issues were compounded by a federal consent decree requiring the City and County of Honolulu to recycle 10 million gallons per day of water by July 2001 and limit the amount of wastewater effluent discharged into the Pacific Ocean or face stiff penalties for non-compliance.

A private partnership between USFilter and the HBWS solved the problem. USFilter designed, built and now operates a 13-mgd facility that uses microfiltration reverse osmosis, ultraviolet and other technologies to recycle treated wastewater effluent and generate two grades of water. One grade is high in purity and sold to power and refining companies. The second grade is treated to the highest levels as regulated by state authorities and used for irrigation.

"Every drop of reclaimed water we use for irrigation, industry and other non-drinking purposes allows us to save a drop of groundwater for use by citizens," said Jamile. "Efforts like this also help us keep rates down for the user because we've saved millions of dollars that would have been required to develop additional groundwater resources."

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