Bord na Mona: Membrane solutions are key to future of water reuse

ORLANDO, FL, Oct. 20, 2009 -- Highlighting that the time has come for the industry to adopt a new approach to meeting the challenge of growing water shortages, Bord na Mona Environmental Products U.S. Inc. asserted that decentralized membrane based treatment solutions are key to solving future water restrictions...

ORLANDO, FL, Oct. 20, 2009 -- Highlighting that the time has come for the industry to adopt a new approach to meeting the challenge of growing water shortages, Bord na Mona Environmental Products U.S. Inc. today asserted that decentralized membrane based treatment solutions are key to solving future water restrictions.

"Wastewater is rapidly being recognized as a significant source of water, and it should be," said Shane Keaney, President of Bord na Mona Environmental Products U.S. Inc. "Many current municipal wastewater treatment systems are large centralized works that waste the water resource rather than reuse it and consume large amounts of energy to move wastewater from the source to the treatment plant."

According to Keaney, there has been a historic concern about the robustness, cost and operational effectiveness of residential and decentralized wastewater systems, creating the need for treatment solutions that deliver reduced complexity, have a small footprint and are easily constructed within buildings to minimize aesthetics and odor concerns when located within existing neighborhoods. "New innovative technologies are being developed to meet these demands with membrane treatment leading the way where water reuse or high nitrogen performance standards are specified," Keaney emphasized.

The challenges for designers and manufacturers of decentralized membrane systems include:

• Reducing the complexity of the plant by eliminating the need for permeate pumps, chemical dosing and backpulse pumps & valves.
• Reducing the frequency of recovery cleans.
• Improving health & safety through removing the need for onsite chemicals.
• Consideration of phasing of flows and periods of no flow.
• Having pre-engineered solutions that match the required flow rate.

"As the greatest portion of operating costs for decentralized systems is often associated with the provision of manpower, unattended operation through simplicity in design, and introduction of remote monitoring technology will be critical to making these systems affordable," Keaney continued.

Unlike conventional biological treatment technologies, membrane systems are able to maintain higher biomass concentrations in the bioreactor (up to 12,000 mg/L) and operate efficiently with short hydraulic residence times. This reduces the biological system volume requirement and footprint by the order of 50%. Other inherent advantages of membrane systems include the longer sludge retention time providing enhanced nutrient removal and reduced volumes of biomass to treat or dispose.

Using smaller, decentralized systems to draw off wastewater from existing, centralized-sewer systems is proving to offer wide-ranging benefits. Sewer mining relieves pressure on existing, centralized infrastructure by intercepting a portion of their volume, while at the same time conserving potable water supplies by providing an additional water resource that is especially beneficial to drought-stricken areas. This has also meant a benefit for taxpayers because their local, public utilities do not have to expand existing water & wastewater infrastructure to accommodate the new development, often leading to a much lower cost for each gallon of water.

Bord na Mona offers a new generation of decentralized and tertiary treatment technologies for water reuse that are replacing traditional activated-sludge systems with more affordable, energy efficient and reduced carbon footprint designs.

The PuraM® Membrane Bioreactor offers significant improvements in small-flow and water-mining applications. The only membrane system with an enhanced air-scour, flat-plate design to reduce the frequency of chemical cleans, PuraM also reduces complexity by eliminating back pulsing, onsite chemicals and permeate pumps.

The PuraMAX® Moving-Bed Biological Reactor (MBBR) System is a cost-effective solution for ammonia, total nitrogen and high strength wastes.

PuraMAX uses a unique recycled plastic media, and is suitable for IFAS configurations and for the retrofit of existing systems.

The PuraSAF® Submerged Aerated Filter is an upflow filter using a unique recycled plastic media to provide superior oxygen transfer rates for secondary, ammonia and lagoon uprating applications. In unaerated mode, PuraSAF can serve as a low cost solids or denitrification tertiary filter.

About Bord na Mona
Headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Bord na Móna is a multi-national $550-million full line provider of products and services in the environmental, energy, fuels, and horticulture markets. The company's state-of-the-art, environmentally responsible wastewater, water reuse and air pollution treatment solutions deliver significant environmental benefits for homeowners, communities, and municipalities. The company is dedicated to forging a new contract with nature through the development of innovative solutions focused on water conservation, re-use, material recycling, and energy and chemical reduction. Bord na Móna Environmental Products U.S. Inc. (www.bnm-us.com) is headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina.

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