[ASC-media] Combine Technologies to Ease Water Scarcity - International Water Recycling Expert

Cathy Reade creade at squirrel.com.au
Sun Nov 19 06:43:52 CET 2006

Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering

MEDIA RELEASE                                       

Embargoed: 20 November 2006




A world leader on water recycling technologies today said that it is
possible to alleviate the increasing municipal, industrial and agricultural
demands for water but it will require a range of technologies to do so.


“Decision-makers and governments around Australia should carefully consider
the range of technologies available, including desalination and waste water
treatment, in order to integrate a range of them, rather than going for one
technology alone,” advised Professor Enrico Drioli, Director of the
Institute for Membrane Technology at University of Calabria in Italy.


Prof. Drioli presented the latest information on these water recycling
technologies in his address “New Integrated Water Treatments and Production
Modes for City Planning” at New Technology for Infrastructure – The World of
Tomorrow, the annual symposium of the Australian Academy of Technological
Sciences and Engineering, which is being held at the Sofitel Wentworth,
Sydney, on 20-21 November.

Describing the countries and regions experiencing the worst water stress, he
reported that forecasts are for an increased water scarcity around the globe
by the year 2020.


“The solution to the water shortage problem requires significant scientific
and technological contributions, with improvements in terms of order of
magnitudes and not just few percents,” he told the audience from government,
industry, commerce and research areas.


“Water must be recycled and reused many times and the technologies and the
systems to do this must incorporate highly sophisticated treatment and
control technologies compatible with urban and social values,” said
Professor Drioli, an internationally renowned leader in water recycling


“The good news is that membrane operations, and particularly membrane
integrated systems which well simulate what nature has been doing for years,
represents a feasible solution and a sustainable alternative source of water
for Australia,” he said.


“It reduces wastewater treatment and disposal costs, decreases the discharge
of pollutants to the environment and provides water of a high-quality, and
can contribute to redesigning water production and distribution systems,” he


“Typically, water treated through membrane technology can be used for
aquifer recharge, indirect potable reuse, dual water systems in households
and industrial process water,” he explained.


“While seawater desalination processes are helping and make sense for some
locations, they have negative environmental and energy impacts. We must
develop alternative and additional complementary methods to ensure more
sustainable water production,” he said. 


Providing a number of examples of successful water recycling technologies,
he noted that new problems gaining wide attention in the water treatment
community include difficulties with boron and arsenic removal. 


The professor also noted that one of the principal barriers to widespread
water reuse is the need for public education. 


“People usually incorrectly consider that wastewater effluent is
irretrievably and hopelessly contaminated, while water flowing in a river,
no matter the quality, is natural,” he said.


“Numerous pilot plant studies and commercial facilities operating all over
the world can demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of
reclaiming municipal wastewater through pressure-driven membrane separation


Noting that some governments have already issued large-scale programs to
recover and reuse treated municipal waste waters, rehabilitate saline and
contaminated wells and other sources and desalinate brackish and marginal
water sources, he cited case studies from the Canary Islands, Belgium,
Italy, Germany, Spain and  Singapore.


As an Australian example, he described the Illawarra Wastewater Strategy as
a landmark initiative which is the largest plant of its type in Australia
that will save up to 7.3 billion litres of fresh water each year; reduce
demand for water from Avon Dam by up to 20 per cent; reduce impacts of
wastewater on sensitive marine ecosystems; reduce wastewater discharge to
the ocean from Wollongong, Bellambi and Port Kembla Sewage Treatment Plants
by about 40 per cent; and serve more than 190,000 people.


“Given that various States in Australia are considering the adoption of new
technologies for water recycling, it makes sense to look at all the
different available membrane operations, from the more traditional pressure
driven units, to the membrane reactors and contactors. These systems will be
able to solve problems from water quality, to brine disposal, to water
costs, to recovery factors,” he said.


“Water production, treatment and distribution might be completely redesigned
based on the concept of Integrated Membrane Operations, as nature has being
doing already for many years, in modern and advanced city planning,” he



For further information or to organize interviews, contact Cathy Reade,
Media Manager, 0413 575 934 or 02 9228 9175 or em: HYPERLINK
"mailto:creade at squirrel.com.au"creade at squirrel.com.au


The ATSE wishes to thank the sponsors for this event, including Arup
Australia; Cisco; Cochlear Limited; CSIRO Energy Technology; CSIRO ICT
Centre; CSIRO Publishing; Department of Transport and Regional Services;
Leighton Holdings; Macquarie Bank; NICTA; ResMed Foundation; Transurban
Group; University of NSW - Malcolm Chaikin Foundation; University of
Newcastle; University of Newcastle – TUNRA; University of Sydney; UTS;
Victoria University


ATSE is an independent body of eminent Australian engineers and scientists
established to promote the application of scientific and engineering
knowledge to practical purposes



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