Membrane Technology: A Resourceful Way to Reuse WastewaterReliable water sources are fundamental for keeping communities strong and people healthy. As drought continues to grip a good portion of our country, more and more people are finding resourceful ways to reuse wastewater to reduce some of the stress on our natural water sources.

Membrane technology is an attractive alternative to conventional water treatment in terms of cost and benefit. These technologies can be implemented in new and existing facilities, and can often increase the capacity of an existing plant within an existing footprint. While the design of a membrane treatment system can be complex, a well-designed system can provide ease of operations in addition to improved water quality.

Take a new water treatment facility in McPherson, Kan., for example. The facility will allow this Midwestern refinery to use treated wastewater for plant operations, saving approximately 1.5 million gallons of water per day from being pumped from a nearby aquifer.

Due to the nature of refinery operations, any unplanned or prolonged water outages can have detrimental effects for this client. Using a combination of membrane technologies like microfiltration, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis, the new water treatment system will provide a high level of operational flexibility and reliability to accommodate critical water production needs.

I’ll be at the 2014 Membrane Technology Conference in Las Vegas this week, and I’m looking forward to engaging industry experts regarding the latest advancements in membrane technology. I’ll also be presenting “Reliability, Redundancy & Long-Term Operations: Designing a Flexible Integrated Membrane Plant” at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11. I’ll provide a first-hand account of the project’s design process and all of the technical considerations that made it unique. And if you can’t make it to the show, you can learn more about the project by downloading this paper.

If you’d like, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn — and I hope to see you in Vegas!

Other resources you might be interested in:

Designing an Integrated Membrane System

The New Reality: Recycled Drinking Water?

Jake White, PE, is a senior environmental engineer in Burns & McDonnell’s Water Group. He is responsible for executing complex assignments associated with the design of potable water treatment, distribution systems, wastewater treatment and collection systems.