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Q&A: Water reuse expert Glen Trickle

Water reuse has become a major talking point in the world of water solutions, and a marker for future water sustainability. Glen Trickle, responsible for R&D for the Treatment Business Unit at Xylem, answers five questions on the issue.

1. Why is water reuse important?

Water scarcity is one of the critical challenges of our time. Growing demand and limited supply put pressures on all of us to conserve water. Water reuse is an environmentally sound approach to sustainable water management. 

2. How can Xylem and its customers help ensure our future water supply?

Xylem’s reuse solutions cover a broad range of applications allowing precious water to be recycled for many purposes. These include:

– Restricted and unrestricted urban use, such as parks, fire protection, landscape irrigation and toilet flushing

– Industrial use, such as cooling water, process water and for the production of petrochemicals, coal, cement and other products

– Groundwater recharge, such as increasing potable and non-potable aquifers and storing for future potable use

– Agricultural use for harvested food, orchards and vineyards and nonfood crops, such as pasture for milking animals or fiber and seed crops

– Environmental and recreational use, such as wetland enhancement, wildlife habitat and refuge, and water parks

– Surface water augmentation, such as indirect potable reuse via rivers, streams, aquifers and other means.

Before developing processes for these applications, we reviewed all the existing reuse regulations worldwide and mapped them out for all six applications. We then developed unique treatment process trains by combining Xylem’s wide range of technologies. This ensured that we met all regulations for all six applications, globally.

3. What are the key customer considerations when looking at reuse?

Firstly, process integration expertise – customers need to know they can optimize their water reuse, integrate the right technologies to meet established targets and have the ability to expand to meet future needs. Cost is also an issue. The customer will want to integrate water reuse processes with the goal of delivering the lowest possible life cycle costs. Lastly, a customer wants some sort of process guarantee. They will look for a solutions provider with experience to deliver integrated water reuse solutions that secure future supply, quality and cost-savings.

4. What are Xylem’s water reuse product strengths?

Xylem’s range of solutions are based on combining our own products and those of partnership companies. This deep product knowledge and understanding of the performance of the individual components enables us to best understand how they function together in an integrated process.  Xylem’s product knowledge positions us best to optimize the process to achieve optimal energy consumption and overall life cycle cost for the customer. Among the technologies we are able to offer are dual-stage bioreactor systems for wastewater with high suspension levels, conventional biological treatments, reverse osmosis and micro-, ultra-, nano- and membrane filtration systems, ozone oxidation and UV disinfection systems.

5. How has Xylem demonstrated its commitment to reuse?

We recently opened a research and demonstration facility in Stockholm in conjunction with the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL), which we plan to continue investing in over time. Using this water reuse piloting and testing facility enables us to demonstrate to the customer the different processes and technologies, both individually and as part of an integrated process. We are also making great technological advances with regard to sustainable and optimized reuse treatment.

In addition to this, there is a commitment to continuous development within Xylem’s strong research and development program. The combination of Xylem’s global presence, plus data from thousands of installations worldwide, uniquely positions us to be able to tailor the latest global developments into the most appropriate reuse solution for each customer.

Read more about Xylem’s reuse solutions here.

by Rob Hincks