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Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is conducted at shale formation locations throughout the United States to increase production of natural gas. The fracking process requires a large amount of water (flowback, production, and drilling) thereby producing wastewater that must be either disposed of, stored, or treated. Due to the constituents contained in the wastewater, treatment poses problems for water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs). Several considerations and preparations should be made by a WRRF prior to accepting such wastewater.
Nontypical wastewater pollutants
The largest concern for WRRFs is typically the high salinity of fracking wastewater, measured in total dissolved solids (TDS). In addition, fracking wastewater can contain high levels of fluid additives, metals, and naturally occurring radioactive materials. The constituents are often at levels not typically found in WRRF influent.
Fracking wastewater quality can vary significantly, depending on pretreatment, if any. It is also important to know the volume, frequency, and delivery method of the material. A clearer picture of these constituents and characteristics can be obtained by enrolling the fracking operation in an industrial influent management program. Through such a program, the WRRF should be able to control the receipt of fracking water by setting pretreatment quality specifications.
Global water scarcity and an increasing population worldwide make wastewater treatment and recycling one strategy for economic development. Large volumes of wastewater are generated daily in every community and at water-intensive industrial facilities. As the demand for water grows, so does demand for the treatment and reuse of this water, according to Dow Water and Process Solutions (Edina, Minn.) website.
Dow recently released a new water reuse infographic that explains how the three-step process of microfiltration, reverse osmosis, and ultraviolet light can treat wastewater, promote water reuse, and help reduce global water scarcity. Combined, these technologies also are driving energy efficiency and cost savings in municipal and industrial wastewater reclamation processes and are helping customers and communities meet more stringent discharge requirements for waters they cannot directly reuse, the website says.
According to the infographic
*recycled wastewater will be a normalized source of drinking water in cities around the world within 30 years;
*70% of generated treated wastewater comes from high-income countries; and
*Perth, Australia will receive as much as 20% of its drinking water from reclaimed resources in coming decade
From the WEF President: Ed McCormick
Any organization’s measure of success lies in how well it accomplishes its mission. The Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.), a global water sector leader, has a mission that includes four key components:
* connect water professionals,
* provide a platform for water sector innovation,
* enrich the expertise of water professionals, and
* increase the awareness of the impact and value of water.
Since 1928, WEF and its members have been trusted stewards for protecting public health and the environment. During the past 85 years, longevity and quality of life has increased, due to, in part, a significant reduction in waterborne disease by providing clean, safe water and sanitation. Water professionals work to improve water quality, which improves our quality of life. However, we still have a long way to go in many developing countries.
The water sector is experiencing a rapid transformation from treatment to water resource recovery. The speed of change in our sector is accelerating, making the need for leadership through continuous improvement an absolute necessity.
The good news is that collectively we are rising to the challenge. Leading utilities and environmental consulting firms in the water sector are hiring “directors of innovation.” Triple-bottom-line and life-cycle cost analyses are becoming important decision-making processes. In the 1990s, we changed our perspectives and began using the terms biosolids instead of sludge and water environment instead of water pollution control. Now utilities are rapidly rebranding to embrace the environmental, economic, and societal benefits of viewing waste as resources. [Read more]
The Sacramento Area Section of CWEA recently honored two wastewater projects from CH2M Hill with the Plant of the Year award for the third straight year and the sixth time since the plant began operating in 1993. The CWEA Monterey Bay Section recognized the team (pictured below) that manages the South County Regional Wastewater Authority facility with six awards: Plant of the Year, Small Plant Safety Award, Wastewater Operator of the Year (John Hernandez), Gimmicks and Gadgets (Don Pride), Mechanical Technician of the Year (Dan Ames) and Outstanding Young Professional (Amanda Bird). The plant, which serves the cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill, has earned over 20 awards from CWEA since CH2M HILL began operations in 1984. Both plants are now entered into the CWEA state competition held at the annual conference in April in San Diego.