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July 23, 2013
Update on wastewater technologies

A revision of Emerging Technologies for Wastewater Treatment and In-Plant Wet Weather Management has been issued by the EPA.  Originally published in 2008, the document is an essential information source for municipal wastewater treatment plant operators who are considering the installation of new technologies.   The revision was produced by Tetra Tech Corporation under contract to the EPA.

According to the report, in 2008 there were 14,789 municipal wastewater treatment plants operating in the United States.  These plants ranged in size from a few hundred gallons (gal) per day to more than 1,440 million gal per day.  Also in 2008, nearly 37 percent of these facilities discharged effluent that did not meet minimum federal standards.  In many cases, this was due to more stringent water-quality-based requirements, notes the report. 

Four categories

The document provides technology summary sheets for 63 technologies that are considered emerging.  The four technology categories, along with the number of technologies included under each, are as follows:

  • Research.  Technologies in the development stage and/or those that have been tested at a laboratory or at bench scale only: three  technologies.
  • Emerging.  Technologies that have been tested at a pilot or demonstration scale or have been implemented at full scale in three or fewer installations or for less than 1 year: 22 technologies.
  • Innovative.  Technologies that have been implemented at full scale for less than 5 years or have some degree of initial use (i.e., implemented in more than 3 percent but less than 1 percent [150] of U.S. treatment facilities: 31 technologies. <
  • Adaptive use.  Established technologies that have undergone recent modifications or are used in new applications: 7 technologies.

Summary Sheets

Each of the technology summary sheets generally includes:

  • A description of the goal of the technology
  • Where and how the technology has been applied
  • A brief overview of the technology
  • The advantages and disadvantages of the technology through a comparison with established technologies
  • Approximate range of capital and operations and maintenance costs
  • Vendor contact information
  • Contact information for utilities and facilities where the technologies have been used
  • Key words intended to aid readers in finding additional vendors and product information on the Internet
  • References and data sources used to compile the technology summary

The report emphasizes that the information provided is a “snapshot at a point in time.”  Inquiries into the current state of knowledge are an important step when considering implementation of any technology, states the report.

Click here for the document. 

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