Thomas Melin, Christian Kazner, Thomas Wintgens:
RECLAIM WATER - a Collective Effort towards Water Reclamation and Aquifer Recharge
Towards Sustainable Water Reclamation Solutions, 8
Background: Solutions to global water stress problems are urgently needed yet must be sustainable, economical and safe. The utilization of alternative water sources like reclaimed municipal wastewater is one of the most obvious and promising options in integrated water resources management. Among the various beneficial uses of reclaimed wastewater aquifer recharge (AR) receives growing attention because it features advantages such as additional natural treatment, storage capacity to buffer seasonal variations of supply and demand as well as mixing with natural water bodies which promotes the acceptance of further uses, particularly indirect potable use. Major concerns about the safety of this exploitation route of an alternative water source are connected to microbial and chemical contaminants occurring in wastewater, among which are emerging trace organics like endocrine disrupters and pharmaceuticals. Introduction: RECLAIM WATER is a Specific Targeted Research Project supported by the European Commission under Thematic Priority 'Global Change and Ecosystems' of the Sixth Framework Programme (Contract-No. 018309). The project was started in October 2005 and will run till December 2008. The project consortium consists of universities, research and technology institutes, as well as technology providers and SME, with a total number of 20 partners from 16 countries (European Member States + Australia, China, Israel, Mexico, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland). Objectives: The strategic objective of the project RECLAIM WATER is to develop hazard mitigation technologies for water reclamation providing safe and cost effective routes for artificial groundwater recharge. The proposed work will assess different treatment applications in terms of behavior of key microbial and chemical contaminants. The knowledge generated in the project and the technologies developed are also suited to the needs of developing countries, which have a growing need of supplementation of freshwater resources. The participation of partners from China, Australia, Singapore, South Africa and Mexico demonstrate the anticipation of the global dimension of the water reclamation and aquifer recharge issue. Approach and outcomes: RECLAIM WATER will provide effective technologies to monitor and mitigate emerging risks posed by chemical contaminants and pathogens in reclaimed wastewater streams used for groundwater recharge. The main results of the project will be: • New and improved water reclamation and reuse technologies (new process combinations, new recharge methods) • New and improved operational concepts for water reclamation schemes • Knowledge about performance determining processes in water reclamation and aquifer recharge • Knowledge about the fate and removal mechanisms of emerging contaminants and pathogens in water reclamation systems for groundwater recharge • New analytical methods to monitor emerging chemical contaminants and pathogens • Integrated technological hazard mitigation concepts for different water reclamation and reuse applications investigated in case studies with focus on artificial aquifer recharge • Knowledge, concepts and models of natural processes occurring in subsurface systems (soil, unsaturated zone, aquifer) when the reclaimed water is used for Artificial Recharge (AR) • Concepts for dissemination and transfer of results into developing countries The necessary data basis will be generated from a set of globally distributed case studies. These will also serve to validate the concepts, prove their practicability and effectiveness, take into account regional and use type variety as well as to assess a number of selected treatment processes.
Managed aquifer recharge; water reclamation