Trio of CH2M HILL water experts author "Best Conference Paper" at American Water Works Association conference

April 8, 2013 - A trio of CH2M HILL water experts authored a paper chosen "Best Conference Paper" at February's American Water Works Association Membrane Technology Conference in San Antonio, Texas.

The paper written by Jim Lozier/PHX and Michael Hwang/PHX of the Water group and Ralph Williams/PDX of I&AT addresses a topic of increasing importance in multiple industries – how manufacturers must adjust to a world facing water challenges, especially in arid and water-constrained geographies.

Jim presented the paper in San Antonio, which was one of a dozen presentations made by CH2M HILL experts at this conference.

Arid-region water supplies have elevated levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) and inorganics. This requires demineralization technologies, most typically reverse osmosis (RO), as a key step to production of high-quality process water.

The disposal of high-salt waste produced from the RO, called reject (or concentrate), is another big challenge in arid regions because of the lack of naturally occurring surface waters in which to discharge. A related problem is limitations of how much reject water manufacturers can dispose into local sewer systems.

These constraints—lack and quality of water supply and difficulties with high-salt discharges—are forcing industries to develop a more comprehensive approach to water management that incorporates water reuse and recycling.

CH2M HILL is a leader in reclamation of brackish waters for industrial users.  Brackish water projects often require multiple vendors, each offering one specialized aspect of capability related to this issue.  CH2M HILL has the depth to provide a full range of water specializations and novel technologies from a single source. 

Another advantage we have on water projects is that unlike some of our competitors, we have no bias toward any particular treatment technology as opposed to vendors with an agenda to sell certain types of equipment. 

Titled "RO Concentrate Treatment and Reuse to Achieve Sustainable Water Management Schemes for Industrial Facilities Located in Arid, Water Scarce Regions," the paper presented at the Membrane Technology Conference offers a number of solutions to water-challenged manufacturers. 

Some of these solutions were derived from a recent CH2M HILL water management study conducted in the arid southwestern U.S.  The study evaluated treatment options for an electronics manufacturer's high-salinity RO reject water that required development of new approaches to reducing overall reject flows.

Technologies considered for this study included precipitative softening using lime, caustic soda and soda ash followed by conventional and novel solids clarification processes, tubular and hollow fiber micro- and ultra-filtration, nanofiltration (NF), electrodialysis reversal (EDR) and various configurations of RO (brackish and seawater spiral wound, high efficiency RO [HERO™] and disc tube), thermally and electrically-driven evaporation and passive and enhanced solar evaporation ponds.

For more details on CH2M HILL's expertise in this area, here's a link (PDF, 384.4KB) to the paper.

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