New technology innovations can unlock water reuse
While theoretically less energy is typically required to return wastewater to fit-for-purpose water compared to expanding withdrawals through, for example, seawater desalination, there are unique challenges in recycling wastewater. Two key examples of such challenges are (1) the presence of trace contaminants like pharmaceuticals and (2) the increased risk of fouling in treatment systems. Technologies exist today that can address these challenges, but at a high cost. What is desperately needed to revolutionize water reuse is efficient, effective, and economically viable technologies that can selectively remove targeted compounds and materials that can either passively or actively resist fouling.