Maintenance of centralized water treatment is cumbersome and costly

Centralized wastewater treatment plants and water reuse plants run cumbersome operations 24/7 by highly skilled workforce, involving the maintenance of a large-scale plant and lengthy grid.

  • Do you agree this is a major barrier to water reuse?
  • Do you know of any specific innovations currently trying to address this problem?

Operation costs make it impossible to think about reuse and even more costly.

@ssinharay6 and @HealthyWater, do you have additional insight on this question for us? Thanks!

@NickOttens I totally agree with you that maintenance of centralized water treatment is cumbersome and costly at the same time. But this approach is well developed and can effectively eradicate any range of pollutants along with toxic substances. Being a researcher in this field, I feel that the capital cost and operating costs for a centralized system can be higher. But considering the fact that, this capital and maintenance cost is **one-time investment ** which can be re-utilized for several years.

The operation costs result to very high and sometimes are not enough when sources of water contain in the time pollution or pollutants that were not originally in the font. That makes systems costs unexpected in energy and even in parts or pieces.

@ssinharay6 Many thanks for your interesting comment. While such systems can be re-utilized, they require a very high maintenance cost and skilled labor. In addition - there are issues around scaling such systems. If systems are small (to respond to immediate need) yet modular, so they can scale – wouldn’t that be a more cost-effective prospect that is responsive to changes? I look forward to your insights

@GREENLY thank you so much for active engagement in the community; your comments are very interesting. Here I’d like to focus on your comment on energy. Just to make sure I understand, do you believe that decentralized systems could potentially better respond to fluctuations in contaminates and energy?

Yes. Because the amount of energy (rpimary or secondary) talking generally would be better controlled in smaller systems as well as the risk of “going down” for any reason and put in general the people in total lack of water. In samller systems you can also plan better the reserves you can manage for avoiding any lack of service.

@Eti Thanks for this constructive comment. I strongly agree with you that scaling and fouling may increase the labor, maintenance as well as operational cost. Even though, scaling and fouling is unavoidable. But there are lot of fouling preventive measures available that include pretreatment technologies, redesign of treatment system components, and replacement of the existing membrane materials. Coming to next point, these pretreatment technology is a very basic step in conventional water treatment processes. For instance, the typical lifespan of a commercial RO membrane is around 3 to 7 years depending on the application. Thus, one-time investment may be useful for a span of 5 years. In this case, atleast the labor cost (only) can be reduced after the establishment of centralized water treatment system. Kindly let me know your valuable comment on this.

RO would not be for us a solution that could be usable for any solution of this kind due to the use of spare parts that should be used under the perspective of the changing of quality of water and the productivity of the system. Nevertheless is our opinion.

@GREENLY I totally understand your point. I just mentioned an example of RO in order to prove my point of one time investment. We can come up with other feasible technologies associated with membrane.

Why membranes? Using a system that needs part to be changed or parts in general makes it operation costly…do not think so?

@GREENLY Thanks for showing interest here. Basically membrane technologies became increasingly popular choice for removing different class of pollutants such as microorganisms, particulates, and natural organic materials from feed stream. Apart from this, we can also think about physical processes such as sedimentation and distillation process as well as chemical processes that include disinfectant and coagulation. Atleast in these processes, it won’t put any further burden on labor cost. But again, nothing is permanent. Even in order to run the treatment process for a longer period of time, we need to change the chemicals and certain parts. So practically, we need to think on this matter as well.

Please. I would kindly invite to know our process that is a patented way of distillation with a recompression stema and saving energy without chemical or floculatns or anything. Using renewal energies as power and very low operaiton costs. Membrena do not work in increasing pollution in Latin American were it grows without putting and adding any solutions to our problems.

@GREENLY That will be great. Where I can study your patent work? Would like to explore more about it. Thanks for sharing this information once again.

[I agree with the hypothesis. We need an innovative low cost approach to infrastructure and its operation. We can help to address this via:

  • Innovative approaches and designs
  • Distributed infrastructure
  • Innovative methods of construction (for radically low capital costs)
  • Very low operational costs (e.g. solar powered and automated)
  • Intelligent [AI?] prediction and control

I’ve posted on some of these here: Infrastructure to balance floods and droughts](Infrastructure to balance floods and droughts — XPRIZE Community)

@ssinharay6 @akb would like to share information about GREENLY that precisely includes in their technical features all the thing that were mentioned. Our website is and my personal email would be for any other information. Questions and doubt will be welcome…
-Descentralised potable water form any kind pollution font (organic or inorganic without membranes and low cost operation. Best quality on water.
-using of solar panels and other renewable energies (not hybrid completely solar)
-No operational cost because is solar and automated
-Modular growth
-No need of complicated infraestructure and short term solutions
-Best productivity. NO residual contamminated waters 95-85% potable water and reusable sludges form process
-Better to implement reuse of industrial waters as to save and implement green processes.
We are looking to share our technology for any place or people needing practical solutions…

Wastewater can be treated without using electricity for aeration.
Wastewater contains nutrients, N and P, so all the oxygen required can be produced using photosynthesis.
Growing Diatom Algae in wastewater is the simplest solution.

@GREENLY Thanks for sharing the link of your website. I will definitely go through your inputs and let you know my initial comments and doubts. Will get back to you soon.

@GREENLY Great initiative by GREENLY POTAB for setting up a Desalination Plant in Paracas. The energy saving idea seems to be very feasible. If you don’t mind could you share the mechanism of purifying seawater in this technique (not discussed in the video)?