5 Misconceptions of Why Municipalities Should not Invest in Wastewater Reuse
In the current economic and political climate, municipalities are under immense pressure with regard to water reclamation. Balancing the physical and financial responsibility to provide affordable, clean, and reliable water to its constituents comes at a cost that for most, small to mid-sized municipalities, is hard to justify. However, municipalities have began to acknowledge the growing economic and environmental benefits they can receive by retrofitting or optimizing their systems to enable wastewater reuse.
Municipalities have begun to better quantify their wastewater infrastructure needs in an effort to develop more targeted plans to provide to their constituents, and their possible financing partners. However, there are several misconceptions that have been noticeably apparent in municipalities that serve small to mid-size populations.
Genesis Water Technologies, a global leader in specialized water & wastewater treatment integrated solutions, has partnered with numerous municipalities classified within the small to mid-size category. A company that has experience partnering with municipalities of this size, also acknowledges that there are several misconceptions about wastewater reuse.
While misconceptions are not factual, they do play a role in public perception until they are addressed with facts.
Misconceptions that are most associated to a municipalities exploration of wastewater reuse include:
Municipalities Can’t Afford to Fund Wastewater Reuse Infrastructure
Although the federal government, primarily through the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), the Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, provides some financial assistance for water infrastructure the majority of financing falls on the state and local municipalities. However, there are plenty of financing opportunities that are within reach of municipalities, that are in search to properly allocate the usage of their wastewater. Public-private partnerships, utility, consolidations, green bonds, and new federal financing options, including the EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance Act (WIFIA) program, have provided small to mid-size municipalities with access to available financing.
Treating Wastewater Isn’t Energy Efficient
While the demand for water grows, so does the energy associated with its use. Energy is consumed through various means including extraction, treatment, and transportation. A municipality is capable of drastically reducing the energy it consumes by integrating the use of a wastewater treatment system. Through the process of treating wastewater on site, a municipality is able to reduce the amount of energy it consumes through transportation and pumping costs. It is also important to note that not all wastewater needs to be treated to a level that’s satisfactory for drinking water.
By tailoring the water quality needs of the specific municipality, Genesis Water Technologies is capable of reclaiming the water for non-potable applications to serve a wide array of uses that bring value to the municipality. Although additional energy is consumed to treat the wastewater, the amount of energy saved when all other factors are included is a value proposition that is not only cleaner for the environment, but also cost-effective for the municipality.
Reclaimed Wastewater is Not Suitable for Irrigation
Treated wastewater is not only safe to use for agricultural irrigation, but it’s use is substantially more beneficial to the environment then that of potable water. For example, treated wastewater may contain higher levels of nutrients, such as nitrogen, than that of potable water. Genesis Water Technologies is capable of tailoring the needs of a municipality such that the wastewater treatment system is capable of harnessing the nutrients that have been secondarily added to the untreated water. The treated wastewater can then be recycled for agricultural and landscape irrigation. Furthermore, the treated wastewater provides more value to the consumer through the preservation of the source nutrients which may lessen the need to apply synthetic fertilizers.
Water Scarcity Won’t Affect My Municipality
A silent epidemic that has increasing been brought to the public eye, water scarcity is one of the most significant challenges that faces the globe today. In the United States there has been a significant decline in the amount of freshwater resources that supply its population in different parts of the country. Many municipalities are finding themselves ill prepared for a crisis that they never saw coming. Lake Mead, which currently supplies water to more than 22 million people, is rapidly dissipating at a rate that was never thought possible.
The need for municipalities to equip their infrastructure to combat this growing epidemic can be easily aided through the integration of an optimized wastewater treatment & reuse system. While global water scarcity is not only an environmental problem, its economic hindrance on local economies will leave many thirsting for more.
Treating Wastewater Isn’t Necessary to Protect the Environment
The misconception that untreated wastewater is not hazardous to a municipality’s environment is far from the truth. Wastewater contains the residual contaminants associated with the use of plant processes and a variety of other uses. Through these processes’ pollutants can be found within the wastewater stream, and while they may vary based upon what the water has been exposed to, they are drastically harmful if left untreated.
Untreated wastewater may increase biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in the receiving water source. If left unaddressed, this can deplete the oxygen needed by aquatic organisms to live, leading to algal blooms, fish kills, and harmful changes to the aquatic ecosystem within the municipality.
Untreated wastewater can lead to an increased level of nitrates and phosphates that if not removed could lead to the de-oxygenation of the municipality’s surrounding ecosystem, leaving environmental dead zones. Furthermore, pathogens can be found within untreated wastewater leading to a variety of health issues for the municipality’s population including: acute sickness, severe digestive problems, cholera and at times death.
The need for small to mid-size municipalities to address their wastewater treatment efforts with sustainably optimized wastewater reuse systems is more imperative now than ever before. Overlooking the need to treat wastewater is not only uneconomical, but also unethical in today’s global climate.
Genesis Water Technologies has a proven track record of partnering with municipalities within the United States and abroad to provide integrated solutions that facilitate the change necessary to turn wastewater into a resource.
We invite you to take the first step in serving your municipality’s wastewater treatment needs with a water reuse expert, Genesis Water Technologies, Inc.
Interested in learning how Genesis Water Technologies, Inc. can assist your municipality with a sustainable domestic wastewater treatment & reuse system solution? Contact us at 1-877-267-3699 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free consultation to discuss how we can help you.