The Earth’s surface is about 80% water, but only a tiny portion of that water is drinkable. Freshwater sources are finite and continually threatened by infrastructure, agriculture, pollution, and more. Without intervention, droughts could become commonplace, and thirst will supersede hunger as the most significant humanitarian concern. Luckily, water engineers and other experts are innovating water sector technologies to help address the international water crisis.
Utilizing SCADA Systems in Wastewater Management
Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) monitoring software maximizes time and intel while reducing costs. SCADA uses field instruments like flowmeters to provide plant operators with real-time data about the state of their industrial equipment.
For instance, flowmeters are strategically placed throughout a plant and continually record and transmit data to a central hub. The hub notifies operators of chemical impurities, leaks, overflows, and other risks to avert further contamination.
Automated SCADA systems reduce expensive downtime while ensuring a community’s wastewater management equipment is in tip-top shape. For a quality SCADA system, industry professionals should partner with Telstar Instruments, highly-trained experts who have served California’s wastewater industry for over forty years.
Employing Nutrient Recovery Technology in Agriculture
Runoff from agricultural fields spreads water pollutants, such as phosphorus-rich fertilizers. Phosphorus is a naturally occurring nutrient in soil that promotes crop growth. Phosphorus-heavy fertilizers are great for the harvest but less so for the water supply.
Excess phosphorus is environmentally unfriendly as it increases the risk of algal bloom—a phenomenon in which algae quickly takes over the surface of a water body, choking fish and plants. In light of these environmental risks, industries have begun recovering nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from streams and prioritizing the use of safer fertilizers.
Controlling Algal Blooms with MPC-Buoys
LG sonic’s MPC-Buoys are monitoring devices that prevent algal blooms in large bodies of water. The solar-powered tool continually observes pH level, algae presence, temperature, and other metrics. The buoys transmit data to software with sophisticated algorithms capable of predicting an algal bloom. If the data suggests a bloom is on the horizon, the buoy adjusts its ultrasonic transmitters.
Transmitters block the water’s surface with a sound layer, depriving algae of sunlight and nutrients. The algae sink toward the bottom of the water, where bacteria decompose it.
Non-chemical required Water Softener Installation
Reducing Water use with Rainwater Harvesting Systems
Recent rainwater harvesting advancements are propping up the freshwater supply, especially in states with vast populations. Harvested rainwater is primarily used for irrigation but can convert into potable water with ANSI/NSF Standard 53 filters. A complete harvesting system includes:
- Catchment and conveyance—the roof and gutters that transport water into storage.
- Storage—cistern or tank that safely houses rainwater until used.
- Distribution—pump or spigot to divert stored rainwater.
- Treatment— a combination of filters that removes debris, parasites, bacteria, and viruses.
Using rainwater as much as possible reduces the strain on other freshwater sources like lakes and aquifers.
Treating Nuclear Wastewater with Shock Electrodialysis
Nuclear power plants require a significant amount of cooling water to prevent a nuclear meltdown of their fuel. Water used for cooling is radioactively contaminated, removing it from circulation. The half-life of uranium-235, the most common nuclear fuel, is 700 million years. MIT’s new method, shock electrodialysis, reduces water contamination.
Shock electrodialysis produces an electric shockwave within the contaminated water. The shockwave forces charged contaminants towards a porous material, separating contaminated water from the reusable water. The reusable water is then recycled to cool the nuclear plant. Though any water used is still contaminated, this technology reduces contamination by cutting down on the amount of new water needed to cool the nuclear reactor.
Before you go
If potable water were an animal, it would top the endangered species list worldwide. Luckily, the same industrial advancements that have threatened the water supply can also be instrumental in preserving it.