The next decade will see an increase in indirect potable reuse (IPR) projects as marginal costs stimulate IPR market growth and impending regulation affect future IPR applications and markets.
A recent report compiled by BlueTech Research on the topic of municipal wastewater reuse highlights the potential for growth in the number of indirect potable reuse (IPR) projects worldwide. Specifically within the USA, IPR projects in operation are set to double in the next decade.
Currently, non-potable applications account for 87% of all municipal wastewater reuse projects in the USA. However, the market for IPR projects is set to grow faster than non-potable reuse projects even as non-potable reuse continues to steadily grow. Lower marginal costs than non-potable reuse and a growing demand for potable water supplies in urban areas will increase the number of IPR projects in operation.
“In general, IPR will make more financial sense than non-potable reuse in states such as Florida, Texas and California. However, it remains to be seen whether the issue of public perception will allow water reuse decisions to be made purely on a financial basis, “ notes Conor Dennehy, research analyst at BlueTech Research.
Regulations for IPR are not very developed, but important regulations in development in the state of California (USA) could affect future markets for IPR. California’s Title 22 water reuse regulations are the first step regulators have taken toward standardizing the treatment train required for IPR. The regulations stipulate the use of reverse osmosis (RO) treatment followed by an oxidation step referred to as Full Advanced Treatment (FAT). If other jurisdictions follow a similar approach, then demand for RO, membrane filtration and advanced oxidation processes (AOP) will grow significantly.
UV disinfection will continue to grow in IPR as the dominant technology and in non-potable reuse projects where chlorination is currently the dominant disinfection technology. UV will displace chlorination in non-potable projects due to the concern surrounding disinfection by-products generated by chlorine disinfection and the storage and safety of chlorine gas. Additionally, the energy costs associated with UV disinfection have decreased to a point where it is regularly cost competitive on a whole life basis with chlorine disinfection.
Overall, the potential growth market for IPR is projected to increase over the next ten years as regulation, markets and applications open up to IPR projects in municipal wastewater reuse.
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