From The Editor | September 26, 2014

The 10 Hottest Topics In Wastewater—What You Need To Know

Laura Martin

By Laura Martin

Behind on what's hot in the wastewater industry? Get up-to-date with this list of Water Online articles on the industry trends and challenges that everyone is talking about. Read on and you'll be sure to impress your colleagues.

1) Energy Production And Conservation

Finding the ideal balance between energy and water consumption has always been a challenge. Energy use at a water or wastewater utility can be 30 percent to 50 percent of the municipality’s total electricity consumption. In addition, the energy industry itself requires a significant amount of water to operate. But a water-energy nexus solution is on the horizon, as more energy-efficient technologies and alternative energy production methods are developed. 

Stories On Energy From Water Online:

Can Co-Locating Utilities Solve The Water-Energy Nexus? 

5 Reasons To Harvest The Power Of Biogas

2) Nutrient Management

Changing regulations and increasingly stringent effluent limits have brought nutrient management to the forefront of the wastewater industry. 

Stories On Nutrient Management From Water Online

'Peecycle' Please: Will Urine Separation For Nutrient Recovery Take Off?

3 Alternative Nutrient-Removal Techniques

What Everyone Should Know About Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal

3) Residuals and Biosolids

The management and removal of residuals, sludge, and biosolids, has historically been a burden on wastewater utilities, accounting for nearly 50 percent of treatment costs. But this “waste” may hold the key to additional revenue if reclaimed and sold. 

Stories On  Residuals and Biosolids From Water Online:

Revolutionary Sludge Management Comes To America

Bio-Dredging: Cost-Saving Sludge Digestion For Lagoons

4) Water Reclamation And Reuse

There is a growing trend of reusing treated wastewater effluent for both drinking water and industrial applications. On the drinking water side, water shortages have made direct potable reuse (DPR) and indirect potable reuse applications a necessity in parts of the country. Pressure to use less water on the industrial sector has resulted in innovative reuse applications as well. 

Stories On Water Reuse From Water Online:

Texas Leads The Way With First Direct Potable Reuse Facilities In U.S.

Fit-for-Purpose Water Reuse And The Road Toward Water Security

New Indirect Potable Reuse Regulations — What To Expect

5) Water Supply And Water Management

In water-scarce areas, managing water supply can be challenging. First, it can be difficult to even determine how much water is available, via groundwater, surface water, reuse, and other sources. Then, there is the challenge of figuring out how water should be allocated between consumers and industrial applications, and how much needs to remain untouched for the sake of the environment. If there isn’t enough to go around, conservation techniques or usage restrictions may have to be considered. 

Stories On Water Supply And Management From Water Online:

Tackling The Drought: The Relationship Between Water Law And Water Budget

Why Engineers Can't Solve The Water Shortage With Supply-Side Solutions

6) Stormwater, Green Infrastructure, And Wet Weather Management

Stormwater management is a growing focus for the wastewater industry. Heavy wet-weather events often overwhelm wastewater systems — which are often too small for a growing population — and untreated sewage ends up overflowing into local water bodies. Green infrastructure solutions and growing regulation offer solutions. 

Stories On Stormwater From Water Online:

EPA Stormwater Ruling: How Will It Impact Utilities?

Save The Rain: Preventing Combined Sewer Overflows

7) ‘Flushable’ Wipes And Collection Systems

Recently, collection systems have been in the spotlight. The increased attention is thanks (or no thanks) to “flushables,” non-dispersible cleansing cloths that are wreaking havoc on headworks all over the country. 

Stories On “Flushables” From Water Online:   

Nondispersibles' Turning Sewers Into Nightmares Nationwide 

Looming In The Sewers: Nonwovens Are Weaving A Tangled Web

8) Industrial Wastewater

Oil and gas, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, mining, food and beverage processing—the list of industries with growing wastewater challenges goes on and on. Water Online has reported on the modeling, design, and operation of industrial wastewater treatment systems, anaerobic and biological industrial treatment processes, regulatory impacts, and more.  

Stories On Industrial Wastewater From Water Online:

The Importance Of An Industrial Water Treatment Program

Has Fracking Gone ‘Green'?

9) Utility Management

Utility executives and managers have a wide range of challenges to overcome. Their workforce is aging and their budgets are shrinking. Public outreach is more important than ever before, and regulations and government oversight are increasing.  

Stories On Utility Management From Water Online

New Standard Applies To Every Water Manager, Everywhere

How To Deliver Better Water And Increase Consumer Confidence Simultaneously

10)  Innovative Technology

Change is needed in the wastewater industry. Cutting-edge products and services focused on everything from resource recovery and big data management, to innovative green infrastructure solutions are coming to the forefront.

Stories On Innovation From Water Online:

The Top 12 Water Technology Hotspots In America

Ontario's Water Tech Acceleration Project: Fighting For The Future Of Water