The Value Of Wastewater: Closed Vessel UV Disinfection For Water Reuse

Jon McClean, President of Engineered Treatment Systems (ETS), explains how UV disinfection of wastewater provides an effective and sustainable solution to growing water shortages.

The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.

Water Online Radio: How does Engineered Treatment Systems (ETS) serve your market?

John: We design and build UV disinfection equipment. All of our systems are closed vessel systems. The equipment is used to treat drinking water, wastewater, and reused water.

Water Online Radio: Why closed systems rather than open?

John: The open channel systems are the old way to disinfect wastewater with UV. Putting it in a pipe is cleaner, safer, quicker, and more efficient. If we were to invent UV now, we would never do it in open channel systems. We’d put everything in a closed pipe.

Water Online Radio: The future of reused water seems pretty intriguing. How do you see that evolving in the future?

John: America is running out of water, and we recognize now that wastewater has to be reused. We hear about auctions where they sell off the reused water in Texas.

ETS is involved heavily in disinfecting reused water for crop irrigation, for urinal flushing, for pest control, and now, for direct portable reuse.

Water Online Radio: How is the public responding to that?

John: The “yuck” factor has to be overcome. It takes a good PR campaign to explain to the public that it is safe. But the fact is, wastewater is an asset that can no longer be dumped.

Take Texas for example. The ponds, lakes, and rivers are gone, and the aquifers are shrinking. In the absence of water, you need to begin conserving water, and inevitably, reuse water.

Water Online Radio: You talked about the open system versus the closed system a little bit earlier. Why are open systems still used if they are clearly inferior?

John: This is a very conservative industry. Engineers tend to do what they’ve always done. It’s a safe solution to repeat an old design because there’s less risk.

But this does not take people forward. Once we explain the difference between the two systems, nine times out of ten, customers will elect for the closed vessel system.

Water Online Radio: Talk about the Defender Filter. How does it work?

John: Defender is a product that dominates recreational water market filtration. It is a regenerative media filter. The RMF filters use a solid substrate which attaches to filter tubes, and the filter can be reused with more surface area than a sand filter. The RMF Defender is replacing sand in many sectors.

Water Online Radio: Can you give us an example?

John: Most of the big water parks are municipal scale installations and very large users of water. Some handle flows between 2 and 8 million gallons per day. They also usually have a small footprint. Land is precious. They are required to filter more with less. The Defender offers both a huge reduction in footprint and a big savings in cost. It enables the parks to use 90% less backwash water.

Water Online Radio: What kind of changes do you see on the horizon?

John: I see a lot of very clever ideas and new ways of approaching the same problems. The common driver is doing less with more. We are starting to recognize that we are running out of resources. Power efficiency and water efficiency are important themes. We are all looking for products and processes that save water or reduce loss…

Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.