Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020PR352B

Nanotechnology-based wastewater treatment for reuse - Phase II

Institute: Puerto Rico
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $23,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $11,500

Principal Investigators: Oscar J. Perales-Perez

Abstract: Industry consumes large amounts of water in steam generation, cooling, washing, sanitation, consumption, irrigation, among others. According to Dieter, et al. [1], the 2015 US consumption of water was about 322 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d); 237 Bgal/d came from surface water and 84.7 Bgal/d from groundwater sources. The industrial sector consumed an estimated 14.8 Bgal/d of which 12.1 came from surface water sources and 2.7 from groundwaters. These demands of water come from the producers of food, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum, and primary metals. These levels of water consumption give an idea of the volumes of wastewater that will be discarded to the public sewer system and would mostly discharge to the rivers and eventually to the sea. At a local level, the Environmental and Natural Resources Department (DRNA, for its Spanish acronym) revealed that Puerto Rico's annual demands for 2005 were 21,246.2 Millions of gallons (MG) which will reach 25,407.9 MG for agricultural purposes only in 2025 [2]. Regarding sanitary water generation in 2015, it averaged 232 MG/day according to the Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (AAA) [3]. There is no concrete data on the amount of water that is reused, however, it is known that there are initiatives of private sectors that have implemented these practices in their industries. The regulations established by the EPA and the regulation of the water quality standards of Puerto Rico and the Clean Water Act encourage water reuse. However, there would be two factors that complicate the implementation of reuse projects: the high initial costs of the facilities to process the water, and the low political priority.