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A new company representing a revolutionary treatment process that can save water for communities and produce energy from sewage has been formed by Santa Barbara, Calif., resident Jim Smallwood. Looking at “green” ways to tackle wastewater treatment, Smallwood recently created a joint partner corporation, Natural Water Systems, Inc., bringing together innovative technologies and services that maximize the recycling of wastewater while creating energy from municipal and private community sewage sources.
One of the most exciting advanced technologies is the CleanStream from MicroMedia, a cutting-edge, ultrafiltration system that can reduce incoming municipal sludge volume by up to 70%. The reduction in sludge means lower hauling costs and less demand on the existing treatment plants, while reducing associated operating costs by up to 70%. A new installation of CleanStream costs a third as much as a traditional waste treatment systems, outperforms current membrane technologies and produces Title 22 clean water. A much smaller footprint and low maintenance and low energy requirements translate into lower operating costs for the life of the plant.
Through MicroMedia, Natural Water Systems also offers a new technology that converts sewage into renewable energy, while conserving resources and reducing costs. The optional gasification module converts the 30% dry solids from the wastewater into 1050 BTU natural gas. For example, a 10 mgd wastewater treatment plant that produces 24 tons of dry solids can convert those solids through gasification to 64,000 cu ft of natural gas. Additionally, only 4% of total volume remains as waste, virtually eliminating the waste hauling and disposal costs, and conserving fuel resources. Several units are planned for installation in California by February 2007.
The five companies under the Natural Water Systems, Inc. umbrella include: Xtreme Screens, which specializes in advanced cleaning of digester tanks for waste water treatment plants, cleaning the tank in half the amount of time without taking it offline; Aspen Rentals, a sludge dewatering and pond treatment service; Micro Media Filtration, which reduces incoming solids at treatment plants and businesses by up to 70%; Powell Water Systems, Inc., which uses a treatment technology called Electrocoagulation to treat industrial, commercial and even nuclear wastewater by applying an electric charge to wastewater as it flows over iron slats causing water molecules to “drop” contaminants and; and CJI Process Systems, which provides licensed contractors who install processing tanks, piping and waste disposal and exhaust systems.
“Think of us as one-stop shopping for wastewater processing for your treatment plant or business,” Smallwood said. “We now consider sewage as renewable energy, and by using a combination of these existing technologies a wastewater treatment plant or private community development can capture their incoming sewage, immediately separate the solids from the water, treat the water for irrigation and convert the solids into energy. This represents an almost 100% recycling of water, one of our most precious resources.”
The combined use of these processes can also improve the quality of the environment by improving the efficiency of treatment, providing natural gas for vehicles from the sewage solids, producing Title 22 clean water (cleaner than conventional processes), eliminating ocean discharges in coastal zones and eliminating sludge hauling and the associated disposal costs that average $50 per ton. The environmental and cost savings benefits are immediate.
“We can cost effectively process community waste, recycle water back to the community and improve the environment with these technologies,” Smallwood said. “For us, it’s the realization of a vision we had over 10 years ago, and we’re excited to have this opportunity to help turn sewage into clean water and renewable energy in cities all over the world.”