Competition seeks to develop solutions for concentrate discharge
The U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Reclamation announced plans to launch the “More Water – Less Concentrate” Grand Challenge Prize Competition. The challenge envisions three stages of competitions over the next several years with a collective prize of $1 million or more.
Stage one requires a white paper submittal and is scheduled to be officially launched in late fall 2016. The challenge seeks to develop solutions in concentrate management that will help provide municipalities with cost-effective, high-quality drinking water to their customers while meeting permitting and regulatory requirements. The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation and the Water Research Foundation are collaborating as promotional partners in this effort.
Concentrate from common advanced water treatment technologies, like reverse osmosis, can be discharged to the ocean from coastal communities. However, inland areas face high costs and complexity challenges associated with the disposal of concentrate. Current disposal methods, such as discharge to sewers and surface waters, are not sustainable, because they result in high salt loading to fresh surface water sources.
Numerous alternative technologies have been pilot tested, but none have proven to be cost-competitive to other options, such as evaporation ponds or deep-well injection. The ideal solution will minimize the concentrate volume by maximizing the volume of water recovered from advanced water treatment technologies.
A successful solution will help meet the nationwide needs to expand fresh water supplies, diversify water supply portfolios, and improve water reliability, especially in areas affected by climate change, population growth and drought.
To learn more, visit www.usbr.gov/research/challenges/upcoming/index.html.