SINGAPORE: Singapore has a new plant to treat and then recycle used industrial water.
Previously, industrial water was treated then discharged into the sea.
This is the result of a collaboration between national water agency PUB and Japanese company Meiden Singapore.
The plant is currently used for demonstration purposes, and PUB said the technology can be tapped to recycle used industrial water on a bigger scale, thereby freeing up NEWater and potable water used by factories for other uses.
The plant, situated at the Jurong Water Reclamation Plant, treats used industrial water in two steps.
First, half of the contaminants in the water are removed using a process that does not involve the use of oxygen, unlike in traditional methods.
The method is known as upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB), and it also produces biogas during the treatment process, a potential energy source for the plant.
Currently, the biogas produced by the rest of the Jurong Water Reclamation Plant can meet about 20 per cent of the plant's power needs.
PUB said if the demonstration plant is a success, it could be fully implemented to the rest of the water reclamation plant. In this case, the amount of biogas produced could increase, to meet as much as half of the water reclamation plant's power needs.
Second, ceramic membrane bioreactors are used to remove the rest of the contaminants.
Meiden Singapore said the ceramic membranes can withstand higher temperatures compared to polymer membranes and also last longer.
Stakeholders said that it has been a challenge to treat used industrial water for years because it contains heavy contaminants.
However, with the combination of the two technologies, not only does it mean a better quality of treated water, but the fact that it can now be recycled back for industrial use.
Currently, non-domestic water consumption makes up 55 per cent of Singapore's water demand.
The PUB said the demonstration plant could be used to examine how to better tap on used industrial water.
Chew Men Leong, CEO of PUB, said: "This will enable us to expand our options for recycling and allow us to strengthen the resilience of water supply, especially against uncertainties such as extreme weather patterns, such as the dry spell that we see today."
The plant has a capacity to treat 4,550 cubic metres of water, equivalent to 1.5 Olympic-sized pools.
The plant cost the PUB and Meiden Singapore some S$10 million. - CNA/xq
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