A triple bottom line evaluation of portable and non-potable reuse treatment schemes details costs and benefits. The results of which are applicable to utilities, regulators, and water professionals involved in water reuse systems.

By: Larry Schimmoller, PE, Global Technology Leader for Water Reuse, CH2M HILL

Larry Schimmoller, along with co-author Mary Jo Kealy, CH2M HILL, will present their paper “The Cost of Over-Treating Reclaimed Water: A Triple Bottom Line Evaluation of Potable and Non-Potable Reuse Treatment Schemes” today, Wednesday, September 18  at 9 a.m. in D-10, at the 28th Annual WateReuse Symposium 2013 in Denver, CO. Learn more about all of CH2M HILL’s WateReuse participation.

Water scarcity, population growth, and climate change are increasing the worldwide focus on reuse projects. More communities are investigating the feasibility of implementing potable and non-potable reuse projects to increase their available yield and protect against periods of drought. The complexity of this task is compounded by the variety of reuse treatment technologies, which can differ in terms of benefit to the end user, as well as in the true cost of implementation.

We conducted a study that examines the benefits and costs of various levels of treatment for potable and non-potable reuse applications. A triple bottom line (TBL) analysis was performed that includes financial, environmental, and social elements to help ensure that the right treatment process is applied for the intended use without expending unnecessary funds, energy, greenhouse gases, and other social and environmental costs.

Scenarios examined include an indirect potable reuse treatment process for augmentation of a drinking water reservoir and a non-potable reuse treatment process for turf irrigation. For each scenario, detailed financial, environmental, and social costs were developed for comparison. The financial analysis included development of capital and O&M costs for the entire treatment process as well as disposal of waste streams, which was important in this analysis because of the difficulty and high cost associated with Reverse Osmosis concentrate disposal.

Our presentation will present the methodology used in this research and the detailed TBL benefits and costs developed for the potable and non-potable reuse scenarios.  The results presented will be applicable to utilities considering implementation of a reuse project, regulators developing water reuse regulations, and water professionals involved in water reuse systems.

Larry Schimmoller, is a senior project manager and principal technologist in CH2M HILL’s Water Business Group. He is also CH2M HILL’s Global Technology Leader for water reuse and has extensive experience in the planning, piloting, process selection, design, and construction of water treatment and water reuse projects. He was recently appointed to the WateReuse Research Foundation Research Advisory Committee (RAC) to develop the research agenda for the Foundation. Larry is the author of numerous water reuse papers, including several focusing on the triple bottom line costs associated with the sustainability of water reuse treatment schemes. He holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Clarkson University.