Actions and progress

The aWARE project was structured in 10 technical actions and 2 transversal actions:

Technical actions

1. Characterisation of the influent and site adaptation for the prototypes (A1)

The first action involved a detailed review of the quality, quantity, and variability of the Baix Llobregat WWTP influent and primary clarification effluent as well as site selection and adaptation for the MBR-PAC-NF prototypes’ installation.

2. PAC characterisation and selection and preliminary assessment of different PAC-NF configurations (B1)

Tests were undertaken to determine the most convenient PAC and its dosage conditions in order to optimize emerging contaminants removal and reduce NF fouling. Different configurations considering the combination of PAC-NF technologies were also assessed and during the demonstration of the MBR-PAC-NF prototype, spent PAC samples were analysed and characterized.

3. MBR-PAC-NF prototype design, set-up and technical assistance (B2)

Action 3 involved the design of the MBR-PAC-NF prototype based on the results obtained in Actions 1 and 2 as well as its construction and installation in the demonstration site. The use of commercial full-scale membranes and an appropriate treatment capacity of the MBR-PAC-NF prototype ensured that the results obtained allowed assessment of the proposed technology from the technical and economic point of view.

4. Operation and optimization of the advanced MBR-PAC-NF prototypes (B3)

In this action, the different MBR-PAC-NF configurations were compared to the existing advanced treatment (secondary-tertiary-UF-RO system) in Baix Llobregat WWTP in terms technical and economic indicators. Operational strategies leading to lowest energy and chemical consumption and by-product generation for both MBR-PAC-NF configurations were defined through the integrated optimisation of the biological process, membrane fouling control and PAC dosage conditions.

One year was dedicated to an ultrafiltration Membrane BioReactor (MBR), coupled to NanoFiltration (NF) membranes and enhanced by Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC) addition;. The second year was dedicated to assessing the feasibility of a nanofiltration MBR also improved by PAC addition.

5. Optimization of the existing advanced treatment (B4)

The existing advanced water reclamation treatment scheme from Baix Llobregat WWTP (composed of secondary-tertiary-UF-RO systems) was optimized in terms of fouling control and operational flexibility. Optimal conditions of pre-treatment processes based on Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) were determined in order to decrease fouling in UF-RO Systems.

6. Assessment of reclaimed water quality in the advanced treatments and in the distribution network (B5)

Characterisation of the effluents of the MBR-PAC-NF prototype and the advanced existing treatment (water and sludge matrixes) was conducted. Based on this, control plans were defined, in order to set the basis for future risk assessment and risk management strategies. Transport and storage impacts on reclaimed water quality were analyzed in distribution systems.

7. Efficiency assessment of MBR-based prototypes versus the existing advanced treatment (B6)

Technical, environmental and economic evaluation of the MBR-PAC-NF prototype configurations and the existing advanced treatment considered was carried out through LCA and CBA analyses, which involved the integrations of the project’s results: water quality parameters, operational parameters leading to sustainable process operation (permeate flux production for UF and NF, sludge production, process footprint, PAC dosage and regeneration frequency … etc ).

8. Reclaimed water distribution optimisation and management strategies definition (B7)

Reclaimed water demand curves for different uses and water quality requirements among the industrial and municipal areas were obtained and analysed. Technical solutions, considering quality aspects, as well as economic and environmental ones, were defined in order to balance the differences between demand and supply. Management strategies were also defined for reclamation schemes delivering different water qualities.

Transversal actions

9. Communication and dissemination (D1), Networking with other projects (E2) and After-life Communication Plan (E3)

Numerous tasks were carried out in order to ensure that both the technical and the general media were reached by the aWARE results. Special emphasis was placed on the identification and communication with stakeholders who might had a similar situation to the one considered here and thus, the considered technologies maybe of potential interest to promote reuse activities in their area.

10. Project management (E1), monitoring of the impact of the project actions (C1) and assessment of the socio-economic impact of the project actions (C2)

Coordination, management, and monitoring of the project have been conducted by several means. Monthly revisions of the real and the forecasted progress have been undertaken and corrective measures have been adopted if necessary. The internal and external reporting, the monitoring protocol and the audit ensured the proper development of the project. The advisory board and the beneficiary’s commitment and experience have guaranteed the technical quality. Economic and social impacts of the aWARE project have been quantified.