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Membrane Technology Highlighted in Federal Roundtable and Congressional Briefing

Date: October 11, 2018

Membrane water treatment technology use and needs in the United States were highlighted in Washington, DC on October 10, 2018 during a roundtable discussion at the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water. The event was hosted by the WateReuse Association, American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA), and Water Environment Federation (WEF). The sessions were held in conjunction with “Imagine a Day without Water” activities around the United States.

David Ross, Assistant Administrator in the EPA Office of Water, opened the session and described his early introduction to membranes and how membranes play a critical role in water reuse applications. Four experts presented on their experiences with membranes:

  • Robert Yamada, Director of Water Resources for San Diego County Water Authority, discussed the public-private partnership that facilitated the Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, the largest in the U.S.
  • Mike Snodgrass, Membrane Technology Leader at OVIVO, presented information on Membrane Bioreactors (MBRs) and their application in the United States.
  • David Sloan, Senior Process Engineer at Freese & Nichols, Inc., reviewed the Big Spring, TX direct potable reuse effort.
  • John Nichols, Director of Utilities for Brunswick County, NC, discussed emerging contaminants in the Cape Fear River and the utility’s efforts to reduce them in the public water supplies.

During the question and answer period, key issues and concerns raised during the presentations were discussed such as who should bear the cost of treating water contaminated upriver, advantages of a private-public partnership, feasibility of direct potable reuse, financial impact on utilities who are treating unregulated contaminants, and uses for high quality MBR effluent.

In the afternoon, there was a Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill to present the progress made with membranes to meet the water quality and supply needs in the United States. The briefing started with a review of membrane technologies followed by an opportunity for the staffers to view posters from the morning sessions and ask question of the presenters.

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