Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

AquaNES Report Summary

Project ID: 689450
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AquaNES (Demonstrating synergies in combined natural and engineered processes for water treatment systems)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2017-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Europe’s water service providers are under increasing pressure to deliver improved and affordable water services to a growing population whilst reducing the amount of energy used, lowering the environmental impact of their activities and coping with climate change. These challenges have prompted water sector professionals to revisit the potential role of catchment landscape features such as river banks, aquifers and wetlands in providing treatment and storage capacity.
AquaNES pursues the concept of integrating nature-based elements into solutions for water management challenges, i.e. establishing combined natural and engineered processes (cNES) for water treatment systems. The activities focus on soil aquifer treatment coupled to managed aquifer recharge (MAR/SAT), constructed wetlands (CW) and bank filtration (BF) as well as their combinations with engineered pre- or post-treatments to produce water for various purposes from a range of water sources (Fig. 1.) such as
– bank filtration as option in drinking water production from surface waters
– managed aquifer recharge to augment groundwater resources
– constructed wetlands to treat wastewater and add buffering capacities in drainage systems
Yet treatment performance and reliability of these systems are challenged by variability of intake water quality and quantities caused by e.g. climate change or pressure from human activities. The AquaNES project demonstrate adaptations that
Reliable and sustainable water services are vital for human and societal well-being. Nature-based solutions have been recognised sustainable measures meeting environmental and socio-economic objectives. cNES may offer increased flexibility for water service providers aiming for more cost-effective solutions.
AquaNES aspires to promote the up-take of cNES and pursues these specific objectives:
– to demonstrate the benefits of post-treatment options such as membranes, activated carbon and ozonation after bank filtration for the production of safe drinking water
– to validate the treatment and storage capacity of soil-aquifer systems in combination with oxidative pre-treatments
– to demonstrate the combination of constructed wetlands with different technical post- or pre-treatment options (ozone or bioreactor systems) as a wastewater treatment option
– to evidence reductions in operating costs and energy consumption
– to test a robust risk assessment framework for cNES
– to deliver design guidance for cNES
– to identify and profile new market opportunities in Europe and overseas for cNES

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

AquaNES catalyses innovations in water and wastewater treatment processes and management through improved combinations of natural and engineered components. Those are demonstrated in 13 sites in Europe, India and Israel covering a range of regional, climatic, and hydro-geological conditions.
All sites have set-up the technical pilots or complemented full-scale systems with a broad array of process combinations and started operation (Fig. 2). A first assessment of the treatment performance of the different systems considering chemical and microbial water quality parameters as well as biological effect assays was carried out. Collection and assessment of data on operation and water quality, particularly on interactions between the natural and engineered treatment components, is an ongoing task throughout the project.
Towards an adapted monitoring of the cNES treatment trains a Water Quality Assessment Framework was developed. It helps identifying relevant parameters that can assist water utilities in designing monitoring programmes as promoted by the Water and Sanitation Safety Planning approaches.
Harnessing monitoring data for an efficient and effective operation we demonstrated the usefulness of an adapted automated reporting tool based on the software R. Using online monitoring data of the plant, the tool increased the transparency of the operational state of the plant, confirmed the disinfection effectiveness, and accelerated the problem identification in case of failure.
Another example for the utilisation of monitoring data is the development of an ICT tool for integrated monitoring, modelling and control of aquifer recharge systems in dependence of environmental factors (groundwater levels, groundwater quality, infiltration rate).
A general market analysis focused on Europe was performed to identify trends and drivers that shape the market perspective for cNES.
In order to capture information on cNES derived from the project a decision support system structure was defined and a first implementation of a prototype has been performed. A methodology to value the ecosystem service provided by cNES was also adopted and tested in an AquaNES field case

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

"The project will deliver a series of comprehensively field-tested combined natural and engineered water treatment trains. We demonstrate their technical and environmental performance including comparisons to benchmark technologies. The demonstration activities will result in an increase of the Technology Readiness Level of several process combinations, typically from 5/6 to 7/8.
AquaNES will deliver a set of tools and methods to characterise cNES
– Water quality assessment framework as well as tools and methods for Quantative Microbial Risk Assessment (QMRA) and chemical water quality assessment
– Tool box for risk assessment and decision support for BF design/operation in combination with engineered post-treatment
– Adapted design guidelines for constructed wetland based systems
– Monitoring & modelling systems to manage qualitative and quantitative status of coastal aquifers
– Approach to analyse the ecosystem services provided by cNES
– A DSS to assist potential user, authorities and funding agencies in evaluating feasibility of cNES
Project outputs will contribute to an increased resource efficiency and environmental performance of the water sector. This applies for reduced energy demand in selected types of application:
– Demonstrating natural treatment systems such as CW or soil retention filters as low energy alternatives compared to purely technical systems. In combination, energy demand could be lowered by ca. 20- 50%.
– Some of the demonstration sites will validate the performance of technological options which can e.g. replace energy intensive double membrane systems for indirect potable reuse which are state of the art and consume around 1.2-1.6 kWh/m3. With the combination of oxidation, biofiltration and SAT this energy consumption can be potentially lowered to around 0.6 kW/h/m3, even with additional safety disinfection in the reclaimed product water.
– The design support tool for siphon systems for BF schemes could catalyse a “renaissance” of siphon applications which could, in turn, be operated with sophisticated vacuum and control devices to reduce the energy consumption for water abstraction via wells by >50%.
Also on materials use we aim at improving water utilities performance indicators for e.g. ""Materials, chemicals and other consumable costs"".
With these outputs and achievements it will be possible to be enable commercial partners to exploit the demonstration cases as reference systems for further market uptake
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