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The Paradigm Shift: Wastewater Plants to Resource Plants

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Continued use of the term “wastewater plants” maintains the stigma of waste rather than promoting the resource opportunities not only for utilities but for the surrounding communities. Population growth in combination with finite water resources, energy limitations, limited long term nutrient supplies and stressed finances require emphasis on resource recovery opportunities of water, energy, nutrients and assets. A complete understanding of the driving forces within a community or region must be developed in order to identify the true opportunities for recovering specific resources. A successful evaluation requires a business case philosophy that balances resource supply and demand in order to develop a sustainable and financially sound Resource Plant that meets utility needs. Within the business case, the following items must be defined: the need/desire to recover resources, the resource demands, the potential technology /asset investment needs, financial factors and the risks/benefits for all recovery opportunities. With a thorough consideration of each item, a utility can make the paradigm shift to develop a community specific resource plant and cast aside the stigma of wastewater treatment and disposal.
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Keywords: asset management; energy; nutrients; phosphorus; resource recovery; reuse

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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