Open Access: Identification of potential sewer mining 1 locations a Monte-Carlo based approach
Abstract: Rapid urbanization affecting demand patterns, coupled with potential water shortages due to supply side impacts of climatic changes have led to the emergence of new technologies for water and wastewater reuse. Sewer mining is a novel decentralized option that could potentially provide non-potable water for urban uses, including for example the irrigation of urban green spaces, providing a mid-scale solution to effective wastewater reuse. Sewer mining is based on extracting wastewater from local sewers, treat at the point of demand and entails in some cases the return of treatment residuals back to the sewer system. Several challenges are currently in the way of such applications in Europe, including public perception, inadequate regulatory frameworks as well as engineering issues. In this paper we consider some of these engineering challenges, looking at the sewer network as a system where multiple physical, biological and chemical processes take place. We argue that prior to implementing sewer mining, the dynamics of the sewer system should be investigated in order to identify optimum ways of deploying sewer mining without endangering the reliability of the system. Specifically, both wastewater extraction and sludge return could result in altering the biochemical process of the network, thus unintentionally leading to degradation of the sewer infrastructure. We propose a novel Monte-Carlo based method that takes into account both spatial properties and water demand characteristics of a given area of sewer mining deployment while simultaneously accounts for the variability of sewer network dynamics in order to identify potential locations for sewer mining implementation. The outcomes of this study suggest that the method can provide rational results and useful guidelines for upscale sewer mining technologies at a city level.
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