What is a WaterHub®? Do they all use the same process?
The WaterHub is an on-site water recycling system utilizing adaptive ecological engineering processes to clean wastewater and use reclaimed water for non-potable purposes. Using the right quality of water for the appropriate use is essential to a sustainable community. Every WaterHub is custom designed and reduces the demand on drinking water from local municipalities, thus creating a new, lower cost water supply to decrease utility costs to residents and businesses. The name ‘WaterHub’ itself is reflective of the system’s role as the center of sustainable water management.
What function do plants serve?
The primary function of the plants is to provide a habitat in their root zone for microorganisms that consume and break down waste. Plants do remove phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) as these are basic plant nutrients; however, the plant’s contribution to P and N uptake is less significant than other components of the WaterHub.
What happens to plants in the winter? How cold of a climate will these systems operate in?
WaterHub facilities can operate in a variety of climates – cold or hot. Overall design is driven by anticipated climatic conditions. Areas with harsh winters will likely require an indoor system to maximize operational efficiency. For outdoor systems, plants may need to be trimmed in the winter as they go dormant. Replanting is typically not required in the spring as Distributed Water uses native plants species that adapt to winter or seasonal temperature variations.
How long does the treatment process take?
Depending on the system, the treatment process (hydraulic retention time) takes anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. Overall, treatment time depends on a number of factors including: influent quality, effluent requirements, and the specific technologies utilized. Since each WaterHub is custom-designed to meet siting, footprint, and aesthetic requirements, hydraulic-retention time can vary from site to site. Regardless of treatment time, each WaterHub is designed to provide reclaimed water on demand for end users on-site.
What is the design capacity of WaterHub® reclamation systems?
Distributed Water can design treatment systems that treat virtually any volume of water; however, we specialize in commercial scale systems ranging from approximately 25,000 – 2 million gallons per day.
How much design flexibility is there regarding footprint, aesthetics, etc.?
System design and footprint are highly flexible. Our technologies can conform to numerous siting constraints and are frequently designed with a compact footprint on previously undevelopable pieces of land. Overall design, layout and materials of construction can be customized to each application so that the WaterHub blends in to the existing community framework.
Are there any foul odors associated with the WaterHub®?
No, the WaterHub has multiple odor control features to make sure no unpleasant odors can be detected. By design all treatment is carried out below the surface where odors are mitigated by covering and sealing tanks with vapor barriers, aggregate and natural vegetation. This layering effect acts as a natural filter against odors originating from the tanks. Most biological treatment systems are open-aired and do not have these inherent odor barriers. Furthermore, air handlers and carbon scrubbers are used to purify and remove vagrant odors from within the sealed reactor tanks and the mechanical room if necessary. In addition, special care is taken to seal all pipes and connections to ensure that no foul odors from mining or pumping wastewater are detected.
How can a WaterHub® fit into dense, urban spaces?
The natural odor-free, vegetative-aesthetic can be incorporated into very dense, public settings without fear of a “not-in-my-backyard” backlash. Unlike traditional biological treatment plants, these systems are designed for human interaction via a safe, controlled environment.
Is a greenhouse necessary for the system?
Both hydroponic and reciprocating wetland systems can be entirely outdoor systems; or, if desired, housed in alternative structures that allow plentiful natural light.
Can a WaterHub® be designed inside of a building?
Yes. The WaterHub can be designed inside of a building as it treats water safely, securely, and beautifully, within any type of living or working environment, including building interiors and rooftops, gardens, cafes, or lobbies.
How long does construction typically take?
A WaterHub typically takes between 6 – 12 months to construct after the design process, depending on the site, permitting requirements, and the length of the reclaimed water distribution network. Once constructed, the system goes through a commissioning phase, in which populations of critical microorganisms are built-up and monitored, while extensive water quality testing is performed. Commissioning typically takes 2 – 4 months.