Day 5 – NEWater

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On Day 5, the team’s first stop was the NEWater plant. This is a jewel of a project as the country is now able to convert waste water to water that can be consumed on a day to day basis. The sophistication of NEWater impressed the entire team who were able to sample the water and see for themselves. The water is currently being used in industry simple because of perceptions. The tour guide explained that the water was purer than any water that is available but because its source is waste water, it is difficult to get consumers to drink the water. Aftr the plant visit, the team was treated to a Mongolian lunch!

“NEWater is the brand name given to reclaimed water produced by Singapore’s Public Utilities Board. More specifically, it is treated wastewater (sewage) that has been purified using dual-membrane (via microfiltration and reverse osmosis) and ultraviolet technologies, in addition to conventional water treatment processes. The water is potable and is consumed by humans, but is mostly used by industries requiring high purity water.

Process

NEWater is produced by a multiple barrier water reclamation process:

The first barrier is conventional wastewater treatment in the Water Reclamation Plants.
The second barrier, and first stage of the NEWater production process, uses microfiltration/ultrafiltration to remove suspended solids, colloidal particles, disease-causing bacteria, some viruses and protozoan cysts. The filtered water after passing through the membrane contains only dissolved salts and organic molecules.
The third barrier, and second stage of the NEWater production process, uses reverse osmosis (RO). A semi-permeable membrane filters out contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, nitrates, chlorides, sulfates, disinfection by-products, aromatic hydrocarbons, and pesticides. NEWater is thus free from viruses and bacteria and contains very low levels of salts and organic matter. At this stage, the water is of potable quality.
The fourth barrier, and third stage of the NEWater production process, is a safety precaution. UV disinfection is used to ensure that all organisms are inactivated and the purity of the water can be guaranteed. After adding some alkaline chemicals to restore the pH balance, NEWater is ready for use.” Source: Wikipedia

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