University of São Paulo: Water Reuse, Filtration, and Transportation [September Meetings Part 01]

University of São Paulo: Water Reuse, Filtration, and Transportation [September Meetings Part 01]

On September 3, 2014, the Pillars team in Brasil held meetings with Professor José Carlos Mierzwa PhD at the Polytechnic School, the International Reference Center for Water Reuse (CIRRA), and the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism (FAU), all of which are located on the University of São Paulo campus. The intent was to take a deeper dive into the APIS Project and discuss water reuse, filtration and transportation systems.

During the first session, the team discussed sustainability objectives with an emphasis on efficient water use and reuse. They explored ways to treat and store water from the sinks and showers for later use for toilet flushing. To make this possible the team considered a water efficient vacuum flushing system that would use 80% less water than conventional toilets.

Meeting with Prof. Mierzwa (photo: Artur Cordeiro)

Meeting with Prof. Mierzwa (photo: Artur Cordeiro)

Table reference of average water use per person, according to Prof. Mierzwa.

Table reference of average water use per person, according to Prof. Mierzwa.

Water supply was the next discussion topic. Since relying on the availability and treatment of potentially contaminated rainwater is perhaps unpractical, Professor Mierzwa and the team also considered the possibility of supplying water from a delivery truck or pumping and treating water from a nearby river. The ideal solution has not been resolved and will be evaluated further.

As for the water treatment system, the group suggested something portable, focusing on membrane technology to remove particles and disinfect the water. The system has the capability of lasting up to 5 years, and can be used continuously for up to one month before maintenance is necessary. For this to be successful, the water must be filtered before entering the system to reduce clogging.

CIRRA – International Reference Center for Water Reuse (photo: Lara Barbosa)

CIRRA – International Reference Center for Water Reuse (photo: Lara Barbosa)

Next, the group was invited to visit CIRRA (International Reference Center for Water Reuse) where Professor Mierzwa is the Technical Director and leads the Group of Synthesis and Modification of Polymeric Membranes for Water Treatment and Industrial Effluent. It is here where they work with two types of filtration systems: cylinder membranes and flat board membranes.

Cylinder membrane (photo: Lara Barbosa)

Cylinder membrane (photo: Lara Barbosa)

Flat board membrane (photo: Lara Barbosa)

Flat board membrane (photo: Lara Barbosa)

Professor Mierzwa explained how water treatment systems can be fully automated. The control panel monitors water usage and activates the pumps to maintain the desired reserve balance.

Control panel of the water treatment system (photo: Lara Barbosa)

Control panel of the water treatment system (photo: Lara Barbosa)

System of water treatment with cylinder membranes (photo: Lara Barbosa)

System of water treatment with cylinder membranes (photo: Lara Barbosa)

After visiting CIRRA, the group spoke with Engineer Irineu to discuss transportation and installation strategies. The APIS Project is using a standard 20-foot container.

Talking with Eng. Irineu (photo: Lara Barbosa)

Talking with Eng. Irineu (photo: Lara Barbosa)

To conclude the meeting, Professor Lara Barbosa, NOAH team leader, summarized the key points and outlined an action plan for the NOAH team and the APIS Project, pushing them one step closer to completing a fully functioning Emergency Bathroom System.

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