Over 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress and about 4 billion people experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year. As this situation intensifies, global water technology company Xylem, is working to advance the conversation on sustainable water supply strategies, including the use of recycled water (or “reuse water”) to tackle water shortages.
As part of this effort, Xylem has partnered with Berlin water utility Berliner Wasserbetriebe and the Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin (the Berlin Centre of Competence for Water) to produce “Reuse Brew” – a beer made from purified and treated wastewater. The beer was showcased at the International Water Association (IWA) International Conference on Water Reclamation and Reuse in Berlin, alongside a range of Xylem’s water reuse solutions.
Jens Scheideler, Global Reuse Product Manager at Xylem said, “Through creative partnerships, we are focused on shining a light on global water challenges and the opportunity to address issues like water scarcity with recycled water. The reality is that water scarcity is an issue facing communities in every corner of the world but solutions exist to tackle this challenge.
“Accelerating adoption of reuse technologies requires a combination of smart water policies and education. A survey of California residents commissioned by Xylem found that 87 percent of survey respondents are willing to use recycled water in their daily lives and the majority support public policies to promote the use of recycled water. We must spread the word that it is water quality that counts, not its history,” added Jens Scheideler.
"With the Berlin Reuse Brew, we want to demonstrate that the technical possibilities of turning wastewater into drinking water are almost limitless," said Ulf Miehe, Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin.
"With additional treatment steps, we are taking wastewater treatment in Berlin to the next level using new, innovative technologies," added Regina Gnirss, head of research at Berliner Wasserbetriebe, "We will also continue to produce our drinking water sustainably from groundwater, because nature by itself also has immense purifying power. Here in Berlin, we know that water reuse can support the regional water balance, especially during dry periods."
Xylem is engaged in initiatives to build support for water reuse throughout the world. As official Water Technology Partner to Manchester City, Xylem recently teamed up with Manchester City and Heineken Manchester to produce ‘Raining Champions’ – a limited edition beer made with purified rainwater collected from the rooftop of City’s Etihad Stadium. ‘Raining Champions’ is the latest in a campaign by Xylem and City to show football fans globally how every country on earth faces serious and escalating water challenges, such as lack of access to clean water and flooding. In the U.S., Xylem recently partnered with Pure Brew Alliance in the U.S. on a reuse beer project to build public support for recycled water.
About the water purification process
In Germany's sewage treatment plants, there are three, sometimes up to four treatment steps of wastewater. The so-called fourth purification stage is used for the removal of micro pollutants such as medical residues, biocides or other chemicals. The combination of ozone and activated carbon is an established process that Xylem offers in an integrated solution, called the Oxelia process. Ozone oxidizes harmful micro pollutants and kills germs and bacteria. After this, biologically activated carbon filters are used to eliminate substances that are oxidized by the ozone and removed by microorganisms. The water is then of adequate quality to be released back into rivers and lakes.
To achieve drinking water quality, additional treatment is required. After the Oxelia process, the water is passed through a further activated carbon filter, which absorbs substances not removed by ozone or microorganisms. Reverse osmosis (RO) further enhances water quality.
In order to guarantee the highest possible quality and consumer safety, the water undergoes a final treatment stage: the Xylem MiPRO process with ultraviolet (UV) light and hydrogen peroxide. This "Advanced Oxidation Process" (AOP) brings the water to the highest possible purity level.