WateReuse Symposium 2020 Features OCWD’s Mehul Patel in “Great Debate”



“Great Debate: Operational Aspects of RO vs. GAC for Advanced Water Treatment”
will identify the different challenges that an operations team faces in operating, maintaining and gaining acceptance for its respective treatment trains. It will take place on Sept. 14, 2020, and will feature Orange County Water District Executive Director of Operations/GWRS Mehul Patel, among other industry experts. The debate is part of the 35th Annual WateReuse Virtual Symposium.

Potable reuse, as an alternative source for drinking water to augment supplies, has taken hold in several different parts of the United States. A range of different drivers, including wastewater effluent salinity, matching aquifer water quality, future direct potable reuse, options for brine disposal and regulatory history, impact the advanced treatment technologies that are employed to achieve a water quality considered suitable for potable reuse. 

Broadly, the treatment trains can be divided into two camps—reverse osmosis and a carbon-based system. In both cases there are variants of these treatment trains, and some co-mingling of both approaches. 

The debaters come from different parts of the country that have used RO-based, carbon-based or both approaches either in full scale or in pilot studies and demonstrations. On Team RO will be Patel and Ryan Popko, JEA, Fla., project manager of Phase II Water Purification Project. Team Carbon members will be Water Recycling Project Manager Germano Salazar-Benites from Hampton Roads Sanitation District, Va.; and Senior Water Utility Supervisor Kevin Linder from the city of Aurora, Colo. Moderators are Troy Walker, water reuse practice leader for Hazen and Sawyer; and Jason Curl, CH2M’s global service lead.  This short quasi debate format will be used to tease out some of the operational challenges and lessons learned from both approaches.