Degree Granting Department
Daniel H. Yeh, Ph.D.
Millennium development goals, Sanitation, Developing countries, Global water crisis, Life cycle analysis
Increasing population and extensive urbanization have strained resources around the world, promoting water scarcity and solid waste accumulation. Addressing the issues of access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in developing countries is challenging due to limited technological and financial resources. Therefore, it is imperative that durable, low-cost, and sustainable technologies are developed to help alleviate these problems. At the same time, the production of solid waste has increased and includes waste tires, which pose a health and environmental hazard. Although efforts have been made to develop new markets for recycled scrap tires, a vast majority are still being stockpiled or landfiled. This study aims to evaluate a water treatment system that addresses the problem of access to safe drinking water and sanitation, while providing a new market for recycled scrap tires.
The system, termed ECOL-Mem, utilizes commercially available porous rubber tubing (PRT), which is marketed for drip irrigation purposes. To our knowledge, this is the first time this product has been used in a water treatment system. The PRT is manufactured through a hot extrusion process and contains 65% recycled crumb rubber and a binder (e.g. polyethylene). The proposed configuration simulates a hollow fiber membrane filtration system driven by a vacuum that operates inside-out. The system was first tested using clean water to obtain intrinsic characteristics. It was then tested using bentonite and sludge solutions that simulated impaired source water. For the case of a bentonite solution containing 700 mg/L, 20L of permeate could be obtained in one hour while the total solids removal remained around 20%. In order to improve the water quality, a flocculation-enhanced filtration phase was explored. The flocculant is chitin, a biopolymer that can be derived from waste shellfish.
Upon addition of the chitin, between 60% and 70% of total solids removal could be obtained for different feed waters. Although optimization is needed, the PRT system has shown promising results, while providing a technology that targets the needs of developing countries in the areas of safe drinking water, basic sanitation, and solid waste recycling.
Scholar Commons Citation
Garcia, Ana Maria, "Evaluation of scrap tire-derived porous rubber tubing as a green membrane for sustainable water filtration (ECOL-Mem process)" (2007). Graduate Theses and Dissertations.