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Mobile Water/Wastewater Treatment Systems Developed by the Army Engineer Research and Development Center
Proceedings of the 2019 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2019 Authors: Medina V.F., Griggs C., Waisner S.


The U.S. Army Engineer Research & Development Center has developed and studied a variety of mobile water and wastewater treatment systems to address the needs of the military. These technologies also have applications for civilian purposes, such as providing for small rural communities, treatment of contamination and industrial wastewater, and disaster response. This project will discuss four projects, and will explore how these can be adapted for civilian use.

The first project was the development of the Deployable Aerobic Aqueous Bioreactor (DAAB), a mobile wastewater treatment system developed to support military operations. The DAAB is a membrane bioreactor that is designed to start up quickly thanks to special cultures of microorganisms designed to seed the reactor. It is a unique modular design that allows the system to be easily upgraded in increments of 250 men.

The second project was the exploration of anaerobic digestion to treat both food and black water generated at base camps during military operations. Base camps typically generate large amounts of food waste, which can be very difficult to manage. Our study showed that anaerobic digestion can treat food wastes along with toilet waste, and generate useful energy, up to 30% of the needs of the base camp. This could result in fewer resupply missions, saving money and lives.

The third project is a grey water (shower, laundry, and food waste wastewater) treatment project that is currently in progress. This process uses a novel, low energy reverse osmosis process coupled with a membrane bioreactor to treat grey water to allow total reuse of the water in an energy efficient manner. Testing at Camp Shelby in Mississippi is currently in progress.

The last project is the development of the Decontamination Effluent Treatment System (DETS), which is the first ever system designed to treat decontamination water. The DETS is designed to treat highly contaminated water that may contain very toxic constituents and achieve effective treatment every time. And, it is fully mobile. The DETS proved to be so effective that new uses are now being explored, including for the treatment of perfluorinated compounds, fracking fluids, and for disaster response.

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