The Water Infrastructure Programme (WIP) – A Multi-Disciplinary Approach
The Water Infrastructure Programme (WIP) has been formed to encompass the interests and facilitate the efforts of parties with a shared interest in water and wastewater management issues in particular and environmental concerns in general. This programme was initiated under the aegis of the newly-formed Large Scale Systems Laboratory in the Faculty of Engineering. WIP comprises five major R&D areas – Urban Planning, Treatment Technologies, Water Quality, Construction Methods and Materials, and Resource Planning and Allocation Assessment. The challenge is to harness knowledge to cross the natural thresholds in land and water to allow Singapore to develop beyond its natural endowments. WIP seeks to develop strategies, design concepts and technologies to cross these thresholds. To undertake projects in the areas identified, WIP combines and deploys knowledge in architecture, decision sciences, engineering, public health, and the general sciences.
The activities of WIP are anchored in a number of R&D groups such as the Wastewater Biotreatment Group (WBG) (Figure 1). A range of activities is undertaken by WBG in the environmental engineering field of water and wastewater management. Four highlights from the areas of wastewater treatment, wastewater odour control, water reclamation, and reclaimed water quality are provided to illustrate the latter. Often as a wastewater is conveyed to a wastewater treatment plant and when it reaches the plant, it may have become septic with consequent odour formation. The first article describes work done with oxidizing agents to control such odour formation. Rapid and compact odour control methods would offer the opportunity of building wastewater treatment facilities closer to dense human habitation. Next, the pretreatment of wastewaters may be required to either reduce organic strength or modify wastewater characteristics in terms of, for example, inhibition. The article on the anSBR (Figure 2) deals with the development of a cyclic anaerobic sludge blanket reactor with Canadian collaborators. Such methods offer the possibility of reduced treatment costs and more stable treated effluent quality. The following article deals with an aerobic system which is often at the core of wastewater treatment facilities. The ultracompact biofilm reactor (UCBR) which offers an exceptionally compact reactor with nitrification and denitrification capabilities. Present design concept explorations envisage the possibility of integrating it as an element of a building. Finally, to close the loop in the water use cycle, two approaches to water reclamation have been considered, namely the application of distillation and membranes. Since water may be recovered from increasingly marginal sources, the quality of the reclaimed water in terms of parameters other than those usually monitored might become important. The last article looks at the determination of biostability in particular, as part of the development of test methods for assessing mutagenecity and biostability.
Figure 1: Some members of WBG.
Figure 2: A treatment plant using anSBR (background) and aeSBR (foreground) technologies to treat pig farm wastewater.
Assoc Prof WJ Ng, Tel: 874 2172/2102, Fax: 779 1635, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org