'Smart' Technology Offers Wastewater Cleanup

A breakthrough technology, unveiled by the Texas Research Institute for Environmental Studies (TRIES) at Sam Houston State University, and PCDworks, a technology innovation firm, offers a low cost and highly transportable method for rapid wastewater clean up anywhere in the world, according to a Nov. 11 press release.

"The potential implications of this technology are huge," said Sabin Holland, director of Innovative Collaborative Programs for SHSU. "We can increase the health and safety of our troops overseas by eliminating the need for unreliable wastewater treatment contractors, clean up Katrina-type disaster sites more rapidly, and deliver safer water supplies to third world countries."

Nicknamed "DAAB" for Deployable Aqueous Aerobic Bioreactor, the system converts wastewater to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-acceptable standards within 24-48 hours. Housed in a 40-foot-long shipping container, DAAB is completely portable and can treat wastewater for up to 600 people a day -- roughly a battalion of soldiers. The biological processing unit uses specially selected bacteria to "clean" wastewater, removing organic and inorganic materials so water can be released into the environment with no harmful consequences.

The U.S. Army contracted TRIES to design a wastewater treatment system for overseas and remote military deployment. PCDworks, a company that specializes in solving difficult technology problems, helped make the unit functional and "smart." DAAB is completely autonomous and can be monitored, diagnosed, and controlled via the Internet.

"Wastewater cleanup is a significant issue around the world and this is an important development," said PCDworks Vice President Mike Rainone. "Imagine the possibilities for a wastewater treatment system that is portable enough to be brought to just about any site, can be fully functional within a matter of hours, and can operate independently for up to six months at a time."

Holland expects DAAB units to be deployed to Iraq in 2010.

TRIES is an environmental research center founded over 15 years ago at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

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