Wastewater Reuse In Monrovia: A Potential For Reducing Urban Water Stress & Promoting Environmental Sustainability

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Ansumana Abraham Bility , Fidan Aslanova , Gözen Elkiran


As the world's water crisis heightens due to human-induced climate change and unchecked population growth, nations must adopt smart technologies that reduce the pressure on the planet's finite freshwater resources. Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, is regarded as one of the wettest cities globally, with an average annual precipitation of about 4,624mm. However, this massive capital drain has proved insignificant in making the city water-secured. Due to the low elevation (about 10m) and surface water contamination resulting from routine sea intrusion and the use of surface water bodies as toilets by residents, people rely on groundwater sources like hand-dug wells for drinking, sanitation, and urban garden irrigation. After considerable investment in the renovation of the White Plan Water Plant by donor partners, the facility that should provide water for at least all residents of the capital has an output of less than 30% of the total water demand. As the world races for a sustainable solution to the available freshwater crisis considering the rapid decline in quality and quantity, developing countries, as expected, lag behind their developed counterparts in the area of devising new and efficient technologies that address this problem—considering Liberia's vast hydrological potential, adopting and implementing a water treatment technology as ceramic membrane filtration boasts the country's chances of being water-secure in the short and long run. This paper reviews Liberia’s existing water infrastructure, examines the challenges, and proffers evidence-based solutions to address the looming crisis of water insecurity. Membrane water treatment is a method of purifying water by removing impurities that would otherwise be present and carry the potential to cause harm to humans and other forms of life. The tiny pore sizes of the membrane filtration instruments can remove the tiniest substances from effluent, thus, making it safe for reuse in homes. Membrane technology has been effectively employed in centralized and decentralized waste reuse. The final use of treated water determines the degree of water quality and the membrane technique required. Microfiltration (MF) and Ultrafiltration (UF) are often employed to create low suspended particles and turbidity fluids. Membrane Bio-Reactors (MBR) are utilized for direct wastewater treatment since they produce low nutrient effluents. In sophisticated wastewater post-treatment applications like groundwater injection for indirect potable reuse or sensitive industrial uses, nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes are employed. This paper proposes the ceramic membrane filtration method due to its cost and energy efficiency in treating effluent. The operation is crossflow, thus making it more environmentally sustainable than other wastewater treatment methods. Crossflow operation, as opposed to the dead-end process, allows for longer filtering cycles since the strain acting on the membrane as the fractionating column flows across it helps to reduce membrane fouling. By-products can be utilized for energy generation as biogas, manure for crop production in agriculture, and landscape irrigation for recreational purposes.

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