Skip to content

🤖 Simplifying Onsite Water Reuse

(don't) Waste Water!

Photo by Richard Bell / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Antoine Walter
Guest: Aaron Tartakovsky | CEO & Co-Founder | Epic Cleantec
Category: 🤖 Technology

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[12:28] “Epic Cleantech does on site wastewater treatment and reuse, which means we're going into large buildings or groups of buildings, taking wastewater that you would normally send to the sewer, we are capturing that wastewater, treating it and then reusing it in the building for non potable applications, things like toilet flushing, urinal, flushing, irrigation, cooling towers, laundry. And when you add up all of these different non potable applications, you can sometimes get up to 95% of the building’s water use can be provided by recycled water sources.”

[13:02] “We are big believers in the fact that there is no waste in wastewater, which means that all of these different things […] that would normally […] be disposed of, we actually want to repurpose and reuse. So we turn wastewater into three outputs. One is recycled water, […] two is organic soil amendments. So all of these wastewater organics that we often send to the sewer that are either used beneficially or sent to landfill where they give off emissions. We actually take those, put it through our own process and create these amazing carbon rich soil blends that we can then use in and around cities.”

[13:37] “The third piece is recovered wastewater heat. So we use an incredible amount of energy in buildings for things like heating water for showers, for dishwashers, for laundry, and all of that heat then goes back into the sewer. And by our calculations, there's enough energy being lost through wastewater heat to power every single electric vehicle on the road in the United States right now. So we actually think […] this is just one more component that we can now turn into a commodity. We can reuse this heat, preheat the building's domestic hot water supply and bring the overall energy footprint of our systems down.”

[14:51] “We see the vast majority of people moving into cities. By some estimates 70% of the world's population [will be] living in cities by 2050. And the rate at which we are adding new building stock to our global supplies [equals] adding a new Manhattan every single month from now until 2060. […] And we see that a lot of these cities are built on infrastructure that is not designed to handle that type of urban density. We've infrastructure put in anywhere from 30 to 100 years ago, that was designed to accommodate a certain amount of wastewater flow and was designed to provide a certain amount of water. And we're seeing a lot of cities, especially in [the] water scarce Western United States, who right now are not necessarily in a great position to be able to handle […] those water wastewater needs for decades to come. And so we see an incredible opportunity to focus on cities and to focus on real estate.”

[17:25] “[In] San Francisco, we do have an ordinance in place. So any new construction project, currently over 250,000 square feet, has to do onsite reuse. […] It came about in the last drought back in 2015. Our elected officials said, […] our state is suffering when it comes to […] water supplies. Why are we using fresh water from national parks to flush our toilets in downtown San Francisco when we can be manufacturing water on site for those types of applications? So San Francisco led the charge, but certainly, any sustainable business, I believe, cannot be truly sustainable if it's only reliant on incentives, grants and subsidies. So the real driver for what we're doing is cost savings.”

[42:03] “There needs to be a single rallying call for the industry. And, I think […] it's a fallacy to separate climate change from water issues. I think climate change is water change. And I know that's not an original thought. And we're hearing that more and more, but I think we need to continue to make that a priority. Because some of the most direct impacts of climate change are felt through water. They’re felt through more prolonged droughts, they’re felt through more extreme flooding. So oftentimes, we maybe don't associate it with the cause, but the effect is oftentimes felt through water. And so I think we need to make sure that we are doing a better job of elevating water issues and challenges as being directly tied to all the same challenges that are being addressed by the traditional climate tech or climate change folks who are only focused on decarbonisation. But just look at the water energy nexus, […] we're an integral part of that conversation, and we just need to do a better job telling that story.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify (Original Title: "Central Water Management Networks won’t Handle 2050. Time for an Epic Move?")
🕰️ 51 min | 🗓️ 11/10/2021
✅ Time saved: 49 min