The Town of Amherst, MA, is home to University of Massachusetts (UMass) Amherst and two other colleges. The Town of Amherst (TOA) Public Works Department manages the water needs of these campuses and the overall town population of nearly 38,000 residents.
Clean Membranes, a Massachusetts-based water treatment equipment company, received a $149,987.93 grant from MassCEC’s Wastewater Treatment Pilot Program. The grant funded a partnership with the Town of Amherst to pilot an innovative approach to reclaiming and cleaning wastewater on the campus of UMass Amherst. Over a period of approximately 8 months, Clean Membranes demonstrated that their ultrafiltration membrane technology could cost-effectively treat wastewater from the Town of Amherst Public Works Department to produce Class A reuse water. This classification of water is not potable but is classified for reuse for applications such as irrigation, flushing toilets and cooling water for electricity generation.
The funding provided by MassCEC enabled the Town of Amherst, Clean Membranes, and UMass’ Water Innovation Network for Sustainable Small Systems to test Clean Membranes’ technology in a real-world situation. Prior to the pilot project with Clean Membranes, the University and the TOA had already prioritized increasing the usage of non-potable (not drinkable) water, so Clean Membranes’ water-cleaning technology was a good match for their goals. The University can potentially save $300,000 annually if this technology is permanently implemented. The savings would represent a 50% discount from the current cost of the 24-30 million gallons of water that is used for irrigation and boiler cooling towers at the University.
Water reclamation for non-potable uses is a promising solution to the water shortage problem periodically faced by the state of Massachusetts. The water produced by Clean Membranes during the pilot project exceeds the requirements for Class A reclaimed water and enables more efficient operations than the existing UMass Amherst water reuse system.
About MassCEC’s WWT Pilot Program
The Wastewater Treatment Pilot Program is administered by Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to help further the commercialization of wastewater treatment technologies. This program allows MassCEC to make awards of up to $150,000 to partnerships between municipalities and technology providers to promote the demonstration of potential ground-breaking wastewater treatment practices. MassCEC’s Wastewater Treatment Pilot program supports technologies that emphasize energy savings as well as innovative practices