EU Demoware – water reuse technologies in the Shafdan

1. Background
A comprehensive research proposal named Demoware was recently submitted to the R&D Programs of the European Union – FP7. It was submitted by a European consortium which includes world leading companies, like Veolia, DOW and Mekorot, among others. The proposal aims to demonstrate the technological innovations in water reuse applications such as agricultural irrigation, industrial and urban uses, through 10 demo sites in Europe:

Torre Marimon – Spain
Braunschweig – Germany
Capitanata – Italy
Tarragona – Spain
Old Ford Water Recycling Plant (OFWRP) – United Kingdom
Sabadell – Spain
Torreele – Belgium
El Port de la Selva – Spain
Vendée – France
Shafdan – Israel

The proposal was awarded technological excellence accreditation, and the research officially started in January 2014.

Europes ability to balance the increasing water shortage by water reuse is restricted due to low public confidence in available solutions, inconsistent approaches to evaluate costs and benefits of reuse schemes, as well as poor coordination between professionals and organizations that design, implement and manage these schemes.


The Demoware initiative is to address these shortcomings by encouraging innovation and improving cohesion within the evolving European water reuse sector. Taking into account the priorities of both SMEs and industry, it will create market opportunities for European solution providers and provide an environment for validation and benchmarking of technologies and tools.

Although there are many readily available technologies which are highly effective for water recycling, depending on water quality requirements, it is necessary to explore new technologies and approaches that meet not only technical but also economic, environmental and social criteria.

Among the main issues which are currently regarded as technical barriers for widespread implementation of water reuse: (1) capital and operational costs of advanced membrane technologies; (2) technical feasibility of soil aquifer treatment (SAT) systems. These issues will be addressed within this project.

2. Project Description
a. Project aim – demonstrating innovation in water reuse.

b. The project consolidates 26 partners from the water / innovation / hi-tech sectors, including 30% of small start-up companies such as Rotec and BMT from Israel (SMEs), as well as leading water companies including Thames, DOW, Veolia, KWB, KWR, etc.

c. The project will be performed in 10 demo sites throughout Europe (Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, France, Israel).

d. The demo site in Israel is situated in the Shafdan facility. Partners in the demo site – Mekorot Ltd. (The Desalination and Special Projects Unit, The Water Quality Unit, The Water Resources Unit, The WaTech Unit and The Shafdan Unit), WaTech portfolio companies (BMT – Biomeditech, Rotec) and Tel Aviv University (Dr. Hadas Maman and Dr. Dror Avisar).

e. The challenges in the Shafdan site

The Shafdan wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and Reclamation Project represents a unique example for a wastewater reuse facility, enabling savings of millions of liters of good drinking water. This is made possible due to supply of 130 million cubic meters of secondary effluents, out of which 125 million cubic meters are infiltrated and treated through Soil Aquifer Treatment (SAT) providing high quality tertiary effluents suitable for unrestricted irrigation, which consist approximately 70% of the agricultural irrigation of the Israeli Negev desert. The SAT treatment is based on infiltrating secondary effluents to the soil for further tertiary treatment and aquifer recharge, where it undergoes natural physical, biological and chemical processes that improves its quality. Later, the water is pumped out and transported to the Negev through the "Third Line" pipeline.

Due to increase in the wastewater quantities, the decrease in infiltration efficiency, and the limited area available for infiltration in the Dan Region, the amount of excess secondary effluents which are sent to sea disposal increases. In addition, it seems that the current anoxic conditions which exist in the SAT system cause Manganese dissolution from the soil into the water. These effluents are further oxidized in the distribution system causing precipitation and clogging in the farmers irrigation systems.


Objectives in the Shafdan Site
(1) General Objective – Improvement and demonstration of water reuse technologies for agricultural uses.

(2) Specific Objectives –

(I) Demonstration and improvement of innovative membrane processes for tertiary wastewater treatment through development of various filtering technologies, including: Microfiber filtration (new technology of Amiad Ltd), Ultrafiltration (UF), Reverse Osmosis (RO), Desalination using a unique Reverse Osmosis technology integrating Flow-Reversal RO (FR-RO) – a dew development by Rotec Ltd.
(II)  Demonstration and improvement of Soil Aquifer Treatment (SAT) processes through development of a pretreatment stage based on Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs).

3. Benefits

    Development of innovative technologies for tertiary wastewater treatment while maintain quality and reducing costs.
Promotion of the water reuse sector through the Shafdan R&D Center as basis for business activity locally and internationally.
Establishing the Shafdan R&D Center as a center for future international R&D activities.
Access to international research projects which were and currently conducted in the water reuse field.
Sharing resources and knowledge with other European research groups in development of advanced, high technological-economical-environmental technologies.
Promotion of WaTech’s portfolio companies (Rotec & BMT).
Participating in an European research with globally leading companies (KWB, Thames Water, DOW, Veolia, KWR, etc.), which positions “Mekorot” in the fore-front of technology of innovative water treatments.

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