Challenges in Wastewater Recycling

The benefits of recycling industrial wastewater can be immense; however there are many challenges that must be considered when establishing a wastewater treatment process.



The main challenge is in selecting the correct water treatment technology (or combination of technologies) for the wastewater. This is often a complex decision because there are many water technologies available; and multiple factors to take into account.


Common factors impacting water treatment technology selection are as follows:

  • Capital and operating costs

  • Resource consumption

  • Maturity of technology

  • Existing on-site infrastructure (if any)

  • Existing resource supply chains (if any)

  • Wastewater quality

  • Treated water requirements

  • Brine production


There are clear environmental benefits to recycling wastewater, but a well-designed treatment system should also be highly economical, minimising both initial investment costs and ongoing operational costs.


Technology maturity has ramifications for both investment and operating costs. Newer technologies often provide technical advantages (e.g. reduced consumption of resources, increased treated water recovery, improved equipment durability) which allow ongoing operating cost savings. However, the capital cost of new technologies can be expensive; and new