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In a wastewater treatment process, energy is needed for collecting raw wastewater, treating it in a treatment plant, and redistributing it to end-users. The amount of energy needed for wastewater treatment depends primarily on the quality of inflow (raw wastewater) and outflow (reclaimed water). Cooley & Wilkinson (2012) summarized the amount of energy required for recycling wastewater in the United States depending on the technologies and end-users, as shown in Table 4.

Table 4.

Energy intensity of wastewater treatment (Cooley & Wilkinson, 2012).

TechnologiesEnergy intensity (kWh/MG)End user
Conventional tertiary treatment 
 Anthracite coal bed filtration, demineralization, chlorination 982 Irrigation, industrial use 
 Flocculation, direct filtration, UV/advanced oxidation 1,500 Irrigation, industrial use 
 Clarification, media filtration, chlorination 1,619 Irrigation, industrial & commercial 
 Anthracite coal bed filtration, UV 1,703 Irrigation, industrial use 
 Rapid mix, flocculation, media filtration, & UV 1,800 Irrigation 
Membrane treatment 
 Coagulation, flocculation, clarification, UF, RO, UV/advanced oxidation 3,220 Agriculture, industrial use 
 MF, RO, UV/advanced oxidation 3,680 Groundwater recharge 
 MF, RO, UV/advanced oxidation 3,926 Seawater intrusion barrier 
 UF, RO, UV 4,050 Industrial use 
 MF, RO 4,674 Industrial use 
 MF, RO 8,300 High-quality industrial use 
TechnologiesEnergy intensity (kWh/MG)End user
Conventional tertiary treatment 
 Anthracite coal bed filtration, demineralization, chlorination 982 Irrigation, industrial use 
 Flocculation, direct filtration, UV/advanced oxidation 1,500 Irrigation, industrial use 
 Clarification, media filtration, chlorination 1,619 Irrigation, industrial & commercial 
 Anthracite coal bed filtration, UV 1,703 Irrigation, industrial use 
 Rapid mix, flocculation, media filtration, & UV 1,800 Irrigation 
Membrane treatment 
 Coagulation, flocculation, clarification, UF, RO, UV/advanced oxidation 3,220 Agriculture, industrial use 
 MF, RO, UV/advanced oxidation 3,680 Groundwater recharge 
 MF, RO, UV/advanced oxidation 3,926 Seawater intrusion barrier 
 UF, RO, UV 4,050 Industrial use 
 MF, RO 4,674 Industrial use 
 MF, RO 8,300 High-quality industrial use 

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