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Sustainability and Circular Economy: Frontier Research on Water Treatment and Purification

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2022) | Viewed by 13967

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Gas Processing Center, Qatar Unviersity, Doha P.O. Box 2713, Qatar
Interests: water treatment and purification; biotechnology; electrocoagulation; CO2 capture and utilization; membrane separation and plasma technology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
River Engineering and Urban Drainage Research Centre (REDAC), Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
Interests: environmental engineering; water treatment technology; waste utilization; catalysis; food security and toxicology; environmental health and safety

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Water is the essence of life and the most valuable commodity today. The vast industrial expansion and the ever-growing world population in recent years have contributed to limiting the quantity and quality of its supply. To address the global demand for water, management of the available water resources through the circular economy appears to be most relevant approach, as it will help to address emergent issues related to optimization, treatment, and reuse of all available water sources in a timely and achievable manner while creating opportunities for commercial advantage paving the way for long-term sustainability.

The opportunities with the circular economy will become increasingly attainable by realigning the domestic and industrial discharge with the natural water cycle. This realignment can be achieved by reassessing the current products and services; improving water use efficiency by pursuing all possibilities for water recycling or reuse within industrial processes and domestic activities; establishment of sustainable environmental management systems related to natural water courses, or built environment for environmental preservation and public health improvement; improving the existing governance policies related to wastewater treatment, management strategies, and smart partnerships; and implementing better resource allocation and management. The prospects of the circular economy can be readily realized in different fields through the effective treatment of different water sources, green management systems, built environment, and policies.

This Special Issue focuses on the smart management of water and environmental resources through the circular economy to achieve sustainable development. The SI will address the major issues with respect to wastewater treatment technologies and management strategies, considering different types of wastewater and the potential of green and advanced technologies for effective water reclamation, recycling, and reuse. Within this context, research work with scientific outputs addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are of paramount importance. The following topics will be considered for publication:

  1. Technoeconomic studies of wastewater treatment and reuse;
  2. Treatment and reuse of different water resources;
  3. Management of desalination reject brine;
  4. Optimization of treatment technologies;
  5. The role of water policies in sustainable development;
  6. Nanotechnologies and green water treatment techniques;
  7. New emerging environmental management systems and built environment; for restoration of the natural ecosystem and public health improvement;
  8. Identification, characterization, and control of environmental pollutants of emerging concern;
  9. Integrated management of water resources;
  10. Water–food nexus, water reuse, and food safety control;
  11. Water management strategies related to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Prof. Dr. Muftah El-Naas
Prof. Dr. Keng Yuen Foo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • water resource management
  • wastewater treatment
  • water cycle
  • circular economy
  • sustainable development
  • environmental management
  • public health improvement

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

17 pages, 4908 KiB  
Article
Performance Assessment of Natural Wastewater Treatment Plants by Multivariate Statistical Models: A Case Study
by Mahmoud Gad, Sayeda M. Abdo, Anyi Hu, Mohamed Azab El-Liethy, Mohamed S. Hellal, Hala S. Doma and Gamila H. Ali
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7658; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137658 - 23 Jun 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1541
Abstract
Waste stabilization ponds (WSPs) as natural wastewater treatment plants are commonly utilized for wastewater treatment due to their simple design, low cost, and low-skilled operator requirements. Large-scale studies assessing the performance of WSPs using multivariate statistical models are scarce. Therefore, this study was [...] Read more.
Waste stabilization ponds (WSPs) as natural wastewater treatment plants are commonly utilized for wastewater treatment due to their simple design, low cost, and low-skilled operator requirements. Large-scale studies assessing the performance of WSPs using multivariate statistical models are scarce. Therefore, this study was conducted to assess the performance of 16 full-scale WSPs regarding physicochemical parameters, algae, bacterial indicators, and pathogens (e.g., Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica) by using multivariate statistical models. The principal component analysis revealed that the chemical pollutants were removed significantly (p < 0.001) through the treatment stages of 16 WSPs, indicating that the treatment stages made a substantial change in the environmental parameters. The non-multidimensional scale analysis revealed that the treatment stages restructured the bacterial indicators significantly (p < 0.001) in the WSPs, implying that the bacterial indicators were removed with the progress of the treatment processes. The algal community exhibited a distinct pattern between the geographical location (i.e., upper WSPs versus lower WSPs) and different treatment stages (p < 0.001). Four out of the sixteen WSPs did not comply with the Egyptian ministerial decree 48/1982 for discharge in agriculture drainage; three of these stations are in lower Egypt (M.K., Al-Adlia, and Ezbet El-Borg), and one is in upper Egypt (Armant). The continuous monitoring of WSPs for compliance with regulatory guidelines with the aid of multivariate statistical models should be routinely performed. Full article
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12 pages, 1424 KiB  
Article
Psychological Restorative Potential of a Pilot on-Campus Ecological Wetland in Malaysia
by Lai Kuan Lee, Nor Azazi Zakaria and Keng Yuen Foo
Sustainability 2022, 14(1), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14010246 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2315
Abstract
This study examines the perceptions and engagement tendencies of 788 university students, as well as their relationship with psychological distress, with respect to an on-campus ecological wetland. The students’ awareness, understanding, perceived importance, satisfaction level, and engagement tendency towards the ecological wetland were [...] Read more.
This study examines the perceptions and engagement tendencies of 788 university students, as well as their relationship with psychological distress, with respect to an on-campus ecological wetland. The students’ awareness, understanding, perceived importance, satisfaction level, and engagement tendency towards the ecological wetland were evaluated using a structured questionnaire. The psychological symptoms were assessed using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem and depression, anxiety, and stress scales, and the predictors of psychological distress were determined. The majority of the students were actively engaged (62.3%), aware (88.3%), and satisfied (51.0%) with the ecological wetland. Gender, age, educational attainment, engagement, perceived importance, and satisfaction level towards the ecological wetland were the predictors of psychological distress. The results outlined the environmental and mental restorative values of the ecological wetland in mediating psychological distress among the university students. These findings shed light on the necessity of preserving the sustainability and integrity of the on-campus ecological wetland. Longitudinal investigations to explore the restorative values of built environments and psychological wellbeing among high-risk populations are warranted. Full article
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13 pages, 3215 KiB  
Article
Pathogens Removal in a Sustainable and Economic High-Rate Algal Pond Wastewater Treatment System
by Sherif Abd-Elmaksoud, Sayeda M. Abdo, Mahmoud Gad, Anyi Hu, Mohamed Azab El-Liethy, Neveen Rizk, Mohamed A. Marouf, Ibrahim A. Hamza and Hala S. Doma
Sustainability 2021, 13(23), 13232; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132313232 - 29 Nov 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2133
Abstract
This study evaluates the efficiency of a sustainable technology represented in an integrated pilot-scale system, which includes a facultative pond (FP), a high-rate algal pond (HRAP), and a rock filter (RF) for wastewater treatment to produce water that complies with the Egyptian standards [...] Read more.
This study evaluates the efficiency of a sustainable technology represented in an integrated pilot-scale system, which includes a facultative pond (FP), a high-rate algal pond (HRAP), and a rock filter (RF) for wastewater treatment to produce water that complies with the Egyptian standards for treated wastewater reuse. Still, limited data are available on pathogen removal through HRAP systems. Thus, in this study, the performance of the integrated system was investigated for the removal of Escherichia coli (E. coli), coliform bacteria, eukaryotic pathogens (Cryptosporidium spp., Giardia intestinalis, and helminth ova), somatic coliphages (SOMCPH), and human adenovirus (HAdV). Furthermore, physicochemical parameters were determined in order to evaluate the performance of the integrated system. The principal component analysis and non-metric multidimensional scaling analysis showed a strong significant effect of the integrated system on changing the physicochemical and microbial parameters from inlet to outlet. The mean log10 removal values for total coliform, fecal coliform, and E. coli were 5.67, 5.62, and 5.69, respectively, while 0.88 log10 and 1.65 log10 reductions were observed for HAdV and SOMCPH, respectively. The mean removal of Cryptosporidium spp. and Giardia intestinalis was 0.52 and 2.42 log10, respectively. The integrated system achieved 100% removal of helminth ova. The results demonstrated that the system was able to improve the chemical and microbial characteristics of the outlet to acceptable levels for non-food crops irrigation. Such findings together with low operation and construction costs of HRAPs should facilitate wider implementation of these nature-based systems in remote and rural communities. Overall, this study provides a novel insight into the performance of such systems to eliminate multiple microbial pathogens from wastewater. Full article
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18 pages, 7058 KiB  
Article
KOH-Based Modified Solvay Process for Removing Na Ions from High Salinity Reject Brine at High Temperatures
by Aya A-H. I. Mourad, Ameera F. Mohammad, Ali H. Al-Marzouqi, Muftah H. El-Naas, Mohamed H. Al-Marzouqi and Mohammednoor Altarawneh
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10200; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810200 - 13 Sep 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2718
Abstract
The traditional Solvay process and other modifications that are based on different types of alkaline material and waste promise to be effective in the reduction of reject brine salinity and the capture of CO2. These processes, however, require low temperatures (10–20 [...] Read more.
The traditional Solvay process and other modifications that are based on different types of alkaline material and waste promise to be effective in the reduction of reject brine salinity and the capture of CO2. These processes, however, require low temperatures (10–20 °C) to increase the solubility of CO2 and enhance the precipitation of metallic salts, while reject brine is usually discharged from desalination plants at relatively high temperatures (40–55 °C). A modified Solvay process based on potassium hydroxide (KOH) has emerged as a promising technique for simultaneously capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) and reducing ions from reject brine in a combined reaction. In this study, the ability of the KOH-based Solvay process to reduce brine salinity at relatively high temperatures was investigated. The impact of different operating conditions, including pressure, KOH concentration, temperature, and CO2 gas flowrate, on CO2 uptake and ion removal was investigated and optimized. The optimization was performed using the response surface methodology based on a central composite design. A CO2 uptake of 0.50 g CO2/g KOH and maximum removal rates of sodium (Na+), chloride (Cl), calcium (Ca2+), and magnesium (Mg2+) of 45.6%, 29.8%, 100%, and 91.2%, respectively, were obtained at a gauge pressure, gas flowrate, and KOH concentration of 2 bar, 776 mL/min, and 30 g/L, respectively, and at high temperature of 50 °C. These results confirm the effectiveness of the process in salinity reduction at a relatively high temperature that is near the actual reject brine temperature without prior cooling. The structural and chemical characteristics of the produced solids were investigated, confirming the presence of valuable products such as sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) and potassium chloride (KCl). Full article
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15 pages, 2479 KiB  
Article
A New Process for the Recovery of Ammonia from Ammoniated High-Salinity Brine
by Ameera F. Mohammad, Ali H. Al-Marzouqi, Muftah H. El-Naas, Bart Van der Bruggen and Mohamed H. Al-Marzouqi
Sustainability 2021, 13(18), 10014; https://doi.org/10.3390/su131810014 - 07 Sep 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4062
Abstract
This paper describes a new method for the recovery of high-concentration ammonia from water in the form of ammonium chloride, ammonium hydroxide and ammonium carbonate. The method was applied to the Solvay process, in which sodium bicarbonate is produced through the reaction of [...] Read more.
This paper describes a new method for the recovery of high-concentration ammonia from water in the form of ammonium chloride, ammonium hydroxide and ammonium carbonate. The method was applied to the Solvay process, in which sodium bicarbonate is produced through the reaction of ammoniated brine and CO2 gas. The Solvay effluent contains ammonia in the form of soluble ammonium chloride. The proposed method is based on the recovery of ammonia using a high-alkalinity reactant, calcium oxide (CaO), in a closed electrocoagulation cell operating at a specific current density. The recovered ammonia is collected as a gas within a closed cell containing deionized (DI) water at room temperature. Afterwards, the collected solution (DI water–NH3 gas) is concentrated through a separate process, and is then reused in the Solvay process and other applications. The electrocoagulation process is applied to the treatment cell using aluminum electrodes and a current density of 5–15 mA/cm2. After 7 h of treatment using the electrocoagulation cell, a high reduction of the ammonia concentration—99%—was realized after ~9 h of the electrochemical treatment. The initial ammonia concentration in a Solvay effluent of 13,700 mg/L N was decreased to 190 mg/L N. Furthermore, an ammonia recovery of 77.1% in the form of ammonium hydroxide was achieved. Generally, this process, which starts at room temperature, can result in an energy reduction of 80%—from 7.8 to 2.3 kWh/kg NH3—compared to conventional processes, which entail heating the Solvay effluents to 160 °C. The proposed system and method were found to be suitable for the recovery of ammonia from ammoniated water, and can be utilized for the treatment of landfill leachate, and municipal and industrial wastewater. Full article
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