Who said recycling required a sprawling, elaborate setup because this particular system does not.
Scientists from ETH Zurich have successfully a self-contained water recycling system that can make life easier for millions of people belonging to areas with inadequate water treatment options. The system abbreviated BAMBi (interesting arrangement of letters there) is a self-contained autonomous unit that does not require a large number of interconnected pipes to work.
BAMBi or the Biologically Activated Membrane Bioreactor (BAMBi) cleans water through a 3 step process of filtration before it is used by the next user. The most important component of the 3 step process is the Ultra-filtration membrane that allows bacteria to form a layer of biofilm. This layer of bacteria then catches and breaks down germs and toxic substances in the water.
For the bacteria to survive for a long time, however, it was required that the water being filtered had the right nutrients in enough quantities to sustain the bacteria. Thus, for the 2nd step of the three-step process, the research team added nutrients like Phosphorus and Nitrogen to the soap being used by the user to clean his/her hands. This ensured that the water flowing down into the filtration plant had nutrients from the soap which in turn ensured that the water is nutritious enough for the bacteria to survive.
For the second stage, the used water flows through an activated Carbon filter. The filter removes any residual organic matter from the water. Finally, salt is added and dissolved in the water and then the saline solution is electrolyzed via an electrolytic cell to produce chlorine.
At the end clean, odorless and chlorinated water results. As can be seen, this system is fairly self-sufficient and does not require any external supervision which makes it ideal for usage in a variety of areas where adequate wastewater and sewage treatment is not available.
Bambi’s functioning has tested by setting up a prototype in an area in Zurich for a period of hundred days. During this period, the system served over a hundred people and remained fully functional during the entirety of the time.