Membrane-based reuse to be studied in Vietnam project

Development of membrane-based water-reuse technologies will be the focus of a pilot project started by the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HCMUT) in Vietnam, the Thailand-based Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Institute National des Sciences Appliques (INSA) in France.

The project to create a scheme of sustainable water resource management and wastewater reuse was outlined at a workshop in HCM City on 21 December 2010.

"Our focus is developing membrane-based wastewater reuse activities in Viet Nam," said Prof Visvanathan, a membrane technology expert from AIT and project coordinator. The workshop was a knowledge-sharing activity under the project that began implementation next April.

Visvanathan said that one of the prime objectives of this joint industry-academia project was to develop local technical and research skills to promote membrane-based wastewater-reuse activities in the country.

The project will set up a membrane-based wastewater treatment unit at the Le Minh Xuan Industrial Park in HCM City. Field data is being collected to identify the wastewater reusability potential in the region.

This was an emerging technology for industrial wastewater reuse activities, because of its performance consistency, experts said at the workshop. Apart from higher performance, the compact system has greater potential in terms of saving space in industrial parks where every inch of land is valuable.

The project has brought out "very good results" with the treated wastewater from Le Minh Xuan Industrial Park, one of the most polluted zones in HCM City now available for use to water trees and clean roads, said Dr Bui Xuan Thanh of HCMUT.

"The potential for membrane technology application in industrial wastewater reuse activities is very high in Viet Nam," said Prof Nguyen Phuoc Dan, dean of the Faculty of Environment, HCMUT.

The pilot project is funded under the Sustainable Development in the Context of Climate Change (SDCC)/AIT France network by France's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Until now, only half of the industrial wastewater generated in HCM City has been treated up to set standards before final disposal, the workshop heard. In addition, high water- stress has been observed due to overexploitation of freshwater resources for industrial and domestic uses in HCM City and the surrounding provinces that have experienced rapid industrial growth.

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