Demo system shows reuse potential of turning sewage into potable water   

Brockville, ON – December 22, 2016: newterra, a leader in modular water, wastewater and groundwater treatment solutions, is pushing the limits of water treatment technology at its 3-acre production facility in Brockville, ON to highlight the growing need for water reuse. The company has installed a fully operational treatment system that turns raw sewage into clean, pure water that’s safe to drink.

The system is part of a new showcase area at the company’s main plant. It demonstrates how proven, currently available technologies can help reduce the immense strain on the world’s water supply, according to Tom Vossman, newterra’s CEO. “It’s much less expensive to separate out the clean water from sewage than it is to desalinate, for example,” says Vossman. “Going from toilet to tap still has a psychological barrier to overcome, but in terms of the technology, we’re already there. This system uses the exact same equipment we sell to our clients around the world. And the reality is, only about 10% of potable water is used for drinking or cooking. The vast majority of it is used for flushing toilets, watering lawns, agriculture and industry.”

Vossman, a group of staff and members of the company’s Board of Directors demonstrated their confidence in newterra’s technology this week, toasting and drinking water produced by the ‘toilet-to-tap’ reuse system.

“The water tastes great,” announces newterra Chief Operating Officer, Jeremy Dayment, after taking a drink poured from the dedicated tap in the plant. “Every day, people in downstream communities are drinking water that was used by people upstream. Nature is a key part of the treatment process. Our technology purifies water much faster and more efficiently than nature. And for clients in regions where water scarcity is an issue, sewage is a viable source for many reuse applications. newterra modular solutions also put the treatment equipment right at the source where the sewage is created or the clean water is needed, which saves significantly on infrastructure costs, like piping and pumping.”

The reuse demonstration system at the company’s plant uses unmodified equipment from newterra’s diverse line of water treatment solutions. At the core is a membrane bioreactor (MBR) like those used by communities and newterra’s Fortune 100 resource clients for remote work camps. MBRs use biological treatment to break down sewage which then runs through ultrafiltration (UF) membranes to separate out suspended solids, bacteria and protozoa. The clean looking water then passes through an ultraviolet system where UV light ‘sterilizes’ any residual microorganisms and viruses so they can’t replicate. The final step in the treatment process is one of the company’s COCHRANE reverse osmosis (RO) systems – technology that newterra provides in much larger scale to large power generators and industry for process water. The RO unit in the reuse system is sized for households and small commercial applications and eliminates any dissolved solids. The end result is highly polished water that is taste-free, odour-free and safe to drink.

Water Facts 
(Source: World Health Organization & The Center for Investigative Reporting):

  • Globally, at least 1.8 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with human waste
  • Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause over half a million diarrhoeal deaths each year
  • 85% of the global population live in the driest half of the planet
  • 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation
  • California is sinking at a record rate as below ground aquifers are drained; the Central Valley is on pace to sink 30 feet (9.1 m) by 2030  
  • Approximately 5% of California’s total electricity is needed to pump groundwater
  • Desalination is considered too costly to be used irrigation


About newterra

newterra is a leading provider of modular water, wastewater and groundwater treatment solutions to the resource, power generation, industrial, private development and municipal markets. With its suite of patented technologies and capabilities that include design, engineering and manufacturing in its own facilities, newterra maintains control over the high quality and on-time delivery of its systems. Operations in Canada, United States, Germany and Chile allow newterra to address the needs of clients on a global basis. In addition to being selected as a Cleantech Top 100 Company in 2013 and 2105, newterra has also achieved Platinum status as a distinguished recipient of Deloitte’s 50 Best Managed Companies Award for the past eight consecutive years.

For further information, please contact:

Grant Beamish, Director, Marketing Communications