March 22 is World Water Day – Celebrating Opportunities and Benefits of Wastewater

HONOLULU, HI, March 22, 2017 – Every day water professionals around the world take the wastewater that pours in from our communities and helps to transform it into renewable resources—clean water, energy, and nutrients—that benefits society, protects public health, grows our economy, and preserves our global water environment. Hawaii Water Environment Association (HWEA) joins the Water Environment Federation (WEF) in celebrating World Water Day 2017 and encouraging others to adopt sustainable approaches and practices that support resource recovery.

The United Nations designated March 22 as World Water Day in 1993, and this year’s theme—wastewater—places focus on the vast potential of its resources. Around the world, facilities have embraced approaches to resource recovery that position them as utilities of the future. Singapore residents have been using highly treated wastewater for drinking water for years. Chicago is home to the world’s largest phosphorus resource recovery plant. In Japan, clean natural gas is recovered from biogas and sewers generate usable heat.

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And here, in Hawaii, over 12 million gallons of treated wastewater is put to use every day for golf course irrigation across the state (Commission on Water Resource Management, 2013). At Honolulu’s Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant, the Synagro facility converts biosolids into “commercial-grade, Class A exceptional quality fertilizer for agricultural and commercial use” (Synagro Technologies, 2017).  There are many other applications for the recycled water, biosolids and the energy that can be harvested from what is commonly thought of as “waste”.  These systems can generate benefits beyond the diversion of pollution away from the environment. Most importantly, users may reduce their potable water consumption, therefore placing less demand on our precious, freshwater aquifers.

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This World Water Day, we also pause to celebrate the hardworking professionals whose knowledge, efforts and innovation have revolutionized the way we think about water and improved water quality in communities throughout the world. Thanks to their work, water is treated, cleaned, and returned to the environment, helping to make a safe and healthier world for all of us to enjoy.

“WEF members have been at the forefront of the transformation of our sector from managing wastewater to recovering valuable resources from it,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “The water sector has made remarkable strides in this area, a true testament to the men and women around the world whose creativity continues to help solve evolving water challenges. World Water Day is a time to not only celebrate those achievements, but also to reaffirm our commitment to working with water, energy, and other stakeholders to maximize water resource recovery facilities as sources of renewable energy and useful products.”

For more information about water reuse in the State of Hawaii, please see the State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources Commission on Water Resource Management’s website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/cwrm/planning/alternative/.

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About WEF

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) is a not-for-profit technical and educational organization of 33,000 individual members and 75 affiliated Member Associations representing water quality professionals around the world. Since 1928, WEF and its members have protected public health and the environment. As a global water sector leader, our mission is to connect water professionals; enrich the expertise of water professionals; increase the awareness of the impact and value of water; and provide a platform for water sector innovation. To learn more, visit www.wef.org.


State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources Commission on Water Resource Management, 2013. Accessed at: http://files.hawaii.gov/dlnr/cwrm/planning/hwrsr2013.pdf

Synagro Technologies, 2017. Accessed at: http://www.synagro.com/locations/honolulu-sand-island-wastewater-treatment-plant/