Preface – Water-Quality Engineering
University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan
2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Water technology has been ever growing. It is an essential set of technologies for sustainable human society. Traditionaltechnology, or better called just skill, to obtain, purify, andsupply water was developed in the ancient era in various re-gions of the world. Great efforts have been made to obtain safeand adequate water as an essential resource to human life.However, still, billions of people in the world have no accessto safe water. Moreover, large numbers of people have nochance to use a proper sanitation system, and this eventually deteriorates water quality and decreases the available safe water resources. Water resources are renewable theoretically. Used water does not disappear but is renewed to freshwater throughevaporation by the power of solar energy. Solar energy is anatural distillation system to remove impurities present in water. However, the help of water technology is needed tomaintain this renewing function in the modern world in which human activity overwhelms the natural purifying function.Conventional water technology was used as a black box through which water was puriﬁed without knowing themechanisms, which control the physical, chemical, and bio-logical reactions used in puriﬁcation. However, such empiricaluse of technology cannot further improve or develop thetechnology. Many researchers and practitioners have de- veloped theory-based technology, rather than mere empiricalskill, for purifying water. The function of each unit process wasstudied and the mechanisms of separation, role of micro-organisms, and process characteristics were clariﬁed. A sig-niﬁcant amount of knowledge has been accumulated. Thisknowledge improves process performance and reliability.Human beings also developed tools to examine the micro- or nanoscale reaction. Modern technology needs to be based ona deep and broad understanding of theory. Water technology is not isolated from other technologies.Many innovations to upgrade water-technology performancehave been tried by applying new technologies from other ﬁelds. Membrane technology that originated in a ﬁeld such asmedical science or chemical engineering is an example.Nowadays, water treatment is one of the largest applicationareas of membrane technology. The purpose of water technology has been expanded frompuriﬁcation of water to water generation, energy and resourcerecovery. This is a practical and important area to which new technology can be applied. Water availability is limiting human settlements. The supply of water produced fromseawater or even moisture can break through this limitation. The requirements for water technology differ very muchfrom one place to the other. The key factors are target com-pounds to be removed, resource and energy consideration,capacity of operating human resources, as well as economicresources. For example, a safe water-supply system in least-developed areas needs technology, which can be used without frequent and sophisticated maintenance. However, suchtechnology does not mean cheap and old technology. Newly developed innovative technology has a higher chance of im-plementation than old technology. Water management needs policy and system technology rather than simple connection of unit technologies. A dis-tributed wastewater treatment system needs reliable and eco-nomically and technologically reasonable treatment technologies. A nutrient removal policy for eutrophication canbe realized by introducing a technologically reasonable com-bination of secondary and advanced treatments. The water technology is a system technology.Resource and energy limitation has become a key factor for sustainability. Substantial amount of material use threatensthe world’s resources, and energy use provokes the climatechange problem. Saving resource and energy is now an in-dispensable aspect of water technology. The necessity of en-ergy and resource saving further changes water technology. The current global situation regarding climate change andresource limitation enhances the recovery of resource andenergy. Wastewater contains organic matter, which is biomass;therefore, obtaining carbon-neutral energy is possible. Water technology is now forming an important part of business worldwide. Every country needs safe water and en- vironmental protection from wastewater. Technology devel-opment, implementation, and maintenance providesubstantial opportunities for business. This volume includes theory, practice, and recent devel-opment of these wide range of water technologies, althoughall such innovative technologies cannot be included. There isno single answer to any of the particular cases. Among many options, one should choose a technology system considering the local social, economic, and engineering aspects. This vol-ume would help such a technology choice.