Investigating Wastewater Reuse at Safety Rest Areas and Truck Stations

Principal Investigator(s):

Sara Heger, Adj. Assistant Prof., Rsrch Assct, Water Resources Center

Project summary:

The University of Minnesota (UMN) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) conducted a study to determine whether implementing a wastewater reuse program would be a feasible option for MnDOT-owned truck washing stations. MnDOT has 137 truck stations in the state, where trucks are frequently washed to remove road salt buildup. MnDOT recognized an opportunity to potentially reuse the wastewater for appropriate greywater uses and recapture the salt for road use. Sampling was done to assess the wastewater contaminants in truck wash water at 11 truck-washing stations in Minnesota. Then technologies suited to removing organics and total suspended solids (TSS)--but not chlorides--were reviewed. The recommendation is that either a recirculating sand filter (RSF) or a membrane bioreactor (MBR) would be feasible technologies to use for this purpose. Using the MnDOT truck station in Arden Hills, MN, an economic evaluation was done. Both systems could be used to effectively treat wastewater and produce brine for reuse, but the most economical solution for MnDOT would be to invest in an MBR. Compared with an RSF, an MBR is one-third less expensive over time, primarily due to low material and installation costs, as well as lower annual maintenance costs.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2018004
  • Start date: 06/2017
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Environment and Energy
  • Topics: Environment

Reports or Products: