Date of Graduation

Fall 12-17-2021

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Allison Luengen


Industries typically discharge wastewater to a centralized wastewater treatment plant, but given ongoing water scarcity from repeated droughts, onsite wastewater reuse within the industrial facility’s plant is an attractive alternative. However, information on economic and technical feasibility on wastewater reuse onsite is limited. A literature review showed that membrane bioreactors are a promising wastewater reuse treatment technology due to their reduced footprint and high quality produced effluent. A watershed assessment of the Tri-City area was conducted to evaluate future water supply. A case study was then performed on industrial dischargers in the Tri-City area applying this technology. Finally, the costs of membrane bioreactors was evaluated compared to the benefits. It was found that water supply shortages of up to 18% are predicted during drought years in the Tri-City area and up to a 50% shortage is predicted during a catastrophic event, such as an earthquake. Membrane bioreactors were proven to be a viable option producing high quality produced effluent capable of meeting California water reuse standards. The economic feasibility increased as wastewater strength (i.e., chemical oxygen demand and suspended solids) and wastewater volumes increased, making it most economically feasible for companies like Tesla, who discharges an average of 115,077,012 gallons of wastewater per year. It is recommended that policy is implemented to require industrial wastewater users to evaluate their processes for potential areas to reuse water and identify areas to reduce water usage. In addition, incentives and education should be provided to encourage wastewater reuse within an industrial facility’s plant.