Testing a Low-Energy Water Treatment System for Fail-Safe Direct Potable Reuse

A Low Energy Direct Potable Water Reuse Technology for Muncipal Wastewater

Porifera, Inc.


San Leandro, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Projects Updates/The Results

The final report has been submitted. The pilot demonstration results show that the dprShield uses 33% less energy than competing DPR solutions and 70% less energy compared to desalination.

The Issue

Potable water demand in California will continue to grow even as droughts become more common. The main sources for new water supplies in California are importing more water over long distances, desalination, and reuse. Of these three options, reuse requires the least amount of energy. A direct potable reuse (DPR) project has not yet been permitted in California. The main hurdle is public and regulatory concern over the public health risks of implementing DPR, which some call "toilet to tap". This concern is perpetuated by the lack of real-time fail-safe methods to ensure that contaminant barriers are intact at all times and performing as designed.

Project Innovation

The project is testing a low-energy, dual barrier, direct potable reuse system, known as dprShield, with breach-activated barrier technology to demonstrate that this technology can improve public health safeguards and reduce the electrical energy, chemical consumption, maintenance and overall cost for potable reuse of municipal wastewater. While being energy efficient and cost-effective, this system effectively removes trace contaminants through two tight membranes. In the event that one of the membrane barriers is breached, a Breach Activated Barrier is triggered and the contaminants are pushed away from the clean water stream, ensuring safe operation in real time. This direct potable reuse technology could replace more energy intensive processes.

Project Goals

Demonstrate DPRShield as feasible, reliable and cost-effective solution for water and wastewater treatment.
Demonstrate both increased energy savings and water volumes at pilot-scale for DPR at a municipal wastewater.
Demonstrate pathogen removal with real-time high-resolution membrane integrity monitoring and contamination prevention.

Project Benefits

This project demonstrates an energy efficient solution for direct potable reuse of municipal wastewater. The dprShield is estimated to use 65 percent less energy than State Water Project transfers, 75 percent less than desalination and more than 50 percent less energy than competing technologies for direct potable reuse of municipal wastewater, removal of contaminants from water and real-time membrane integrity monitoring.

Lower Costs

Lower Costs

This project has the potential to provide a reliable and cost effective solution for water and wastewater treatment. This project could reduce water treatment and reuse costs, and reduce energy requirements and emissions when com

Increase Safety

Increase Safety

This project can increase safety and reliability of potable water reuse projects. As potable reuse grows in California, this advancement will help overcome barriers by demonstrating an energy efficient solution for removal of co

Key Project Members

Olgica Bajakin, PhD

Olgica Bajakin, PhD

Erik Desormeaux, PE

Erik Desormeaux, PE

Director of Process Engineering

Match Partners

Contact the Team