University breaks ground for water recycling facility

The University will commence the construction of the William and Cloy Codiga Resource Recovery Center – a new facility that will test water-recovery technologies – on Bonair Siding Road this spring, after breaking ground on the project Tuesday.

The goal of the facility is to test water recovery technologies at a scale large enough to encourage commercial investment, according to the Woods Institute for the Environment.

The facility, which is funded by Stanford alumnus William Codiga and his wife Cloy, is a joint effort among water-resource experts and faculty researchers from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Engineering Research Center for Re-inventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt).

Although the center is not due to begin operations until 2015, administrators already plan to test innovations ranging from self-powered technology that can recover nonpotable water from wastewater to a decentralized water recycling system that may be deployed at off-campus locations.

Researchers at the facility will also determine whether the by-products of water purification can serve as potential energy sources.

“The technologies to be tested at the Codiga Center have the potential to revolutionize wastewater treatment, producing freshwater from wastewater and converting treatment systems that currently consume energy into systems that produce energy,” said Craig Criddle, prospective director of the Codiga Center, to the Stanford News Service “Many of these systems do not exist at full scale anywhere in the world.”

According to the Woods Institute, the system could become a “key component of a recycled water plant serving the Stanford campus,” through mechanisms like providing water for landscaping.

Criddle expressed hope that the facility will also have wider-reaching impacts, noting that the statewide drought has infused the push to identify effective water-recovery solutions with greater urgency.

“The country needs this quickly,” Criddle said. “We need to do this fast.”