The following interview with Shannon Spurlock has been taken from Hospital Wastewater Treatment: Global Scenario and Case Studies, out now from IWA Publishing.
Please introduce yourself, your company, and what activity you are doing/have done in the water sector.
My name is Shannon Spurlock and I started my own consulting firm, Ochotona LLC, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March 2020. Prior to this endeavor, I worked in a role where I advanced equitable food policy and built strategic partnerships; it was in this role that I began working to expand the allowed applications of recycled water in Colorado (USA). Specifically, I built support across to advance policies that would allow Colorado growers to be able to use recycled water to irrigate crops grown for human consumption. It became very clear that by recycling water, we would be able to maximize a limited resource and create a new water supply for agriculture that was safe, reliable, and drought resistant.
What is your perspective in hospital wastewater treatment?
Treating wastewater to appropriate standards is important to human health and the environment. By treating hospital wastewater, there is an opportunity to remove contaminants and reuse the water safely. This is
important as it can provide a new water source that is safe, reliable, and drought resistant. Additionally, testing wastewater is an effective method of detecting diseases and has been used in the past to detect polio and currently, is being used to understand COVID-19 rates within a community.
What type of future can we expect from hospital wastewater treatment plants if they existed?
Though I don’t work in the hospital system, it is my belief that having onsite wastewater treatment plants would allow hospitals to treat wastewater before releasing it into the environment. This has many benefits – ranging from ensuring that the water is safe and free from harmful chemicals and contaminants to creating a localized water resource that can be treated and appropriately reused.