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Hemodial Int. 2014 Jan;18(1):7-14. doi: 10.1111/hdi.12117. Epub 2013 Dec 10.

Toward green dialysis: focus on water savings.

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AURAL (Association pour l'Utilisation du Rein Artificiel à Lyon), Lyon, France.


Hemodialysis is one of the most water and energy-hungry medical procedures, and thus represents a clear opportunity where improvements should be made concerning the consumption and wastage of water. Three levels were investigated on which there are potential savings: the precise adjustment of water production according to specific needs, the reuse of reverse osmosis rejected water, and finally the huge volumes of post-patient dialysate effluent. The "AURAL" (Association pour l'Utilisation du Rein Artificiel à Lyon), main unit in Lyon, was the site of investigation for this study, which cares for 173 chronic hemodialysis patients. Evaluation of the 3 levels described earlier was undertaken on this particular building, and on the water treatment currently used. Volumes of produced water can be improved by different hydraulic systems or by adjusting the pure water conductivity used for dialysis. Concerning the reject water, reuse for building sanitation became the focus of further attention. The technical feasibility, volume of saved water, and applicable work costs were considered. The results suggest that out of a possible 2834 m(3)/year of reject water, 1200 m(3)/year may be reused and return on investment recovered within 5.8 years. Finally, the reprocessing and feasibility of reuse of dialysate effluent were investigated. Initial calculations show that although technical solutions are available, such processing of the wastewater production is not profitable in the short term. Regarding the significant prior authorization and risk management analysis necessary for such a project, this avenue was pursued no further. From the perspective of a "green dialysis," the reuse of reject water into sanitation is both viable and profitable in our unit, and must be the next step of our project. More widely, improvements can be made by defining a more precise range of pure water conductivity for dialysis and by applying reuse water project to new or to be renovated units.


Green dialysis; reject water; reverse osmosis; sustainable development; water reuse

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