November 16, 2008 In disasters such as hurricane Katrina, dealing with wastewater can be one of the greatest difficulties facing military and relief operations. Nicknamed “DAAB” (Deployable Aqueous Aerobic Bioreactor), this new self-sustaining, portable, and “smart” wastewater treatment system offers a solution to this critical problem.

Developed by the Texas Research Institute for Environmental Studies (TRIES) at Sam Houston State University (SHSU), and PCDworks, the technology offers a low cost and highly transportable method for rapid wastewater clean up anywhere in the world. The system is able to convert wastewater to EPA acceptable standards within 24-48 hours and being housed in a 40-foot-long shipping container makes it completely portable. DAAB is able to treat wastewater for up to 600 people per day; roughly a battalion of soldiers. The biological processing unit uses specially selected bacteria to “clean” wastewater, removing organic and inorganic materials so water can be released into the environment with no harmful consequences.

According to Sabin Holland, Director of Innovative Collaborative Programs for SHSU, the applications are threefold: “We can increase the health and safety of our troops overseas by eliminating the need for unreliable wastewater treatment contractors, clean up Katrina-type disaster sites more rapidly, and deliver safer water supplies to third world countries.”

The U.S. Army contracted TRIES to design a wastewater treatment system for overseas and remote military deployment and PCDworks helped make the unit functional and “smart.” DAAB is completely autonomous, can be monitored, diagnosed and controlled via the Internet, and can be fully functional within a matter of hours and operate independently for up to six months at a time. DAAB units are expected to be deployed to Iraq in 2010.