In many industries where the absolute quality of the end product is critical, the reuse of water which has already been used in production may not have been considered.

Water suffering from any colouration, contamination or tainting is often discounted as a viable source and goes to waste. Even trace colorants, residual taints or dye mean the process water outflow is automatically consigned to waste. The very idea of recirculating/recycling the liquid effluent stream has never been on the facility management agenda.

“Perpetual cost savings would be possible if water tainted by

contaminants was treated to a level that made it safe to be used in process”

So far removed, in fact, that most facility managers wouldn’t be able to calculate or, at least, say with any certainty, exactly how much they could save by reducing the volume of their fresh water consumption.

In many cases, it’s a significant amount. Perpetual cost savings would be possible if water tainted by contaminants was treated to a level that made it safe to be used in process, for example, in the cleaning of machinery or flushing of toilets. Further operational cost savings can be achieved through the treatment and reuse of water due to the avoidance of paying premium costs for industrial effluent to be delivered to the local sewer through the Mogden Formula.

Pioneering The whole idea of attempting to reuse water that has previously been simply discharged to the nearest sewer, perhaps for decades or more, may never have been considered.

While most facility managers make it their professional business to stay abreast of scientific and technological developments, maintaining an even and uninterrupted flow of production is a priority for many who take a lot of persuading that the methods and measures they’ve spent their careers refining can be further improved.

By reusing water in a closed-loop system, rather than bringing in new fresh water, organisations can improve their sustainability and help to reduce the depletion of our global water supplies. As adequate natural water supplies come under increasing pressure in the coming decades, the ability to reuse treated or processed water will be critical.

Technological advances Research and advances in technology mean scientists are now able to trace parts per million and parts per billion quantities of a whole range of pollutants which escape traditional treatment techniques. It is now possible to ‘bolt-on’ a system to the conventional outflow and return

the treated water to the production line. Whilst traditional primary and secondary wastewater treatment removes 75% to 85% of organics from wastewater, new technology can work alongside these methods to remove the remaining, hardest to treat contaminants. The task is first to analyse for the contaminants of concern or measure of colour in the wastewater, then specify a precise process that will optimally resolve the problem.

New threats Of course, rapidly developing technologies are producing new waste elements of increasing complexity all the time. Some of these are combining to form new contaminants which pose undefined risks. In tandem with efforts to measure the threats posed by these spontaneously formulated substances, businesses are constantly researching new contaminants and increasing removal rates of hard to treat substances.

Regulation In the face of such dramatic escalation in the contaminant landscape, and a looming water crisis, regulators are doing their best to keep the public safe and protect the environment. Their response has been to increase the incidence and frequency of testing and analysis and the introduction of stricter wastewater treatment regulations. It is realistic to expect that in the future, regulation and controls will tighten rather than relax. Failure to comply with existing regulations can lead to huge financial fines and damage to an organisation’s reputation.

Arvia’s bolt-on systems operate through the same scientific principle. Tainted water is introduced into tanks containing a highly specialised Nyex media, which adsorbs contaminants onto its surface. The water passes down through the bed of media and a low electric current is applied. The electrical activity oxidises the contaminants and there are no residues or sludge to worry about, dispose of or incinerate.

“As adequate natural water supplies come under increasing pressure in the coming decades, the ability to

reuse treated or processed water will be critical.”

For facilities management professionals, effective wastewater treatment plays a vital role in the management of any organisation. Every facilities organisation, no matter what the size, faces unique challenges for wastewater treatment and requires a cost-effective solution tailored to meet individual treatment requirements for safe industrial water reuse. As ever more stringent regulations are introduced, FM professionals must ensure their water treatments systems are futureproofed to avoid problems further down the line. TOMORROW’S FM | 41

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