For World Water Day 2017, the United Nations put the focus on the importance of reducing and reusing wastewater. According to UN.org, more than 80% of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back into the ecosystem via lakes, rivers and other bodies of surface water, polluting the environment while losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials in the process.
Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the UN International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Chairperson of UN-Water, laid down the gauntlet for businesses and private citizens alike to improve their management of wastewater and help achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Initiatives like this are among the reasons why wastewater treatment has become an increasingly critical part of plant operations over the last decade. Manufacturing companies in all industrial sectors are working to reduce consumption of water, a finite resource with increasing international demand. There are several motivations for doing so; one is to remain compliant with tightening wastewater treatment, handling, and disposal regulations, as well as the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). State and local municipalities have several additional standards that companies must adhere to as well.
Other reasons to recycle wastewater include improving a company’s working environment, employee morale and public image, as well as adhering to ISO 14001 initiatives. These days, promoting a “green” operation by putting a priority on environmental awareness and sustainable operations translates to happy workers, loyal customers and satisfied investors.
From a strictly dollars and cents standpoint, companies should care about wastewater treatment and reuse because it allows them to cut dramatically rising operational costs and increase profitability. Getting rid of used water-based coolant or wash waters can be expensive. Companies have to pay for handling, trucking, and treatment by their local POTW (Publicly Operated Treatment Works). Plus, they have to replace it all with clean water. So, their costs can vary based on local water supplies, fuel prices, and even the edicts of the POTW.
Wastewater Treatment Management Goals
The goal should be to recycle coolant, wash water and other fluids internally to increase tool life, improve product quality, reduce maintenance, and prolong the usage of working fluids. Then, when the time comes to finally dispose of them, companies have a smaller volume to get rid of, or a concentrated stream they can treat themselves for lower cost handling at the POTW.
While it certainly makes business sense to treat and re-use wastewater in-house, it can be a daunting task for companies that don’t specialize in doing so. Up-front costs associated with implementing a wastewater treatment system can seem prohibitive as well. Of course, at the heart of any such system is the equipment itself. For companies that are concerned about the impact their wastewater has on both the environment and their bottom line, there is a variety of wastewater equipment available – each designed to perform specific types of treatment and deliver a quick return on investment.
In today’s world, there are many available options that make it possible for companies to do the right thing with their wastewater, both environmentally and from a business perspective. By working with a fluid filtration partner that brings decades of expertise and a broad product offering to the table, they can boost their bottom line and join the United Nations’ crusade to cut the amount of untreated wastewater in half and increase the reuse of safe water by 2030.
Seven common types of equipment for treating wastewater include ultrafiltration systems, vacuum evaporators and distillation systems, reverse osmosis systems, paper bed filters, solid bowl centrifuges, tramp oil separators and vacuum filter systems.
For information on how a PRAB system could help you with your water or wastewater management processes contact us today.