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Water Matters: Understand. Evaluate. Reuse?

In the second of a four-part webinar series about industrial water management, our experts detailed best practices for monitoring and improving water use.

Webinar Recap: Water Matters 2

    In this recap, we will break down our second webinar in a four-part series called Water Matters. In this series, we discuss in­no­v­a­tive methods for sourcing, using/reusing and treating water, as well as ex­plor­ing how all of these ini­tia­tives come together in in­te­grated water man­age­ment. Let's dive into what we heard in Part 2!
    In­dus­trial leaders must un­der­stand their water use to rec­og­nize op­por­tu­ni­ties for more ef­fi­cient water use. To put the topic into focus, we brought in two of our top in­dus­trial experts, who can claim 75 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in water and waste­water en­gi­neer­ing.

    Un­der­stand­ing What's in Your Water and How Much You Use
    To begin, our pan­elists covered the market drivers pushing in­dus­trial users to pay closer at­ten­tion to their water use: water avail­abil­ity, com­pe­ti­tion, pur­chas­ing costs, sus­tain­abil­ity goals and consumer pressure for en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity. In some water scarce areas, water can be quite ex­pen­sive and hard to come by. Climate change and drought-related issues are causing in­dus­tries to develop sus­tain­able so­lu­tions in order to meet their water needs. In­dus­trial users should consider water con­ser­va­tion and reuse as methods for reducing water demands.
    In order to assess the op­por­tu­ni­ties, you need to un­der­stand of the dif­fer­ent levels of water use within your plant. One way to ac­com­plish this, as you will hear, is by sub­me­ter­ing and radio control mon­i­tor­ing:
    Water Matters 2: Radio Con­trolled Water Mon­i­tor­ing
    This approach will help you figure out how much hot and cold water you use, the amount used in cleaning pro­ce­dures and how much is used for cooling power. Gath­er­ing quality data will show you what types of con­t­a­m­i­nants are in your water and assist you in choosing treat­ment and possible reuse options as you move forward. To analyze all of this data, you will want to create a water balance:
    A water balance is a meant to be a dynamic living document, laying out process flows and quality levels within your facility. To optimize use­ful­ness, update this document in real time, taking into account seasonal vari­a­tions and product/process changes.
    Next, you will need to set goals and measures for your plant. Ask yourself, "Is my goal to reduce water use and as­so­ci­ated costs? Am I looking to comply with cor­po­rate goals or satisfy reg­u­la­tory pres­sures?" Likely, your goals will be driven by a mix of these chal­lenges.

    What are you up against? Evaluate Before Deciding if Reuse is Right for Your Facility
    Water reuse is not cut and dry. There may be many chal­lenges that your plant will have to face before you can start re­claim­ing water. Un­der­stand­ing these chal­lenges is the first step—be­gin­ning with sewers. For multiple reasons, you will need to make sure that your sanitary and process sewers are separate:
    Water Matters 2: Separate Your Sewers
    If your sewers are in­ter­min­gled, you will incur more costs and risks. The next chal­lenge to water reuse is the removal of organics from waste­water. Treat­ment methods will vary for dif­fer­ent types of con­t­a­m­i­nants:
    Water Matters 2: Organics and Salts Removal
    As stated, other factors in­clud­ing tem­per­a­ture and dis­solved salts will in­flu­ence the fea­si­bil­ity of reuse. Simply having the room, power and re­sources to im­ple­ment new tech­nol­ogy should also be con­sid­ered, as well as where to store and dispose your waste­water, if nec­es­sary:
    Water Matters 2: Chal­lenges to Reuse
    You should respond to these various chal­lenges with your company's brand image at the core of your decision-making.

    Best Prac­tices for Ef­fi­ciency
    The best money spent is to not allow waste­water to reach sewers in the first place. To achieve this, many com­pa­nies are ex­plor­ing lower quality reuse methods such as cooling water, land ir­ri­ga­tion and even some san­i­ta­tion uses. To further decrease water use, some plants (de­pend­ing on their pro­duc­tion process) are im­ple­ment­ing vacuum systems, rather than pressure washers, to assist in clean up efforts. Beyond water con­ser­va­tion, you should also consider reuse options for biosolids ex­tracted during reuse processes:
    Water Matters 2: Re­pur­pos­ing Bio-solids
    Some of the byprod­ucts from water treat­ment might be useful within your plant—as digestor feed for instance—or you may be able to sell processed waste as animal feed or fer­til­izer.

    What is the payoff?
    Un­der­stand­ably, plant managers will want to get down to brass tacks: What is the return on in­vest­ment (ROI) for water con­ser­va­tion and reuse? Sourcing, energy and disposal costs are ever in­creas­ing. Your savings will ul­ti­mately depend on how much water you use and to what extent you plan to reuse it. With water reuse, the savings are often long-term, so do not expect a 2 to 3 year payoff. One added benefit that you should consider s the market value you could capture through branding your sus­tain­abil­ity efforts:
    Water Matters 2: Con­sid­er­ing ROI
    In addition to com­ply­ing with reg­u­la­tory stan­dards, com­pa­nies will ward off bad press through sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives such as water con­ser­va­tion and reuse.

    That does it for Part 2 of Water Matters. Stay tuned for the next webinar in this series (Update: recap linked): Water Matters 3: Taking Treat­ment Up a Level, where we dive into specific treat­ment options in more detail. Until then, our door is always open! Contact us with any ques­tions: industry@cdmsmith.com.

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