Industrial Issues: The challenges facing new and existing facilities

Covering a broad range of industries with varying complex water and wastewater treatment requirements, the challenges facing the industrial sector are vast. Whether a solution is required for a brand-new facility, an existing facility that is not meeting regulatory standards or a company that wants to boost its environmental outlook beyond expectation, the solution is not always simple.

One of the biggest challenges for the industrial market is the tighter level of restrictions imposed on brand new facilities. If a company is expanding to a new site or starting afresh, connecting a new building into the national water supply network and the effluent wastewater infrastructure will always invoke more stringent limits due to the infrastructure now having to cope with an additional user.

Where an existing user may have a more lenient agreement that is a number of years old, as a newcomer there is a serious risk of penalisation dependant on how much water the facility is taking off the network, putting back into the wastewater network and also the quality of its wastewater – all of which can vary and is dependent on the local authority. East Anglia, for example, is classed as a water scarcity zone so locally there are strict limits on the amount of water a user can withdraw from the infrastructure per day.

For water and wastewater technology and service providers such as Veolia Water Technologies UK (VWT UK), the key for new facilities is to asses each customer on an individual basis and to take into account the specific local authority restrictions. This will then help ensure that the best solution is provided; whether the user is looking to reduce the amount of water they withdraw, reduce the amount of water going to drain or limit particular components present in their wastewater.

Our customers have found it invaluable to involve our expert team in the development of a new facility from the outset, as conversely, should the facility have already been designed and planning permission sought, in many cases this places restrictions on the options available.

It is also important to consider the capital costs and operating costs within the early planning stages, as while innovative solutions may be available and affordable at the outset, it is important to take into account the affordability long-term. While the latest cutting-edge solution may be operationally the most effective technology, it may not always be the best solution. Ensuring the early involvement of VWT UK, enables our experts to look at the different options and technologies available and also allows for development and advancements that the user may want to make in the future.

Another issue facing the industrial sector is how economically viable investing in wastewater treatment technologies are in individual cases. Rumours of companies accepting Environmental Agency fines as a cheaper solution to successfully managing their wastewater output are rife; however, in every case this would be frowned upon and would result in the company in question finding themselves on the Environmental Agency watch list. Again, it is essential that a wastewater technology provider is brought in as soon as possible where a facility is not meeting environmental regulatory standards to ensure that the most appropriate solution is provided.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are companies looking to get the most out of recycling their wastewater output, wishing to go above and beyond industry standard. Often, customers will have a quantity of water that is going down to drain from their facility that they wish to utilise and recycle. However, whilst it is always possible to recycle the water in some way, and that recycling should be advocated in every respect, it is important to understand that recycling does not always provide the overall cost savings that many companies expect. In many cases, providing the best service to a customer is about making sure that they understand the realities of how investing in a new technology will impact on their business and how their current solution could actually be the best solution for them in terms of cost.

At VWT UK, we strongly believe in finding the best solution for our customer, whether that is the most innovative solution or the most cost effective, we will always consider aspects like space and whether re-capturing energy or bioproducts to recycle is a valid option. Our expert team have access to a wide range of technologies, allowing them to provide the best advice and take the time to understand a customer’s needs, however simple or complex, to find the best solution.

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Kalpesh Shah

About the Author

Kalpesh Shah

Kalpesh Shah is the Industrial Sales Manager for Veolia Water Technologies UK. He started out working within internal sales in the early 90's before moving into international sales. In 2000, his focus led him into project management where he worked on a variety of complex and demanding projects with clients ranging from the NHS, Industrial and Pharmaceutical, for over a decade. He then moved into pharmaceutical business development which he did successfully until his promotion to Industrial Sales Manager. Kalpesh has 26 years of extensive experience with all types of industrial water treatment systems and processes. He is able to support his clients with the design and implementation of efficient water treatment systems using an array of technologies.