Veolia Water Technologies: World Water Week 2019

To support World Water Week (25th to 30th August) and spread the message about the responsible and innovative use of water, we are looking at what can be done to minimise the waste of this precious resource.

With populations growing, water demand has been increasing steadily for decades. Statistics from the United Nations show that currently more than 2 billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress and nearly two-thirds of the world population (about 4 billion people) experience severe water scarcity during at least one month of the year.

However, the UN’s World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) has determined that there is sufficient water for everyone, providing changes are made to how it is currently managed, used and shared.

One way that this can be achieved is by helping industries to reduce the levels of fresh water required for their processes by recovering and reusing water. For example, one of the major costs in milk processing is water and it is estimated that the average UK dairy uses 1.3 litres of water for every litre of milk processed. If this waste water can be captured and reused it significantly reduces the amount of mains water that is being used – lowering the environmental impact of the process. It also lowers costs for the dairy as often the recovered water is cheaper than the fresh mains water. An example of this is the Robert Wiseman facility in Bridgewater, one of the UK’s most advanced dairies. Veolia Water Technologies installed a MegaRO™ system to recover 200m3 per day of the process wastewater to replace the mains water in the Clean in Place (CIP) system.

An alternative approach, alongside reusing the water, is to process the wastewater to provide renewable energy for the facility and lower the carbon footprint of the operations. In many food and drink production processes it is possible to create high quality biogas from the effluent that can be used as a fuel. For example, the £150 million Arla Process and Packaging Facility in Aylesbury was designed as a demonstration of sustainable development, advanced process technologies and renewable energy solutions with the target of achieving a zero-carbon facility with zero waste to landfill.

Veolia installed a Memthane® wastewater treatment solution alongside an additional rainwater harvesting system. Memthane® is an Anaerobic Membrane Bio-Reactor (AnMBR) which maximises renewable energy production and produces superb quality effluent that can be reused within the site. Developed by Veolia subsidiary Biothane, it offers a small footprint solution that reduces the costs of waste product disposal whilst generating valuable biogas that lowers the environmental and financial impact of powering the facility.


Veolia Water Technologies, both separately and as part of the Veolia group, is helping to make the most of limited resources in the UK and across the world.

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Mike Froom

About the Author

Mike Froom

Mike has worked in the Construction Industry for nearly 35 years, joining Veolia Water Technologies 25 years ago. He has held a number of senior commercial and operational positions for VWT over the years and has been Business Development Director since 2005. Mike has also been a Non Executive Director of British Water and past Chair of the UK Forum helping to represent the interests of British Water members and contribute on key industry issues.