Helping Industrial Wastewater Meet Compliance Standards

Aug 14, 2023
 by Seven Seas News Team

Industrial wastewater treatment and reuse can now use advanced technologies to ensure compliance with effluent standards.

Advanced treatment processes can be good for sustainability as well as the bottom line

During National Water Quality Month, Seven Seas Water Group is thinking of the many valuable opportunities that industrial customers encounter along the road to regulatory compliance. As the world becomes more developed and rising populations with higher living standards cause increasing stress on our natural world, we must all do our part, including complying with stricter regulatory standards.

While it’s true that environmental regulatory compliance is a challenge for the industrial sector, the goal doesn’t have to be just a set of effluent parameters. When it’s time for repairs or upgrades to today’s advanced treatment processes, there are plenty of win-wins along the way for company bottom lines, community relationships, and ecosystems.

Industrial operations, spanning sectors such as food, beverage, and oil and gas production, can be beneficial for local economies. Nevertheless, the vitality of these economies also depends on their surrounding ecosystems and freshwater resources. If an operation pollutes excessively or uses too much fresh water, communities can suffer water shortages, public health crises, and harm to tourism and recreation. If populations choose water over industrial jobs, litigation and political resistance may follow.

Industrial Wastewater Recycling

Bringing operations into compliance means addressing discharge parameters, but if water reuse is established during the upgrades, excessive water withdrawals can also be curbed, further reducing friction with host communities.

Industrial wastewater treatment and reuse can now take advantage of advanced technologies that are:

  • Energy-efficient.
  • Tailored to specific influent parameters.
  • Compliant with exacting environmental effluent discharge regulations.
  • Compatible with internal quality control requirements for process water.

In addition to quality control, reuse also reduces the occurrence and severity of water shortages because less water must be withdrawn.

While reuse dramatically increases water efficiency, the final frontier of water productivity is in zero liquid discharge systems, which eliminate altogether the discharge of polluted industrial wastewater. They drastically lower environmental impact and use each drop of water to the nth degree.

Increasingly, membrane processes — including membrane bioreactors, reverse osmosis, microfiltration, nanofiltration, and ultrafiltration — are being used in updated treatment systems that help industry keep surrounding communities and regulators happy. In some cases, newer advanced treatment methods can speed permitting. For instance, Seven Seas’ AUC subsidiary in Texas has noted that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality tends to permit newer MBR plants in a quarter of the time it takes to permit conventional treatment plants.

Advanced Treatment for Compliance Comes with Technical Hurdles

While modern advanced treatment options are more efficient, the technical demands of keeping them performing optimally can be challenging. Keeping abreast of changes in the constantly shifting regulatory landscape is no small challenge in itself.

For this reason, arrangements that keep specialized water companies involved in long-term operations and maintenance are gaining ground. Public-private partnership, build-own-operate, and build-own-operate-transfer contracts — like those provided by Seven Seas’ Water-as-a-Service® (WaaS®) — allow industrial customers to focus on core operations while leaving compliance to water experts.

An industrial operation’s journey to compliance presents some potential stops along the way that can make the expense worthwhile, even in terms of the bottom line. Wastewater reuse can slash water costs and deliver quality control over process water, stabilize water supplies, and reduce discharges, demonstrating a clear and compelling corporate commitment to sustainability that ESG investors notice.

Contact Seven Seas Water Group to explore advanced treatment processes and the capital-optimizing WaaS® financing to deliver them and keep them compliant in the long haul.

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