Making waste water
a resource

Water is a precious resource and can be taken for granted, especially on hot days when plants and gardens need to be watered and people need their drinks replenished more often.


Given the increasing threat of global warming, water scarcity is expected to become significantly worse worldwide in the near future. Governments could therefore restrict water consumption during periods of drought. Even in mid-latitude countries like France, Germany, Japan, and the US, water is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity in summer. Calls to save water and even rationing are already a reality in many countries today. This is becoming a problem for industrial operations with high water demand. In addition to this, other natural resources such as gas are becoming significantly more expensive and are of finite supply.

Fortunately, there is a solution to both of these issues.

From waste water to fresh water

Waste water arising from industrial manufacturing processes can be biologically treated and reused in production.

For example, there is a dairy company in the UK which produces high quality milk brands and relies on comprehensive water treatment at one of their production sites in England.

Its aim is to reuse as much water as possible back in the production facility and significantly reduce water consumption, discharge volumes and associated costs. This is achieved with Aquabio’s aerobic low energy Membrane Bioreactor (AMBR LE) wastewater treatment solution, whereby the waste stream produced is biologically treated to remove the pollutants before being filtered via ultrafiltration membranes, which essentially produces a suspended solids free discharge stream. This discharge stream is deemed as ‘reuse ready’ and can be put directly onto the face of a reverse osmosis system to produce a high quality softened water, which can be reused in the dairy’s factory processes.

UV radiation has also been installed to provide further disinfection and also acts as a safeguard to ensure the reuse water remains safe and of high quality.

Save energy, save the planet

Scotch whisky producer Glenmorangie uses a similar technique, which has the additional benefit of protecting the environment around the distillery. Waste water is treated utilising Aquabio’s anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor (AnMBR), which essentially treats the organics in the wastewater via anaerobic decomposition, followed by filtration via ultrafiltration membranes. As part of the anaerobic process one of the by-products produced is a methane rich biogas, which is a replacement for natural gas and is reused in Glenmorangie’s production facility to heat the copper stills used as part of the whisky making process. By converting Glenmorangie’s indigenous waste into local renewable energy, this reduces the need for external energy and saves significant costs to the business.

These two examples demonstrate the huge potential for waste water as part of sustainable management. In the future, widespread use of treatment plants could save considerable amounts of fresh water, fossil fuels, protect the environment, and alleviate water shortages in dry periods. It’s not a bad idea, and pretty much a win-win situation for people, nature, and industry.



For more information on efficient waste water treatment and to find out how it can help conserve your resources, click here.

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