Is Industrial Water Treatment Essential?

What is the problem with water hygiene?

Water connects every aspect of life. Access to safe water and sanitation can astutely transform a problem into potential. Today, 771 million people – 1 in 10 – lack access to safe water; and 1.7 billion people – 1 in 4 – lack access to a toilet.

Safe drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are fundamental to improving the standards of living for people. The improved standards made possible by WASH include better physical health, protection of the environment, better educational outcomes, convenient time savings, assurance of lives lived with dignity, and equal treatment for both men and women.

Poor and vulnerable populations have lower access to improved WASH services and have poorer associated behaviours. On a macro scale, therefore, improved WASH is central to reducing poverty, promoting equality, and supporting socio-economic development.

Chemical contamination of water continues to pose a threat to global health, whether the contamination is natural in origins, such as arsenic and fluoride - or anthropogenic such as nitrate. It is advised, therefore, that people and businesses consult professional industrial water treatment solutions to improve their levels of water hygiene.

What is the Problem with Water hygiene?

Most providers of industrial water treatment solutions are designed around specific treatment goals and applications. Therefore, the process may vary from one installation to the next. Nevertheless, the following steps demonstrate how an industrial water treatment solution will normally work:

1. Intake

Raw water is drawn into a plant through gravity and/or pumps. It is then passed through a metal grate or mesh screen as a means of preventing large objects from entering the system.

2. Clarification

The water then continues clarification. Clarification is a multistep process used to remove solids from a solution. It begins with the process of coagulation. Coagulation is the process where chemical and/or PH adjustments cause particles to clump together.

This process is then followed by flocculation, which involves applying physical tension as a means of encouraging the formation of larger particles.

After these processes have taken place, there is a sedimentation step – where the stream flows to a gravity settler that allows solids to settle to the bottom in what is known as a sludge blanket. Finally, the water is filtered through a gravity sand filter, which traps any small particles that didn’t settle out.

3. Disinfection

If biological contamination and/or water drinkability is a concern, the water may then be disinfected to remove any pathogens. Disinfection may be achieved by applying chemical disinfectants (e.g. chlorine), physical disinfectants (e.g. UV or heat), and membrane filtration.

4. Lime softening

In some cases, a lime softening step may be added to reduce the hardness of water in streams with high mineral or sulphate content. The process involves the application of lime or lime soda to raise the pH of the stream, which in turn encourages mineral constituents to precipitate out of solution.

5. Ion exchange (IX)

In some cases, the raw water treatment system may include an IX unit for hardness removal instead. In IX softening, a stream is directed through a strong acid cation resin that is ‘charged’ with sodium. As the water flows though, the resin captures the hardness-causing calcium or magnesium ions, whilst also releasing the sodium ions into the stream.

6. Distribution

Following treatment, the water is directed for use elsewhere in the facility.

7. Membrane filtration

As microfiltration (MF), ultrafiltration (UF), and nanofiltration (NF) systems have become more affordable in the last few decades, they are increasingly being used in place of conventional technologies such as clarification and lime softening.

Assessor carrying out water risk assessment for legionella

What are the benefits of industrial water treatment?

Rids potential diseases

Industrial water treatment solutions eliminate disease-causing bacteria and kills harmful organisms. The treatment filters out contaminants before the wastewater leaves the tank and re-enters the ground. In doing so, the filtering process aids in preventing diseases from entering the water source or reaching plants and farm animals.

Low-cost

Industrial water treatment solutions can last for up to 15 years if they are maintained correctly. Treatment solutions provide a cost-effective treatment of water and preventing unwanted bacteria. There are many grants and other forms of financial aids available now to help you with the cost of purchasing an industrial water treatment solution.

Minimal odour emissions

Unlike earlier systems, modern industrial water treatment solutions emit minimal odours. Something which often puts people off investing in a septic tank, or similar systems, is because they could not stand the odours that would protrude. With modern systems, once they are cared for correctly, odours are not an issue.

Little maintenance

Modern industrial water treatment solutions require very little maintenance and last much longer than the older models. Depending on the user’s usage, a septic tank may only need de-sludging every 2 or so years, with maintenance inspections every 2-3 years. It is good practice to conduct your own inspections in between as a means of identifying tell-tale signs of problems before they worsen.

Breaks down solids faster

Most modern industrial water treatment solutions are aerobic systems which can break down solids much faster than old systems. Blockages therefore become less of an issue; de-sludging is required less frequently and less solids contaminate the groundwater and drainage field.

Less wasteful

Modern industrial water treatment solutions do not waste water as much as main lines. There is no excess of wastewater having to be treated for just one use of the toilet or one load of laundry. In such cases, the water used is returned directly back into the earth and filtered through natural processes.

Buying an industrial water treatment solution has become more feasible in modern times, and developments in technology allow modern systems to be more eco-friendly, economical, and easier to maintain in comparison to previous models.

Water connects every aspect of life. As highlighted previously, the world is in a water hygiene crisis - 771 million people lack access to safe water; and 1.7 billion people lack access to a toilet. Without such amenities, people are not able to benefit from better physical health, protection of the environment, better educational outcomes, convenience time savings, assurance of dignity, and equal treatment for both men and women.

To combat such issues, people have begun to consult industrial water treatment solutions as a means of ridding potential diseases, with machines that are low-cost, have minimal odour emissions, little maintenance, and produces less waste. Companies now take responsibility for their actions and their staff, and are helping to promote big external changes, by first making internal changes.

If this is a service that you would like to know more about, there are plenty of providers across the West Midlands such as WaterCare who would be able to help.

Learn more about water treatment

We help dutyholders and responsible persons across the UK manage their water treatment. If you're responsible for H&S at your workplace, send an enquiry using the form below and we'll discuss how we can help. It'll be another task off your mind.