Wednesday, May 31, 2023
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Water Treatment: Go Clean Go Green

Tristan Hughes is Business Development Manager at specialist supplier OSSO

Daily along the river bank, Canal, lake, beach walks—they’re routines many of us are familiar with during the lengthy COVID-19 lockdown. And I believe they have given us a greater understanding of the local aquatic environment – a new understanding of its value and the importance of protecting it.

Adding to the growing global recognition that freshwater is a limited resource that must be respected, and it is clear that as companies look at how best to manage wastewater generated in their operating practices, there are some Fundamental social changes affect them.

Of course, it is the responsibility of any construction company or site owner to ensure that wastewater exits the site through sewers or surface waterways to established standards. But there are other motivating factors at play, often directly reflecting changes in public perception.

The principle of “zero harm to the environment” adopted by regulatory bodies is increasingly accepted for on-site water management. Companies, including those in the supply chain, also increasingly need to develop ESG strategies and implement them into their day-to-day activities.

Violation of the law

Then there are the consequences of violating environmental laws. You only have to look back a few years to find out that the maximum fine for polluting the environment is around £50,000. That has now changed. Today, sentencing guidelines allow judges to impose fines based on factors such as the company’s turnover, type of pollution and degree of negligence.

Earlier this year, a homebuilder was fined more than £400,000 for illegal discharges from a development site into a Welsh river.

It is in this context that we are seeing strategic water resource management planning become more common – where it is already – as part of the preparation phase of construction projects.

Although it is often seen as a drain on development resources, it is increasingly meaningful in modern operating environments. In addition to helping companies sidestep water treatment-related issues that can arise in a short period of time and affect project schedules, they also help protect business reputations.

“As part of the preparation phase of construction projects, we are seeing strategic water management planning becoming more common”

Likewise, many tender documents now require construction companies – from prime contractors to supply chain companies – to disclose any past links to pollution-related incidents. Therefore, if future business growth plans do not meet the requirements in practice, they may be harmed.

It will be interesting to watch in the coming period to what extent effective wastewater management climbs up the list in the context of the broader health, safety and environmental agenda. The welfare of on-site personnel is of course the top priority, and in the environmental field, issues such as reducing carbon footprint are also of great concern. However, based on the drivers I summarized above, we may be more concerned with protecting the immediate natural environment.

When you walk to any construction site, there will usually be a panel stating how many days it has cleared of safety-related incidents. It’s great to see the same group also documenting the site’s local environmental performance.

What action can we take?

So, what can companies actually do now to achieve these goals?

Tankers have been the most common solution for many years, but it can be an expensive and inefficient option. The number of tanker movements often involved represents an environmental disadvantage, as does local noise pollution and the potential for increased road congestion.

“As always, alternatives come from innovative thinking”

As always, alternatives come from innovative thinking. Our specialist department is no different from other departments in exploring new ways to help clients meet their obligations. In our case, we looked at how to improve the process of removing suspended solids from sewage, which is discharged after being treated on-site.

We did this by developing a solution, an automatic metering feature that measures the actual dirtiness of the water, and then doses chemical reagents proportionally based on flow and dirtiness. Dosing trigger points can be set to reflect relevant discharge measures, eliminate unnecessary chemical use when water is already below required standards, and ensure that only optimal levels are dosed when necessary.

This is an example of how the construction industry supply chain can adapt and improve on traditional technologies, when the need for accountability comes from a variety of sources – customers, employees, local communities, etc.

I think we are doing our part to contribute to the robust and efficient wastewater management of modern industry – which brings us closer to where we see construction sites continue and proudly display The days of excellent local environmental protection statistics are closer

Learn more about OSSO, a professional fluid temperature control and separation solutions provider.



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