There's no doubt that we can all be guility of taking water for granted. It's no surprise living on an island out in the Atlantic and let's be honest, isn't the stuff falling from the sky half of the time anyway?
However, pharmaceutical, biotech, research and chemical laboratories, universities, hospital's and clinical facilities, as well as food and beverage manufactures, simply would not operate without a continual source of Pure Water upon which their operations depend. To them the availability of a reliable source of quality water is critical.
With the arrival of Carbon taxes and consumer groups that demand the highest ethical standards there has never been more pressure on industry to account for their impact on the world around them.
Traditional methods, although highly effective have now been advanced by new innovative methods that not only produce the highest quality results in shorter timescales, but now enable the end user to dramatically reduce any negative by-products. For example, organic scavengers and multimedia that were used up to now have been surpassed by Ultra Filtration, as a means of pre-treating water.
Ultrafiltration(UF) is essentially a pressure-driven barrier to suspended solids, bacteria, viruses, endotoxins and other pathogens to produce water with very high purity. This has driven down both cost and the waste produced.
Reverse Osmosis is a membrane separation process used to purify water. In reverse osmosis, pressure is applied to force water through a semi permeable membrane, while leaving impurities on the feed side of the membrane. The membrane allows the permate (water) to pass through but retains a large percentage of impurities such as dissolved inorganic, organic, bacteria and pyrogens.
Deionisation systems require two resins-a cation resin to remove cationic impurities such as calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, and an anion resin to remove the anions which are mainly bicarbonates, chlorides, sulphates and nitrates.
The hydrogen ions released from the cation resin combine with the hydroxl ions from the anion resin to form water, which replaces the impurities that were originally present in the water. Hydrochloric acid (HCL) is used to regenerate cation resin. The'H' ions displace the'impurity cations and return the resin, the'OH' groups of regenerant displacing the anionic impuriies and return the resin to the hydroxyl from.
Continuous Electro Deionization (CEDI) which is a chemical-free technology that significantly reduces ions in water. It utilies ion exchange resins that are continuously regenerated by an electrical current. EDI modules, also call "stacks" consist of cell pairs with each pair containing an anode at one end and a cathode at the other.
Veolia Water Technologies Technical Director, Martin Phelan explained that companies are not going the'Green' route simply for the sake of the planet, "All these new innovative solutions that are coming online bring with them numerous tangible benefits that not only make environmental sense but can make dramatic impacts on the balance sheets of customers, a factor in today's economic environment tht really accelerates the decision process." Today the goal is system design that delivers 'Zero Discharge'.
"These customers are under pressure to reduce their water usage and wastewater production because they are being charged for both", says Martin. "We can help by retrofitting older systems with the most innovative technologies. More often than not we can drive down their cost, reduce the loading on their waste licences and even reduce the footprint of older systems thus giving them more space in which to operate."
The Irish operations of multinational companies as well as indigenous companies are faced with the most competitive world market ever. "We saw this happening in our own markets and we knew we had to react. We decided to invest in ways to help drive down the cost of their production, implementing Recycle, Reuse, Recovery programmes that increase their efficiency and utlimately assist in making customers's operations more efficient."