Saving Water in industry

by Michelle Hardy-Berrington – Business Link Magazine

Wastage of water by business is both antisocial in times of drought and a waste of money.
Business Link has uncovered the following hints to help save water and improve the bottom line:

Grey water

Many business processes can make use of dirty or “grey” used water. An audit of “grey” water, and evaluating how this could be reused will often reveal significant areas for water conservation and cost savings. A variety of filtration methods is available to pre-treat grey water before it is recycled.

Cleaning tools

There are many common cleaning agents that do not require the use of buckets of water or hosepipes. Using scrapers, squeegees, brushes or hoses to clean an area can reduce the cleaning time and thus save water. Johan Erasmus from Auto Cleaning & Valet Services provides examples of water-free agents: “We use non water-based products such as paraffin, engine cleaners, solvents and foam products to clean the under-bodies and engines of vehicles,” says Erasmus.

Sprays and jets can have a dramatic impact on how much water is used. New technology allows companies to use much lower pressures, which saves water overall. “When we use water in spray jets the norm is to mix it with high air pressure to save water consumption,” says Erasmus.

Lower pressure

Amatola Water PRO, Connie Buso, recommends installing a pressure control valve in the supply system to reduce the mains pressure to a maximum of 400 kPa.

“In many cases, a pressure of only 200 kPa will be enough to operate the water fittings effectively. A pressure control valve will reduce unnecessary high flow rates from the outlets and will increase the life of fittings, washers and the hoses on appliances. A registered plumber should be consulted to advise on these possibilities as a retrofit option,” she says.

Rinsing techniques

Using counter-current rinsing can save a business large amounts of water. This system moves products through a series of tanks or rinsing stages. A product is first rinsed using dirty water and then progressively cleaner water as it moves from tank to tank.

Bathroom savers

Urinals and toilets are big water wasters – and even a small office of ten people can use hundreds of litres of water a day. Urinal water-saving technology includes hydraulic valves, passive infrared sensors, and timers which reduce water flow. Common water saving bathroom measures include dual flushing, cistern volume adjustments, spray taps, and electronic or push taps.

Rainwater harvesting

Collecting run off from large roof areas – such as warehouses, factories and large buildings – can produce hundreds of litres of water from just a short downpour. Invest in a tank large enough to collect water at the wettest time of the year.

Leaks and overflows

Provincial water utility Amatola Water attributes huge water losses to common, yet preventable, causes such as reservoir overflows, valve and tap leaks, vandalism and dilapidated infrastructure.

To minimise leaks and overflows:
• make sure overflow outlets are visible
• carry out regular checks on overflows, pipework and valves
• develop a system that reports any leaks or faults immediately
• install level sensors and on/off control systems for pumps
• install shut-off valves
• closely monitor all your meters, including sub-meters

Amatola Water offers a wide spectrum of specialist, technical and professional expertise in water technology, and is involved in some of the province’s biggest water projects.

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