Background

While Recycling Wastewater – I (Water Vartalaap issue, dated May, 2017) discussed the dire impact that water scarcity is causing the world over, ‘Recycling wastewater II’ looks ahead and highlights certain initiatives undertaken by government and private players to help assuage this problem.

At a macro level, the Indian government has started paying attention to the provision of essential service like water including adopting new and innovative means to replenish this critical resource. Water, wastewater and solid waste management are recognized as key components of the Urban Management Program of 2016 to build capacity of the State Governments and Urban Local Bodies in these areas. However, it appears unlikely that the government would be able to solve all problems (of providing water and treating wastewater) single-handedly, therefore private sector participation may become important. Fortunately, the requirement to treat wastewater for reuse is slowly gaining momentum and many companies have ventured into the wastewater treatment i.e. Thermax, VA Tech, Siemens, Ion Exchange and others.

Goal

As an environmentally responsible organization, WaterHealth (whose traditional forte has been community water purification) has also entered the area of wastewater management by launching ‘greywater’ recycling at the Company’s corporate office in Hyderabad. Greywater is wastewater sans sewage/toilet waste and is generated mostly from sources like reverse osmosis (RO) equipment, sinks, showers, baths, washers, floor cleaning etc. Black water on the other hand includes toilet/sewage water (with fecal and chemical contaminants) and industrial waste.

WaterHealth premises have a water purification unit that employs RO+UV technologies to treat water, daily reject water (after a 60% recovery rate) is about 25,000 litres. Earlier the entire water from the RO+UV reject (essentially grey water) was flushed out unproductively however in 2015 the Company laid out a Goal (for itself) to become a ‘zero liquid discharge (ZLD)’ Company i.e. WaterHealth will not discharge any waste water into the sewage drain line but use every drop of water productively.

Challenge(s)

In order to meet its ZLD goal, WaterHealth had to not only treat the reject water from the kitchen and washrooms but also the large amount of RO reject generated every day from the water treatment plant. The problem was compounded further because the RO reject water generally has high TDS and salinity which leads to scaling and corrosion of pipes and sanitary ware.

Solution

In order to resolve the challenges indicated above,

i. WaterHealth treats the RO reject water before reusing it; the treatment involves running the reject water stream through a softener and subsequently through another RO treatment process. The recycling process significantly improves the quality of water (by decreasing hardness and salinity) and makes it fit for reuse.

ii. The reject water from this treatment is used in gardens and landscaping within the Corporate office, note the vegetation (in the Company premises) comprises of hardy plants which can consume and thrive on high TDS and salty water.

iii. In future, WaterHealth is planning to recycle black water through innovative treatment techniques and use the treated water not just for utility but also for drinking water use. Overtime the Company plans to not only conserve water but also generate biogas from this process.

Conclusion

WaterHealth will be happy to provide a free quality report of the water currently used by any subscriber of this newsletter. Interested enterprises can reach WaterHealth to discuss and implement ways of ensuring wastewater recycling within their premises. Simple beginnings through such measures will go a long way in ensuring effective wastewater management.

Interested corporates can contact us at skaran@waterhealth.com/9295029956 for free water quality reports and to discuss suitable ways for wastewater recycling.

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