The future of Mobile Water Recycling in the Industry

21/01/2021

This article was written by Mr. Helmut Burger (Business Development at REPROTEX) and is a part of the EWJI Yearbook 2020.

In the last decade climate change has become a global topic and international organizations as well as national governments intensively deal with this topic.

On European level Ursula van Leyen, president of the European Commission, presented Green Deal as the pivotal initiative for reaching the ambitious aim of making Europe climate neutral in 2050.

“A zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment” is in that respect a clear defined measure, which covers also water- and wastewater- management.

Therefore water gains a center stage in future EC environmental politics and is considered as a finite precious resource.

In the “EC Report on the Review of Water Scarcity and Droughts Policy” one can find a number of interesting figures on future water shortage all over Europe:

  • Water scarcity affects at least 11% of EU’s population and 17% of EU’s territory
  • Around the Mediterranean region over 50% of the population is affected by water stress in summer
  • By 2030 water stress and scarcity will probably affect half of Europe’s river basins

These developments will definitely not stop in front of the European water jetting industry and therefore as conclusions for the industry could be considered:

  • Risen public awareness for all water topics,
  • The significance for water-treatment und water-reuse will further increase,
  • Legislation dealing with these topics are to be expected sooner or later.

Within the last thirty years high pressure technology has found its way into a wide range of industries and applications: concrete repair, de-coating, surface preparation, industrial cleaning, runway maintenance, tunnel-cleaning are some examples, where this technology is appreciated due to the operating and economical efficiency.

As water is the most important supply in the working process, it is necessary to consider the future handling of water as resource on the one hand and dealing with wastewater as an environmental threat respectively as a huge expense factor for disposal on the other hand.

Unfortunately the discussion within the jetting industry has considered the topic water treatment as a burden, that only causes additional operating costs.

The future approach therefore must be a different one: wastewater treatment has to be a benefit for both, environmental benefits, as well as economical benefits.

Wastewater coming from water jetting units in fixed industrial plants is usually be treated in industrial wastewater treatment plants. In this case a reuse in a closed loop is not crucial.

However, mobile applications with no access to fresh water and a sewage system are usually challenged.

They often have to deal with complicated solutions for delivery of fresh water and disposal of wastewater combined with high costs for transport.

As the problem-solving approach for these mobile applications must be considered a closed loop direct on site, where the treated wastewater goes back to the high-pressure pump and is used instead of fresh water as a recycled resource.

Mobility, covering different wastewater qualities and meeting the requirements of the pump producers are the central challenges for such mobile devices.

A mobile and flexible solution means, that the unit easily can be moved to a site, get installed there and after end of operations moved further to the next site.

For this purpose a container-mounted solution can be recommended and is already standard.

Composition, quality and amount of wastewater basically differs depending on the application of UHP water jetting in the above listed industries.

Additionally it has to be considered, that in some applications there might occur persistent organic and metallic pollutants in the wastewater.

As an answer to this challenge a treatment technology combining a chemical and physical treatment makes sense.

Complementary further state-of-the-art treatment technologies (e.g. activated carbon filters) can be used.

In order to avoid damages caused by the recycled wastewater, the requirements concerning the water quality given by the pump producers have strictly be observed.

Currently there are only a few systems on the market, which can fulfill the above described standards.

In respect of the introductory mentioned trends undoubtedly the future demand for mobile wastewater treatment systems will further increase.

Within the EWJI therefore a working group ENVIRONMENT has been established, where also water recycling will be a central issue.

Trends and legal requirements should there be identified and discussed, as well as the technical dialogue between the different equipment producers be intensified.