The main challenges faced by the industry with respect to water are those of securing adequate supply for what is a water-intensive process and ensuring that contamination of water sources is addressed where it occurs. Where the water resource has diminished, a worsening of water quality has normally followed because there is less water to dilute pollutants. In addition, salt water increasingly intrudes into coastal aquifers. Climate change will almost certainly exacerbate these adverse impacts in the future, with more frequent and severe droughts expected across Europe. To circumvent any water related problems, companies are implementing water conservation strategies, examining water reclaim and reuse opportunities, re-engineering their water-using processes, and investigating alternative water sources.
Operators across several industries in Europe have already worked with temporary water treatment service providers to implement a flexible solution to issues arising from seasonal or unexpected changes to a facility’s raw water/ feed water supply. Typical applications include treatment of high chloride and high conductivity, suspended solids, high microbiological, high organics, and alternative feed supplies.
Speedy solution saves the tourist season
One example is a small coastal municipality in Spain. This municipality of 1,000 inhabitants, which sees its population multiplied by 10 in the summer, suffered in 2018 the worst drought of the last 20 years. The lack of rainfall resulted in an increase in chloride concentration at a level of 700 mg/L. This was due to saltwater intrusion into the freshwater aquifer, which under normal conditions supplies the municipality with drinking water. Had the concentration of chloride reached 800 mg/L, the water would no longer have been suitable for consumption, and the municipality would have had to contact the Health Department.
Forced to take emergency measures, the municipality contracted Veolia in July for the provision of a mobile plant equipped with a MORO 4x25T reverse osmosis technology to treat the aquifer. The mobile unit was supplied and installed in record time. At the beginning of August, the unit which is equipped with four reverse osmosis modules with a total production capacity of 100 cubic meters per hour began treating the aquifer to reduce conductivity by up to 40%, achieving chloride concentrations between 400 and 500 mg/L. By using a temporary mobile water system, the municipality ensured regulatory compliance, and mitigated economical and reputational risks during the tourist season.
Modular solutions mitigate drought impacts
A multinational oil and gas company faced a shortfall of water that could impact their production. Due to a persistent drought, the local water utility company had to limit the water supply to the company in order to secure the drinking water supply for the local population.
As a result, additional raw water volumes from other sources were required so that the company’s power plant and processes could be adequately supplied. Due to their quality, the different sources had to be treated accordingly. Veolia provided a mobile filtration unit MOFI 4×10 as sand filter, two mobile filtration units MOFI 1200 GAC with active carbon, and a mobile reverse osmosis MORO 25 C. For the oxidation of various ingredients as well as disinfection, a mobile dosing station with chlorine was used.
Awareness is key
There are numerous benefits that mobile water services can bring to utilities and industrial manufacturers facing the challenge of water scarcity. A distinct shift in outlook is necessary to help companies to transition from being vulnerable to a shortfall of water, to being fully prepared in the face of this pressing issue. As awareness grows, we can expect to see more mobile water services being implemented, supporting financial planning, ensuring business continuity and helping to maintain resilient and effective water treatment plants in a water scarce world.