Industrial Wastewater Treatment: From Waste to Resource

As the scarcity of water becomes a more pressing issue and with rising concerns over the environment and the stringent compliance, legislative and environmental regulations against discharge and pollution—industries are under increasing pressure to recycle and reuse their water.

Water—the most fundamental of natural resources—is running out. And not just in South Africa, but also in the Middle East, Namibia, USA, and now, even Europe. Around the world, 2 billion people already have no safe access to drinking water, and by 2050, it’s projected that 5.7 billion people will live in water-starved cities and areas.

Globally, industry draws up to 40% of all water available and is one of the leading contributors to industrial wastewater. Yet, according to the U.N. World Water Development Report, over 80% of industrial wastewater is released back to nature untreated, which ends up polluting our oceans, dams, rivers, lakes, and groundwater supplies.

The United Nations has been drawing attention to the global threat of water scarcity for the last 25 years – and with the world population about to take a giant leap to over 9 billion by 2050, the world will need 55% more water and 70% more energy. Simply put, industries can no longer afford the waste of such a precious resource.

“In a world where the demand for water continues to grow, and the resource is finite, wastewater, once treated, can help meet the needs for freshwater as well as for raw materials for energy and agriculture.” – The United Nations Report

Tapping an Untapped Resource Generates Economic Benefits

As water famine, extreme weather patterns, population, and water costs rise, water-starved industries around the world are slowly waking up to Water Resource Recovery. Wastewater itself is an additional source of water and a valuable resource from which energy and nutrients can be extracted —even the term wastewater is an oxymoron.

Wastewater Can Generate Revenue and Power Communities and Towns
In industry, wastewater is increasingly being viewed as a valuable resource rather than a burden, with recycling and reuse now the staple for tackling water, energy shortages, and generating energy.

Besides harvesting minerals and nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrates from wastewater for secondary revenue streams, recycled wastewater produces biogas, which could power wastewater treatment facilities and local towns and communities.

Reduce Usage, Costs and Environmental Damage

Reclaiming and reusing wastewater is fast becoming an invaluable resource for many industry players. Apart from generating power and revenue, properly processed wastewater reduces water consumption and costs, cuts down the amount of pollution going into waterways, and improves compliance with environmental regulations.

Anglo-American New Vaal Colliery Produced 30 Billion Litres of Water in 8 Years

While most developing countries lack the infrastructure and finances to take advantage of this resource, countries like Singapore, Australia, the USA, Namibia, and even South Africa are already drinking recycled water and using it for agricultural irrigation.

In South Africa, Anglo-American’s New Vaal Colliery Water Plant uses NuWaters high-performing patented reverse osmosis membrane technology, and their ultra and micro-filtration and membrane bioreactor technologies. The New Vaal Colliery Water Plant has produced over 30 billion litres of water in 8 years of operation.

Singapore Bedok ‘NEWater Factory’ Produces 55 million Litres a Day
Nuwater’s high performing patented Reverse Osmosis Membrane Technology is also in use at Singapore PUB’s premier water reclamation plant, the Bedok ‘NEWater Factory’. This plant reclaims 55 million litres a day of high-quality water from secondary sewerage water for reuse by industry and by people.

Reclaiming 55 million litres a day of high-quality water from secondary sewage water for reuse by industry and by people, Singapore’s water is of such a high quality that they use much of it in the manufacture of sensitive electronic wafers.

Also, Singapore has developed a national water education strategy through its water agency, the Public Utilities Board (PUB), to ensure water management is a collective responsibility of all its citizens.

DrivingTechnology Forward to Improve Energy Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness

The right to clean, drinking water is non-negotiable, and as an industry and a country, we must use fresh water responsibly, recycle wastewater cost-effectively, and reuse water resourcefully. But not all wastewater requires drinking water quality treatment, but rather to a level where it is safe to use by industries, municipalities, agriculture, or for cooling in power plants.

NuWater understands that many businesses necessitate smaller, decentralized wastewater treatment operations to meet their use, which is why we make our award-winning technologies and expertise accessible to as broad a range of customers as possible.
Focussing on minimising the impact on the environment and empowering communities and industries, we provide smart ‘fit for purpose’ wastewater treatment solutions that create a sustainable supply of high-quality water.

Delivering projects across the entire water cycle that balance social, economic and environmental priorities, we address South Africa’s water-energy nexus by pushing technology forward to improve water management systems, while maintaining energy efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

We Provide Smart ‘Fit for Purpose’ Wastewater Treatment Solutions
NuWater has built a wealth of experience through successful projects delivered to date, earning the trust of customers such as Anglo-American and Gold Fields. While much of our patented and other proprietary technology is used in large-scale projects throughout the globe and within the South African mining and municipal industries, our smaller, mobile units used in the Northern Cape reduce rising levels of wastewater in evaporating ponds, and in Namibia to recharge freshwater supplies for rural communities.

With short, medium and long-term wastewater treatment rentals available that are ideal for emergencies and crisis management, location-specific work, and projects of all sizes—NuWater is championing the face of modern industrial wastewater treatment.