Exploring the Role of Wastewater Treatment in ManufacturingPrioritizing water efficiency to achieve water positivity
It’s no secret that India’s manufacturing prowess is on a rapid growth trajectory and is quickly establishing its presence in global settings. With the vast magnitude of industrial activity that occurs on a daily basis, you will not be surprised to hear that India generates wastewater and sewage of up to 38354 million litres a day (MLD).
In an ideal world, every single drop of this industrial wastewater would be treated before being released back into the water cycle, however, the ground reality is somewhat lacking.
A significant difference exists between our wastewater and sewage treatment capacity and the amount of wastewater generated daily in India. Currently, our industrial sewage treatment capacity stands at 11786 MLD. This is due to an improper sewage and treatment system, signifying that a massive amount of industrial sewage remains untreated.
But how alarming is this discrepancy?
What is wastewater treatment in an industrial setting?
Water is an essential component of the manufacturing process. Several industries like the beverage, automotive, and textile industries require a lot of water for their operations. Along with these operations, water collects tons of pollutants, which need to be unloaded.
Since these pollutants are harmful, they need to be treated and converted into an effluent safe enough to be released back into water bodies. This is why recycling wastewater and absolving it of any impurities is paramount. However, the sizable discrepancy between the sewage water treatment capacity (11786 MLD) VS actual wastewater generated (38354 MLD) implies that not all wastewater gets treated before being disposed of.
The importance of wastewater treatment
Since the manufacturing sector in India accounts for 78% of the total industrial output, the wastewater generated by just manufacturing activities is significant. Wastewater can adversely affect the environment because of the harmful contaminants and chemicals in the water, which makes the treatment of wastewater necessary.
- Water-borne diseases like Cholera, E.coli, Hepatitis A, Salmonella, and other epidemic-causing diseases spread quickly when the sewage system or wastewater is not adequately treated.
- Entire ecosystems can be put into a state of imbalance because of harmful contaminants released into the water.
- The management of wastewater is a necessary solution to preventing soil degradation. Untreated water seeping into soil lowers the soil quality and can be destructive to agricultural practices.
- Industrial sewage released into water bodies directly impacts aquatic life.
- Chemicals released into water bodies raise water temperature and destroy marine life.
Industrial water quality standards & water quality monitoring programme
Increasing levels of wastewater poses a risk to the surrounding ecosystems, this is why water quality monitoring programmes become a prerequisite across industries.
The standards set by the Pollution Control Board aim to protect human life and the ecosystem from the detrimental effects of improper wastewater and sewage management.
Any water testing done as a part of the wastewater treatment plant process releases effluents that are sampled and analysed before being released into water bodies.
Non-compliance with any predetermined quality standard set would result in a penalty or ban of the manufacturing site or industrial unit as per The Prevention and Control of Pollution Act 1974.
Wastewater and sewage treatment in the manufacturing sector
Manufacturing processes require large quantities of water and hence the output of wastewater is also high. Additionally, manufacturing units are cautioned to supervise the quality of industrial water used in their processes as it could compromise the quality of the finished product.
Emerging technologies and trends make it easier for manufacturers to meet acceptable water quality standards through the process of wastewater treatment. A sewage treatment plant would use a few different types of sewage treatment equipment such as
- Ultrafiltration systems
- Vacuum evaporation and distillation
- Reverse osmosis systems
- Paper filters
- Solid bowl centrifuges
- Tramp oil separators
- Vacuum filters
All of these enable the recycling of wastewater and industrial sewage using varied methods and technology.
The HCCB way
HCCB understands the effect wastewater can have on the ecosystem and the importance of wastewater treatment. Working toward our goal of being water positive, we have undertaken several initiatives to establish water efficiency in agriculture and operations. With a high benchmark for water quality alongside effective processes, we ensure that the quality of each drop of water released back into the environment perfectly adheres to set quality standards. We've introduced a new Ultra Filtration Reverse Osmosis (UFO) system at the Effluent Treatment Plant in our Khordha factory in Odhisa to recycle wastewater and improve our Water Usage Ratio (WUR) thereby only discharging water that can sustain aquatic life.
Apart from the measures we have taken at an industrial level, we have also taken the initiative to set up a domestic ‘Wastewater Recycling Sewage Treatment Plant’ at Mahim Causeway, Mumbai, in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai. The plant will utilise the recycled water for non-domestic purposes, by making water potable, we aim to protect the environment we make contact with.
Wastewater management is a matter of global concern, its ramifications can affect the earth and all of humankind. While using different methods of wastewater treatment can get you the desired result, it is important to go beyond just mere compliance and be more proactive instead of duty-bound. This way we ensure that wastewater and sewage from manufacturing activities don't negatively impact the environment.