South Africa is a water-stressed country and industries consume a sizeable portion of available water, while also discharging an equally sizable amount of wastewater into the natural environment, says water-treatment plant specialist Degrémont South Africa.
As a result, the company plans to relaunch its business in the local industrial process water and wastewater-treatment markets, following an absence of more than ten years from the South African market as a result of restructuring that occurred at its international headquarters.
Degrémont deputy MD Dumi Luthuli says some industries cannot reduce the water consumption required by their processes, as it would compromise the quality of their products and, as a result, the demand for industrial water-treatment solutions will grow.
He adds that, while there is scope to increase the amount of water used in industries, the biggest contribution to be made in conserving the country’s scarce water sources is to recycle and reuse industrial wastewater after proper treatment.
Degrémont has been involved in industrial process water and wastewater treatment since its inception 70 years ago. Luthuli says since then, there has been a need to service the industrial sector, mainly in the treatment of process water for cooling, washing, rinsing, steam generation and other processing applications.
“With the passage of time, authorities started imposing stricter conditions on the discharge of industrial wastewater into the environment, which created further opportunities for and encouraged the development of relevant technologies,” he explains.
The company offers industry solutions for the production of demineralised water, the treatment of drain water and effluent, the production of injection water, the recycling of water, the treatment of wastewater containing oil and hydrocarbons, the reuse of the by-products of and the treatment of waste- water and sludge.
Degrémont has customised water-treatment solutions for a variety of industries and the power, pulp and paper, petrochemicals and steel and mining industries, besides others, have implemented its technologies worldwide.
These technologies include reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodeionisation, and Degrémont has also developed a compact membrane unit (UCM) and O-Mobile solution for use by various industries.
RO, which is a well-known practice in the industry, can filter water to any degree of purity by passing it repeatedly through a filter system.
Electrodeionisation technology ionises water molecules and separates dissolved ions or impurities from water using an electrode, and t
he UCM is a modular device that combines the functions of an ultrafiltration unit and an RO unit on a single chassis for low-cost production of demineralised water from acid mine water.
Further, the O-Mobile is a rental solution that was designed mainly to cater for emergencies, long-term rental and planned shutdowns of conventional plants. The water-treatment units are either mounted on trailers or in containers. They are capable of producing between a few cubic metres an hour or several hundred cubic metres an hour of process water and treated wastewater.
“Water-treatment technologies occupy a frontline position in helping local authorities and industrial firms meet new targets for water protection and biodiversity and combat climate change,” says Luthuli.