Environmental Protection

How Facility Owners Can Lower their Water Footprint

Chuck Gordon, president and chief executive officer of Siemens Water Technologies, a provider of water treatment systems and services, recommends the following five tips for factory and manufacturing facility owners and operators to reduce their water footprint and start reaping the savings:

    1. Do Your Homework. Annually review your water management strategy from intake to discharge. Where it makes sense, take steps to reduce your water footprint. Ask for expert advice. There are technologies available that offer sustainable solutions for manufacturers and communities alike to treat water to virtually any specification. By doing an audit, you can identify ways to reduce your water footprint immediately. Be sure to continue to monitor your usage closely. One Web site explains how a corporation can look at their water footprint: http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=files/CorporateWaterFootprints
    2. Treat Water as a Valuable Resource. Treated water isn't free. It takes energy and technological resources to treat water. Statistics show that almost 50 percent of the world's population by 2030 will be living in areas of high water stress. So, the more tightly managed the water usage, the better.
    3. Reuse and Recycle. Capturing, treating and recycling water during the manufacturing process can reduce water use by millions of gallons per year, as well as save money. This can be achieved by looking at areas like your boiler feed water, utility water, or, in the example of a major beverage manufacturer, water used in packaging preparation. One customer was able to put new processes in place to recapture and treat the water they were using for bottle washing, ultimately saving 25,000 gallons of water a day.
    4. Reduce Waste. An effective water management strategy can help reduce waste and discharge, while also helping to meet regulatory requirements. Even taking a closer look at wastewater and identifying other uses within the facility can result in great savings. For example, a major healthcare products manufacturer recovered its waste stream and reused its feedwater, enabling it to recover more than 52 million gallons of water per year.
    5. Consider the Water/Energy Link. Energy costs account for nearly 30 percent of the operational costs at water treatment facilities. Technology advancements such as better automation, reuse technologies and waste-to-energy technologies can mean greater energy efficiencies. A major brewing company installed technology, which by converting its waste to energy, was able to save the equivalent of $500,000 in energy costs per year at a single location. So don't just look at the water use ... follow the electricity usage as well. They're more connected than you think.
More information on reducing your water footprint can be found on Siemens' Web site.

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