Following the recent news that just 14% of England’s rivers meet EU pollution guidelines, Dave Garton, Managing Director from wastewater treatment specialists, Atana, says that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
“The Environment Agency is applying increased pressure on water companies to clean up their act, which is leading to more focus on businesses upstream that discharge trade effluent. As one of the biggest users of water and thus one of the biggest producers of wastewater, the food manufacturing sector needs to have this issue on their business risk matrix.
“The existing sewage treatment system prioritises domestic use and with house building on the rise, this leaves less capacity for industrial trade effluent producers to discharge to sewer. Increasingly, food manufacturers need to consider their own wastewater treatment operations in order to dispose of trade effluent in-line with their discharge consent.
“Each region of the UK has different capacities for sewage, but I can guarantee that most businesses in any water intensive sector do not look into this when considering a home for their operations. This is creating a pressure cooker of potential disaster. Our current sewage infrastructure simply cannot cope with demand, contributing to the current situation where pollution is finding its way into the river network.
“There are solutions to this problem, food manufacturing facilities can build their own wastewater treatment plants to a point where wastewater is cleaned to enable a degree of recycling. Recycled water can then be used for vehicle washing, cooling towers and in steam generation boilers.
“When you consider that wastewater disposal by road tanker can cost up to £25 a tonne, this should be the last resort. And, if water companies refuse to take trade effluent into their network, ROI doesn’t come into it as a business would face risk of closure. The ROI on a waste water treatment plant within current trade effluent discharge consent agreements will usually be less than 2 years; some of our recent installations have paid back within 12 months.
“If we’re going to try and improve the cleanliness of our rivers, every water intensive industry has to play its part. On-site wastewater treatment plants are therefore vital for our sector, something that must be considered when new or expanding factories are planned.”
“We all need to wake up to the fact that when things go down the drain they don’t just disappear.”
Atana is part of the WCS Group, delivering waste water treatment services to food manufacturing and other industries, focusing on improving the environmental credentials of its customers. The company design site specific equipment and provide chemical treatment with regular service and maintenance visits to ensure a business complies with legal trade effluent responsibilities. For more information, visit: www.Atana.co.uk.