Basic checks and balances to save time and money

Basic checks and balances to save time and money

In our experience Water, Waste and Wastewater problems arise and costs increase where basic checks and balances have been overlooked or not acted upon.

“If you don’t measure it you cannot manage it”

  • ECOS works with our clients to ensure that avoidable problems can be avoided.
  • The potential cost saving benefits to the client can often be substantial and sometimes the difference between viability and failure.
  • Sometimes it is very easy:
    • €50k/yr inventory saving based on a single observation relating to a wastestream. 
    • €100k Cap Ex Saving & €20k per annum Nett Op Ex savings in relation to a water management plan.
    • €45k/year saving on inventory and waste disposal through review of canteen activity at Multi-National site.

The following summary pointers were initially drafted for a wastewater treatment plant project.  However, the principles may be applied to many scenarios and have been demonstrated to save resources, time and money and generate additional value.

Mass Balances

  • It is good practice to carry out ongoing mass balances.
  • Such exercises should be devised to suit the particular characteristics and requirements of a given operation.
  • Where other materials (e.g. solvents, metals, specific toxic organic and inorganic substances) have the potential to adversely affect the operation of the wastewater treatment plant, they should also be tracked using mass balance techniques.

Water Balance

  • Minimisation of water use is desirable in any industrial facility to conserve water resources, for cost minimisation, for effective process operation and for wastewater volume reduction. A typical water balance for a production facility might be as follows.

(Water In) = (Water Out) + (Water Consumption) + (Water Losses)

  • In order to keep a record of the water balance, all inputs and outputs should be metered.
  • If the inputs and outputs do not correspond, there must be some unidentified water uses or losses (e.g. leaks).

Wastewater Balance

  • It is critical for the successful operation of a treatment plant to have accurate information concerning the volume being handled.
  • A simple water balance around the plant should be recorded daily.
  • A typical balance might be as follows.

(Influent) + (Water added) = (Effluent) + (Water in sludge)

Solids Balance

  • Many wastewater treatment plants utilise the activated sludge process.
  • To satisfactorily manage this process it is necessary to continually monitor suspended solids (S.S., MLSS, MLSS, RAS, WAS).
  • The objective of the materials balance is to determine the amount of new biomass that is created.
  • This information is needed in order to establish a record of the Sludge Age – a very important plant monitoring parameter.
  • Where problems arise which are outside the competence of on-site personnel to solve, expert outside assistance should be promptly sought.

For more information on how to optimise Water, Waste or Wastewater please contact us.

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