How understanding your water through organics monitoring is correlated to sustainability and ensuring product quality
The water industry is getting a lot of attention right now. It is great to see not only infrastructure but also quality, conservation and regulation in the headlines. There is a lot of passion around water, and companies are setting high standards and metrics for water efficiency as corporate drivers. We also see more interest than ever on the consumer side. Consumers are placing greater value on quality and sustainability over price, which results in the cost of quality increasing for producers. With the rising focus from both corporations and consumers, the current challenge for water professionals and water users (everyone) is to move from passion to action.
Water monitoring is a critical tool to help achieve production and sustainability goals, as well as improve process control. It is important to track the contaminants or contaminant classes that affect treatment effectiveness, product quality, or equipment assets. Being able to easily measure and consequently minimize organic contamination can help prevent product loss and gain better process understanding. Let’s look at some actions we can take.
Get more out of technology and data
New technologies have emerged to help track and treat existing and emerging contaminants. In addition, data visualization tools are increasingly used to assess trends and predict performance. Together, these analytical technologies and data visualization tools help to set corporate performance indicators. Yet, data for data collection sake is inefficient, and data are not useful without interpretation. Thus, there is a need for simple tools to turn data into action.
Ensure water is fit for purpose
There is also now a consensus that all water is one water. This means that utilities and companies must align their goals since all are sharing this single resource. However, water has a variety of uses and purposes, each with allowable quality or contamination. Treating and tracking water for its specific purpose is critical to optimizing the resource and the time, energy, and labor going into the treatment.
Track contaminants efficiently and effectively
With the increased demand on this limited resource, a tool that captures and tracks contaminants is extremely valuable to operators and facility owners and enables them to commit to actions that lead to data driven decisions. One such tool captures all organic compounds and tracks all carbon containing contaminants. Carbon readily exists in products and processes used in various industries, but is also found in contaminants of concern when these chemicals and pharmaceuticals get into the environment. Organic matter makes up the majority of contamination entering municipal treatment facilities and commonly contains plant and animal decay, as well as industrial effluents. With all these different organic compounds and contaminants, tracking them together in a sum parameter can be critical to success in productivity and compliance in many ways.
Here are some examples of various scenarios where it is beneficial to monitor organics to meet quality and/or compliance requirements:
- Drinking water from a river needs to meet specific criteria for human health.
- Wastewater discharge from a chemical factory needs to not harm the environment.
- Boiler feedwater at a beverage facility needs to not damage equipment and not contain product.
- Ultrapure water at a semiconductor fab needs to be free of organic acids or bases that could affect chip manufacturing.
Align with real-world challenges
Here are some examples of various scenarios where it is beneficial to monitor organics to meet quality and/or compliance requirements
1. Drinking water from a river needs to meet specific criteria for human health.
2. Wastewater discharge from a chemical factory needs to not harm the environment.
3. Boiler feedwater at a beverage facility needs not damage equipment and not contain product.
4. Ultrapure water at a semiconductor fab needs to be free of organic acids or bases that could affect chip manufacturing.
Knowing and understanding water’s purpose makes the step from driver to action much simpler. ‘Following the carbon’ by tracking different organic compounds and contaminants throughout a process enables companies to answer the question of what their water is telling them. This applies across many industries and applications, including drinking water, beverage manufacturing, power generation, steam production, and ultrapure water in semiconductor manufacturing.
We have a finite amount of water that is needed for countless purposes, so it is imperative that we understand and optimize water quality to ensure it is fit for use and best used. The more we can connect drivers and passions for sustainability and environmental compliance with meaningful monitoring data, the better we can deliver on our commitments and improve our use of this universal resource.
Learn more about the carbon monitoring and actions you can take and how SUEZ can help here.
*This article was originally published in the September/October 2021 issue of Water Technology.