Elisabeth Lisican is editor-in-chief of Water & Wastes Digest. Lisican can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1012.
It’s hard to believe it’s 2013—not just because all of the 2012 doomsday predictions proved false, but also because the simple fact that we are already 13 years into the 21st century is awe-inspiring.
Another year gone by reminds us of how rising concerns about water scarcity are growing in significance across a great number of regions, especially in areas susceptible to drought and water shortages. Diminishing water supply is detrimental to the bottom line of industries reliant on high-quality process water. The new year provides industries with the chance to re-evaluate potential water shortage risks and gain greater water security by implementing strategies that facilitate higher water efficiency and ensure compliance with ever-changing regulations.
Oil and gas companies, for example, are increasingly working with third parties to recycle water used in drilling operations. Colorado State University and Noble Energy, for instance, have partnered for the next two years with a $1.4-million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop ways to treat and recycle water used in oil and gas drilling in Weld County, Colo.
In the chemical manufacturing industry, more plants are adapting new ways to recycle water from waste streams for reuse in plant processes. Doing so will allow them to mitigate their water shortage risks and become less dependent on raw water supplies.
The food and beverage industry is becoming more future-oriented, remaining positive toward innovation and technological upgrades that enhance water management, according to new research from Frost & Sullivan. Analysts said advanced water treatment solutions for closed-loop systems are gaining ground, as they support lower operational costs and mitigate the effects of increasing water prices.
The research also showed that the trend of water reuse practices is expected to push further developments and improvements in water recycling technologies, especially in the water-stressed regions of North America and Asia-Pacific. Opportunities for design and engineering are therefore likely to expand as industrial customers increasingly turn to solution providers to improve their operational efficiency and meet stricter environmental standards.
Revised rules governing effluent guidelines for the steam electric power industry, for example, are scheduled to be released from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by April 19, 2013. That industry is keeping a watchful eye on new discharge limits for mercury and selenium in flue gas desulfurization wastewater.
There has never been a better time to tout sustainable technologies across the board. It’s time for a lucky ’13. The future is here, and the new year will undoubtedly bring a slew of new projects that will propel industrial water and wastewater management further along. I, for one, am looking forward to the ride.