Helping industries comply with EREP requirements

Eimco Water Technologies-AJM Environmental Services (EWT-AJM) has opened a dedicated office in Victoria to serve the rapidly growing needs of industry for wastewater treatment plants that effectively treat their effluent and reduce water usage.

The new EWT-AJM office in Mt Waverley is headed by business development manager, Brian Dorian, whose role includes helping industry cope with water costs and effluent disposal costs that are both expected to double over the next five years.

According to Dorian, a large immediate issue for Victorian industry is the State government’s Environment and Resource Efficiency Plans (EREP), implemented in 2008, which make tough environmental demands on industry.

“There are about 250 industrial sites in Victoria that use more than 120 ML of water a year. These must register with the EPA, prepare a plan to reduce water use and waste generation, and implement those actions that can be shown to pay for themselves within three years,” said Dorian, whose company’s advanced water treatments include tertiary processes involved in water recycling.

The types of industry that will be required to comply with the new requirements include food and beverage manufacturers and processors such as meat abattoirs, where a lot of water is used for washing down, disinfecting and cleaning, and where effluents may include fats, blood or protein matter.

An effluent discharge licence in Victoria could typically be costing a company $200,000 per year in fees, so if a wastewater treatment plant that costs $300,000 over three years reduces these licence fees to less than $75,000 per year, then the company is obligated by the EREP to go ahead and install such a plant.

Aside from the specific requirements of the EREP, industry faces steeply rising water and wastewater costs that will force many companies to consider a professional solution, Dorian said.

“Generally speaking, water costs will rise 100% over the next five years, while effluent disposal costs will also rise 100% in the same period.”

Water auditing is often the first step taken by industry to reduce its water and effluent bills.

By installing flow meters, companies can see where their water is being used and take steps to economise.

However, once water conservation measures have been applied, the effluent is likely to be more concentrated with pollutants.

And since the effluent discharge licence fee is based on the concentration of waste material as well as its volume, this can leave the company with a larger treatment problem than before.

The second step is to look at wastewater treatment.

“Every industrial site is different,” Dorian said. “EWT-AJM Environmental Services offers the full range of primary, secondary and tertiary wastewater treatments and will advise on the system that is best for a company’s needs.

“Generally, a company should adopt a step-by-step approach, rather than go straight up to secondary or tertiary treatment. It’s important to know the benefits and costs of each stage.”

A primary treatment system will normally pay for itself within three years, while secondary or tertiary treatment may take five to eight years to recoup the investment.

As sludge is a typical by-product of primary treatment and sludge is costly to dispose of in Victoria, the next stage of treatment may involve sludge dewatering, which can pay for its investment in three years, he said.

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