Posted by Albert Berenguel - 01 December, 2021
Recycling water in a sustainable way is challenging – but necessary. New technologies for containing and conducting water allow this precious commodity to be managed more efficiently.
Read to the end for information and case studies that illustrate how it can be done
The water that we use and drink today has existed since the earth was formed and will continue to be used and drunk by our successors.
In other words, water has always been naturally recycled.
However, a lot has changed in the last 200 years since the industrial revolution.
Water was considered an unlimited resource; manufacturers poured millions of litres of wastewater into rivers where it mixed with huge volumes of raw municipal sewage.
Natural cleaning and purification processes were not quick and efficient enough to decontaminate the water. Consequently, the frequency and severity of epidemics increased, plant and animal life decreased or disappeared in some rivers and oceans become inhabitable for many species.
Today, our perception of the value of water has changed; scarcity, drought and a greater social and environmental conscience mean that it is considered a precious resource that must be more carefully used and managed. However, large amounts of water are still used every day in industrial plants for manufacturing, processing, washing, diluting, cooling, or transporting goods. According to the EU (1) water is a crucial resource for several industrial sectors as 90% of our economy depends on water.
According to the European Environment Agency(2), around 266 billion m³ of water was extracted in Europe in 2017, of which around 40 % was consumed by the economy and 60 % was returned to the environment, having been physically or chemically altered to some extent.
The European Commission highlighted in its Industrial Emissions Directive (IED), adopted on 24 November 2010, that “Industrial production processes account for a considerable share of the overall pollution in Europe due to their emissions of air pollutants, discharges of wastewater and the generation of waste”(3).
The IED(4) established that installations can only operate if in possession of a permit and have to comply with the conditions set therein. Therefore, the reuse of treated wastewater is not only an environmental imperative, it is a legal requirement too.
Concrete structures built in industrial environments are often affected by corrosion damage related to leakages of water and other chemicals. Refurbishment, waterproofing and protection of these assets will normally include upgrading the way that water is recycled to make the process more sustainable and to help preserve both water and concrete.
Master Builders Solutions offers a complete range of waterproofing systems for industrial plants which foster a circular economy and optimize resource efficiency, including waterproofing of clean and potable water tanks, protection of concrete in contact with process water, waterproofing and protection of industrial wastewater treatment plants and even protection of concrete in biogas digesters.
Our membranes for industrial water management can provide some or all of the following attributes:
- High water tightness and gas tightness to prevent water leakages and to stop the water containing dissolved chemicals coming into contact with, concrete structures or metallic installations. Gas tightness, especially to carbon dioxide, protects concrete against carbonation; methane tightness is a must in biogas-producing installations.
- No contamination due to the release of substances from the membranes (by migration). When in direct contact with clean or drinking water or with food this is essential, not only to ensure safety in food processing but also to reduce the treatment needed before reusing the water.
- High chemical resistance is needed where water may have a complex and aggressive chemical composition. For example, where water is used in an industrial process and then stored in retention or equalization tanks or where organic residues are stored or used in digestion processes. Membranes that have high and wide-ranging chemical resistance, as well as crack-bridging capacities, not only protect concrete but also avoid dangerous leakages into the environment.
MasterSeal M 689
A pure polyurea waterproofing membrane with high elasticity. Offers both high chemical resistance and does not contaminate water by migration of its components.
Read more here: MasterSeal M 689
MasterSeal M 391
Two-component epoxy system, suitable for direct contact with drinking water and solid foodstuff, according to EU Reg 10/2011, ISEGA and several National Drinking Water Regulations.
Read more here: MasterSeal M 391
MasterSeal M 808
Two-component polyurethane membrane with high crack-bridging capacities. Approved under Regulation 31 of the Water Supply (Water Quality) regulations 2000 for use in contact with potable water in the UK.
Read more here: MasterSeal M 808
MasterSeal 7000 CR
High chemical resistance, crack bridging and can be applied to humid substrates, all combined in a single system. Based on Xolutec technology with specific resistance to hydrogen sulphide, biogenic sulphuric acid, wastewater, silage, etc.
Read more here: MasterSeal 7000 CR
More information about the systems and experiences of Master Builders Solutions in industrial water management can be found in the links below:
- Water Europe. Technology and Innovation. “A new industrial emissions directive”. March 2011.
- European Environment Agency. “Use of freshwater resources in Europe” https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/use-of-freshwater-resources-3/assessment-4
- EU Commission. Industrial Emissions Directive. https://ec.europa.eu/environment/industry/stationary/ied/legislation.htm
- EUR-Lex. “Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 on industrial emissions (integrated pollution prevention and control)”. https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32010L0075