Water is essential to life but a scarce resource. The World Water Day reminds us how precious it is and that we need to ensure environmentally friendly water treatment. The article will cover topics such as – Water – the invisible treasure, Resource-friendly use of water, Efficient water management in the industry and Removal of natural contaminants.
Water – the invisible treasure
The Corona pandemic highlights the importance of clean water and hygiene. After all, hygiene is almost impossible without water. The blue gold is vital for humans and animals. But clean drinking water is not available in sufficient quantities everywhere. It must therefore be purified – as environmentally friendly as possible. Agriculture and industry also depend on water to produce products. Water scarcity becomes an issue for everybody, not only for developing countries or desert regions. The increasing demand for the scarce resource constantly needs new and improved solutions, to ensure that clean water remains available in sufficient quantity and quality.
We need to understand that water is essential to life and needs protection. This is the challenge we must face. In line with this year’s World Water Day motto: “groundwater: making the invisible visible”.
With this annual theme, the United Nations wants to draw attention worldwide on March 22 to the importance of our groundwater – on the one hand as an indispensable resource and part of the water cycle, but also with regard to the pressures to which it is increasingly exposed.
Resource-friendly use of water
It all starts with the responsible use of water – for us in the private sector, but also for local authorities and industry. Industrial production without water is rarely possible. But options still remain untapped for using less water, returning it to the environment as unpolluted as possible, and thus helping to protect groundwater and surface water.
Companies must develop and offer products, technologies and solutions for efficient water treatment, can do more. This is a great time to launch a water program that may include Group-wide targets and voluntary commitments as well as local “water stewardship program”. Initially, primarily for four water risk sites in. Companies can also support the sustainable use of water as a resource by its customers. For example, Companies should come forward to ensure reliable treatment of clean drinking water as well as customized wastewater treatment or groundwater remediation.
Efficient water management in the industry
Water treatment in power plants: Water-steam circuits are at the heart of all thermal power plants that generate electricity from fossil or nuclear fuels. Here, the water and steam serve as an energy carrier and cooling medium.
In addition, corrosion can be effectively reduced or avoided in this way. Together with the efficient regeneration of the resins, this ensures long-lasting, economical operation of the power plants.
Drinking water treatment: Contamination of surface water by Natural Organic Matter, for example polyphenols, humic and fulvic acids, which are formed during the decomposition of plant material, can be removed with strongly basic ion exchange resins of specially adjusted porosity. These functional resins bind or adsorb the impurities. This is how drinking water is treated in the Netherlands or the United Kingdom, for example.
Groundwater treatment: Pollutants can also enter groundwater in agricultural regions. Especially in Germany, nitrate from fields overfertilized with liquid manure is a current problem. But even if the slurry is thickened and processed into solid fertilizer, the liquid residual phase containing ammonia must not be discharged untreated into surface waters.
Recovery of precious metal: If metal ions are present in higher concentrations, for example in industrial wastewater, recovery may be worthwhile. Minor components can also be separated, such as zinc from copper electrolytes or cobalt from nickel or copper salt solutions. In addition to ion exchange resins, iron oxide adsorbers are also efficiently used for water treatment.
Removal of natural contaminants
Natural arsenic contamination of drinking water is the most significant natural trigger of poisoning worldwide, especially in India and Bangladesh. Water is also contaminated with arsenic in parts of Argentina and Chile or the western United States. In addition to acute and chronic illnesses, increased tumor development can be the result. In order to comply with the limit of 10 mg/l set by the World Health Organization (WHO), millions of people rely on treatment of their drinking water.
Bettina Blottko, Head of the Liquid Purification Technologies business unit, LANXESS said, “Ion exchange resins play a role almost everywhere sustainable water management is required. We are proud of our long track record in this field.”
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