Guide

Chemical manufacturing water efficiency

Introduction

Businesses that use large quantities of water - such as those in the chemical industry - are under increasing pressure to reduce their water use. The chemical industry includes producers of commodity chemicals such as organic and inorganic chemicals and industrial gases, and speciality chemicals such as pharmaceutical products and essential oils. It also includes mixing, blending, diluting or converting basic chemicals to make chemical products and preparations, eg paints, pesticides, inks, detergents and cosmetics.

The costs of water use may be substantial. They can include supply, treatment and disposal charges as well as hidden costs such as lost materials in the effluent stream. Making simple, low-cost or no-cost changes to your operating practices will enable you to achieve rapid returns, while longer-term measures can lead to significant benefits.

This guide explains when you need a water use licence, how to look systematically at your business' water use, and how to use various methods to reduce both water use and effluent production. It focuses on vessel washing, equipment cooling and vacuum pumps, and effluent treatment and reuse.