Sept/Oct 2012

Water treatment

Compiled by Zoë Koulouris



Liquid asset


The Optimized Pretreatment and Unique Separation (OPUS) technology from Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies is a proprietary process for desalination of feed water with high concentrations of silica, organics, hardness, boron and particulates. It uses a reverse osmosis process operated at an elevated pH, which allows the overall treatment solution to achieve over 90 per cent hydraulic recovery, even with total dissolved solids concentrations of up to 7,500 parts per million.  By combining a proprietary high-rate chemical softening process – known as Multiflo – with filtration, ion exchange and reverse osmosis, OPUS generates high-quality water with low-waste volumes. Veolia also offers the option of using CeraMem ceramic ultrafiltration membranes for upstream oil and gas applications. “The OPUS technology is a proven process that provides a high-quality effluent for reuse or discharge to surface water,” explains Lnsp Nagghappan, who helped develop the technology. “It offers more uptime, greater reliability and longer membrane life than comparable systems.”



  Self cleaning filters


The Sofi Filter is a high cross-flow tool for polishing filtration in mining and minerals processing applications. The patent-pending design from Finnish company Sofi Filtration treats overflows from settlers, clarifiers and thickeners; clarifies wastewater before being released into the environment; pre-filters solid particles before desalination; and removes contaminants from the electrolytic process. “The Sofi Filter’s state-of-the-art self-cleaning ability provides automated microfiltration starting from one-micrometre pore size, and it has a high capacity of between three to 30 m3/h/m2,” says Ville Hakala, marketing manager, Sofi Filtration. “It also consumes less energy than traditional methods – at 0.05 kWh/m3 – and handles a wide range of concentrations, specifically from 1 mg/l to 100,000 mg/l.”

Better together


GE has integrated ultrafiltration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) technologies in its Seapak, Propak and Repak products for desalination, surface water, mine drainage and re-use. “These systems offer a 35 per cent footprint reduction, and 10 per cent to 20 per cent capital cost savings compared to independent UF and RO skids,” says Brian Wise, global product manager for GE Power & Water. “For over 30 years, GE has been manufacturing all of the individual components that go into these complete, integrated systems which we also manufacture,” Wise notes. “When you have that ‘bottom-up’ knowledge, it allows you to more completely understand the way these technologies work in concert.”


From problems to profits


BioSulphide and ChemSulphide processes from Bioteq Environmental Technologies are sulphide precipitation technologies that clean and recapture the value of heavy metals from mining wastewater streams. They use biological or chemical sources of sulphide to selectively precipitate dissolved metals as saleable products, leaving treated water compliant with discharge requirements. “Sale of the metal products generates revenues to offset water treatment costs,” notes Andrew Hall, Bioteq’s vice-president of sales and marketing. “By recovering the metals, waste sludge volumes are reduced or eliminated as are the long-term sludge monitoring and storage costs. This has the potential to transform water treatment from a cost to a profit centre.”

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