New water efficiency awards spotlight cost savings

Inspiring schemes to save both water and money were celebrated in November in the first annual water efficiency awards, sponsored by the Environment Agency and trade body Water UK.

The contest attracted more than 150 entries from firms, public bodies and individuals, details of which have now been published. 1

In the business category, commendations were given to Hanson Brick for a water and sand recycling scheme and to Beacon Press for its Pureprint waterless printing process.

Hanson's water and sand recycling scheme has enabled the company to cut water use by 71% at its Tilmanstone site in Kent, and reduce its use of sand by 700 tonnes per year. The company uses water to wash sand from the brick moulds. The new process separates the sand and water, allowing both to be recovered and reused.

Hanson says the system cost some £84,000 but will pay back in just over two years. It also reduces the risk of water pollution by improving control over effluent quality.

Beacon Press, based in East Sussex, developed the Pureprint process in 1995. It has reduced the company's water consumption by 60% and paper wastage by 30%. It has also allowed the company to eliminate the solvent isopropanol (ENDS Report 295, p 11 ).

Short-listed business entrants included fine chemicals manufacturer Clariant, for a scheme which cut water use by 63% and saved £132,000 per year. Savings were made from the reuse of wash water, the collection and use of rainwater, the use of tap restrictors and reduced water pressures.

Dupont's Gloucester site which manufactures nylon yarn was short-listed for a closed-loop cooling system which replaced a single-pass arrangement which discharged to a local brook. The scheme cut the site's water use by 27% and paid back a £50,000 investment within a year.

Lancashire-based acrylics manufacturer Ineos was short-listed for a closed-loop cooling system which also cut fuel bills by transferring heat to water entering the site's boilers. The scheme cut water use by 79% and paid back its capital cost in less than two years.

Winner in the water operators category was an effluent reuse scheme by Anglian Water and TXU, the owner of Peterborough power station. Purified water derived from membrane-treated sewage effluent is used for steam generation at the power station. The scheme saves 1,100 cubic metres of water a day - enough to supply 6,000 households.

Severn Trent Water was also commended for a leakage reduction scheme in Worcestershire. Using a Palmer Environmental acoustic monitoring system, Severn Trent reduced mains leakage from 27% to 15% in only eight months. The £3.9 million scheme involved some 10,000 data-loggers and saved £2.5 million in its first year.

A watering project involving North West Water and High Legh golf course was also short-listed. North West supplies sewage effluent disinfected by ultra-violet light treatment to the course for grass watering. This avoided the need for 12,000m 3 of new resources and 12 kilometres of new water mains.

Royal Marines Command won the award in the public sector category with a water-saving campaign which covered 14 major sites and cut consumption by 31% over three years. The methods employed included metering and leakage monitoring, waterless urinals and water reuse in vehicle washing.

RAF St Athans also received a commendation for a water management scheme which reduced consumption by 66% and saved £1 million over five years.

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