A Permanent Temporary Solution

If you think temporary is just for emergencies, think again!

The food and beverage sector is a major consumer of water and relies on water treatment processes to ensure a safe and secure supply of purified water to meet and exceed the stringent quality and quantity demands. Without process water, manufacturing cannot proceed and without make-up water for boilers and cooling towers, production maybe threatened. Wastewater treatment and recycling are critical to environmental protection and sustainability. Like many other industries, food and beverage manufacturers are increasingly turning to mobile water treatment plants to meet and deliver reliable and secure solutions.

“Mobiles” were originally simply large vessels full of ion exchange resins mounted inside a trailer which could be taken to a site to provide a temporary high purity water supply to cover breakdowns or planned maintenance of on-site plant. When the resin becomes exhausted the trailer is returned for regeneration at one of Veolia’s media conditioning centres at Stoke-on-Trent, UK or Wissous in France depending on the client’s location, to optimise travel time and associated costs and to ensure if there is a need, it is responded to in a timely manner. At the regeneration sites there is instant access to a variety of ion exchange resins and adsorption and filtration media. Because the ion exchange resins are regenerated back at a central regeneration facility, there are no chemicals on site and no effluent disposal or environmental problems. Over the years customers’ needs have changed and Veolia’s mobile fleet now includes a range of technologies from pre-treatment by clarification and filtration through reverse osmosis and wastewater treatment and recycling technologies.

While lots of the applications for mobile units are emergencies, many customer have experienced when they may have an unexpectedly full order book this often creates an urgent need to expand production quickly, and a mobile plant can provide the additional treated water you need while you’re waiting for a permanent plant to be installed. Alternatives are also some companies need to carry out production trials, and may want to look at the effects of water quality on their production processes or how to handle the wastewater. Temporary treatment plants provide a cost effective means of finding out if it is worthwhile making a substantial capital investment.

Many mobile customers also hire temporary plants to provide treated water during planned maintenance shutdowns of their water treatment plant and similar “non-emergency” situations, but the biggest change over the last ten years has been the increasing number of companies who have made a case for long-term rent, when the capital investment in a permanent plant may not pay back within the expected life of the project, especially if this is less than five years. If a company needs a major new water treatment plant or an upgrade, and this is not the best area for the business to get the highest return on capital, a Multi-Year rental can be provided under a ‘Pay as You Go’ flexible long term agreement. This means that the water system is funded by the operations budget leaving capital available for core investments. A typical customer is a Belgian milk processing factory which had problems with their existing 40m3/h softener. The company’s long term plan is to build a new reverse osmosis system that will supply them with process water. In the interim, rather than repairing the existing system the customer decided to rent an asset under a Multi-year agreement. It’s been so successful that they are considering extending that rental agreement and delaying any permanent investment.

The temporary plant approach gives many other advantages. The quality of the treated water is guaranteed and the treatment process is tailored to current water quality needs, whether that’s for de-alkalised water for soft drinks manufacturing, softened water for low pressure boiler feed or demineralised water for high pressure boilers or process use. If the treated water quality needs to be upgraded, it’s an easy matter to change the trailer for one using a more advanced treatment process.

Raw water is becoming more and more a valuable resource. Optimising its use is both a cost and sustainability issue. Renting an alternative technology to replace existing assets may enable both of these requirements to be achieved in a simple and reliable package. It can allow ageing, obsolete or unreliable existing plant to be replaced or upgraded without tying up capital and allow a switch from a costly or scarce water source to a lower cost more abundant one. Mobile units are completely modular, so any configuration of processes can be combined to make up a complete system to suit any application, which means that borehole, river and reservoir waters can be handled as easily as mains waters. Any number of modules can be operated in parallel to provide whatever flow rate is required and, of course, can be added to later if an increase in throughput is needed, even if that is only for the short period of a campaign production.

The equipment is installed in standard containers or skid mounted containers which are insulated and supplied with heating and lighting so that, inside the container, the environment is just like most plant rooms. The containers are also kitted out with the required safety equipment. Renting through a reliable supplier means access to their expertise, allowing manufacturers to focus on their core activity. So if you think temporary plant is just for emergencies, think again. With long term rental agreements it can be a very cost effective permanent solution to your water treatment needs.

Visit /services/mobile-water-services to learn more.