Green light for LIFE-REWATCH water reclamation project featuring participation of Veolia Water Technologies

The Spanish subsidiary of Veolia Water Technologies is responsible for the design of the treatment line in the LIFE-REWATCH project for the reclamation of water in the petrochemical industry. An industry-wide implementation of this system could enable a reduction of 3.5 million cubic metres per annum in the consumption of freshwater at European petrochemical plants.

The REWATCH project, coordinated by the Eurecat-CTM Technology Centre, will undertake pilot scale testing of a new treatment for wastewater from the petrochemical industry at a DOW Chemical Ibérica S.L. production plant in Tarragona. The project aims to obtain high-quality reclaimed water that can be reused in the petrochemical industry itself.

The Spanish subsidiary of Veolia Water Technologies has begun work on the design and construction of the LIFE-REWATCH prototype. This project seeks to validate an innovative reclamation system for wastewater from the petrochemical industry to obtain high-quality reclaimed water for reuse in the same industry.

The treatment line of the new water reclamation system has been designed by Veolia in cooperation with Dow Chemical Ibérica, and the system will be tested at one of the latter company’s chemical plants in Tarragona. The treatment process will feature physicochemical conditioning, followed by biological treatment with moving bed biofilm technology, ultrafiltration, separation with reverse osmosis membranes and water polishing using ion exchange resins. The combination of these technologies will enable the water to be reclaimed and reused in the petrochemical industry, thereby enhancing water use efficiency.

The petrochemical industry consumes a great deal of water and generates considerable volumes of wastewater. It is estimated that the sector is responsible for generating 1,750 million cubic metres of wastewater a year in Europe.

In order to reduce this impact, the aim of the REWATCH project is to validate an innovative treatment system on a pilot scale and generate a predictive model to be used in other petrochemical industries.

The pilot study will be based on a system combining a biological process with different separation treatments and the line is designed to treat 5 cubic metres of wastewater. Unlike other reuse technologies, this system is designed to treat the wastewater in the place where it is generated and where it can be used again. The project will thus contribute to sustainable water management in an area that faces water stress at different times of the year.

Experts believe that if this treatment and reuse system were to be implemented at all petrochemical facilities manufacturing certain products in Europe, water demand could be reduced by 3.5 million cubic metres a year, thereby increasing the availability of water resources.

REWATCH is a LIFE+ project, financed by the European Union and coordinated by the Eurecat-CTM Technology Centre. In addition to DOW Chemical Ibérica and Veolia Water Systems Ibérica, it features the participation of the Dutch Research Centre KWR Water and the WssTP European Water Platform from Belgium.

The project, which is due to finish in December 2019, aims to promote social awareness of the impact of wastewater and overexploitation of water on the Environment. REWATCH will also seek to engage the participation of social stakeholders to encourage the use of this innovative technology in other industrial sectors.