Some say water will be the “gold” of the 21st century, and if the federal government has its way, this prediction will certainly be true for American companies that use large amounts of water. Produce processing, commercial poultry production, and commercial laundry facilities should start planning for significant increases in per-gallon water costs and surcharges, in light of the latest information on President Obama’s budget plans.
The Obama administration has requested that all non-defense government agencies trim five percent from their fiscal year 2012 budgets. Combine this with the existing, long-term trend toward reduced federal funding for water infrastructure, and the financial burden is shifting onto municipalities.
Municipalities are in no position to shoulder higher costs because bond markets are shrinking, tax revenues are declining, and competition for funding is more fierce every day. They will have to pass the financial burden on to customers, and large water users will very likely suffer the highest increases in the form of higher rates and surcharges.
If ever there was a time to invest in water recycling capability, this is that time. The good news is that there are technologies available that, even at existing water prices, make a great deal of financial sense for produce, poultry, and laundry water recycling.
Help for produce processing facilities
One of the most notable produce industry developments involves a new combination of technologies from American Water Purification, Inc. (AWPI). AWPI’s wash water reuse system creates dramatic reductions in incoming wash water use. By recycling large amounts of water that previously went down the drain, produce processing facilities will significantly reduce the amount of wastewater they have to deal with. AWPI’s onsite wastewater treatment system then deals with these reduced quantities of wastewater with an anaerobic digester/DAF system that removes BODs and leaves a dry sludge that can be safely dumped at a landfill. With decreases in federal funding for county and municipal wastewater treatment, this system provides further financial advantage an increasingly negative economic environment.
New laundry water recycling technology
Help for commercial laundry operators is right around the corner, thanks to AWPI’s laundry water recycling system, which is being developed in partnership with a commercial facility in Georgia. This system reclaims wash water currently being sent down the drain, conserves its temperature, and returns it to the front end of the process.
Hot water reuse for commercial poultry production
The newest development for commercial poultry production facilities is AWPI’s hot water reuse system, which will introduce such dramatic economies into chicken scalder and paw picker lines that unit installation costs can often be recovered in just a few months.
Taking care of ourselves
The bottom line is that the federal government will be “taking care” of commercial water users less and less, so companies will need new ways to take care of themselves. But if this can be done economically, as the AWPI systems seem to indicate for several industries, now is the time to act.
Wynn Ponder is a freelance writer who covers health, science, industrial and marketing topics and owner of Wichita marketing firm Ponder:Connect.