IN just two months, Goodyear South Africa has managed to save 5,6 million litres of water – the amount 180 houses would use in a month – through an intensive, ongoing recycling initiative.
While water restrictions do not yet apply to industry, the tyre firm is trying to save where it can, in light of the Eastern Cape’s critical water shortage.
Utilities manager Douglas North said last week that the Uitenhage plant had adopted a three-fold approach to saving water. It recycled waste water from its boiler house, collected and reused water run-off, and ensured steam condensate from various production processes did not go to waste.
The recovered water was either redirected through a newly-installed, separate plumbing system to the plants’ toilets or used as makeup water for cooling machinery. The firm had also installed numerous water meters to monitor water usage – and further reduce consumption where it could.
North said: “Goodyear’s biggest water user is our boiler house. It uses an electro-boiler – where the water itself is the element and therefore must be very pure. We make use of a reverse osmosis filter plant to purify city water, but it has a high backwash cleaning cycle. For each litre of water it cleans up, about half a litre is wasted. This water used to go into the sewer system. Now, it is directed to our toilets or process water that is used to cool machinery.”
He said the recycled water was being closely monitored by water treatment experts to ensure it was sufficiently clean and not corrosive to the firm’s piping system.
“The water recovered from the reverse osmosis process has a high dissolved solid content. This is reduced by blending it with recycled water.”
Goodyear Risk Control manager Rene van der Merwe said the plant also utilised a pit designed to catch storm water run-off along with any other water resulting from leaks, for example, in the plant.
“The water is passed through filters and then redirected to a storage tank and collected as required.”
The company’s water saving initiative was primarily driven by the severe water shortage in the Eastern Cape. However, it also formed part of a larger Goodyear philosophy termed the “3-R principle” – reduce, reuse and recycle
“From an environmental point of view, Goodyear We evaluate all potential waste by the 3-R principle to minimise our impact on the environment,” Van der Merwe said.
In addition to its water-saving initiative, the plant was recently recognised for its eco-friendly waste management – resulting in an 85% reduction of non-recyclable waste – with its on-site waste management supplier achieving ISO 14001 certification, one of the highest global standards for environmental management systems.
source: The Weekend Post