Home » Water » Ensuring high performing protection membranes for industrial water treatment plants

Albert Berenguel

Industry Marketing Manager Construction Systems, Master Builders Solutions Europe

The water that we consume today has existed since the earth was formed and our successors will continue consuming the same water. Industry must ensure its infrastructure is efficient in protecting this precious resource.

Water has always been naturally recycled, but during the industrial revolution as water was considered an unlimited resource, manufacturers poured billions of litres of wastewater into rivers where it was mixed with huge volumes of raw municipal sewage.

Natural cleaning and purification processes were not quick and efficient enough to decontaminate the water. Consequently, the frequency and severity of epidemics increased, plant and animal life suffered or disappeared and some rivers and oceans have become uninhabitable for many species.

Changing our view of water

Today, our perception of the value of water has changed; scarcity, drought and a greater social and environmental awareness mean that it is considered a precious resource that must be carefully used and managed

However, large amounts of water are still required each day in industrial plants for manufacturing, processing, washing, cooling or for the transportation of goods. It is a crucial resource for many industrial sectors and 90% of our economy is reliant on water in some form.

Industry’s impact on water

Around 266 billion m³ of water was extracted in Europe in 2017, of which around 60% was returned to the environment, having been physically or chemically altered to some extent (European Environment Agency).

In its Industrial Emissions Directive, the European Commission highlighted that: “Industrial production processes account for a considerable share of the overall pollution in Europe due to their emission of air pollutants, discharge of wastewater and the generation of waste.” As a result, the conditions for installations to operate were established meaning the reuse of treated wastewater is not only an environmental imperative, but also a legal requirement.

Around 266 billion m³ of water was extracted in Europe in 2017, of which around 60% was returned to the environment.

Industrial water can cause damages on concrete elements in the treatment plants

Upgrading water infrastructure

Damage to concrete structures in industrial environments is often caused by corrosion from contact with water and other chemicals. The refurbishment, waterproofing and protection of these assets is essential to ensure uninterrupted operation. By upgrading water recycling processes to make them more sustainable, water will be preserved and structural durability increased.

Master Builders Solutions offers a complete range of waterproofing systems for industrial plants. The systems foster a circular economy and optimise resource efficiency for clean and potable water tanks, industrial wastewater treatment plants and even biogas digesters.

Membranes which waterproof and protect industrial water management tanks must provide following attributes:

  1. High water and gas tightness to prevent leaks and the dissolved chemicals from coming into contact with concrete or metallic installations. Gas tightness protects concrete against carbonation and prevents methane leaks from biogas producing installations.
  2. Non contamination by substances within the membrane itself. To ensure the safety of drinking water or food but also to reduce water treatment complexity before reuse.
  3. High chemical resistance against water which may have a complex and aggressive chemical composition. For example, industrial wastewater which is stored in retention or equalisation tanks or organic residues that are stored or used in digestion processes. Membranes that have a high and wide-ranging chemical resistance coupled with crack-bridging abilities, not only protect the concrete structure but prevent polluted leaks from damaging the environment.

Further information about the systems and experience of Master Builders Solutions in industrial water management can be found here: Master Builders solutions waterproofing and Water Management Industry Job Reference Database.

Next article