The treatment of wastewater is an important step towards maintaining and protecting the environment from the harmful effects of wastewater. The industry is plagued with ineffective methods; however, with an internationally recognized standard such as ISO 14001, your processes are thoroughly checked, giving you peace of mind and proof of environmental awareness. Read this article to learn more about the importance of ISO 14001 for Wastewater Treatment Plants.
Wastewater is produced after freshwater, drinking water, raw water or saline water has been used in any type of application or process. In other words, wastewater is water that has been used for domestic, commercial, agricultural purposes or any other type of application.
Often, wastewater is classified as sewage, but it can occur in other forms too. For example, cooling water that has been used in the power generation process is considered wastewater, as is surface water that cannot infiltrate the soil.
Wastewater can contain a wide variety of contaminants and pollutants, which is why it’s so important that water treatment plants implement effective control measures. Before water can be re-used or released into local rivers and streams, it must be screened, contaminants must be removed, and the water must meet established purity levels.
Any failure in the treatment of wastewater can pose a considerable risk to human health and can cause serious environmental damage. Due to this, it’s vital that wastewater treatment industries meet the highest industry standards.
Sewage can be processed in various different ways, which means there are numerous types of sewage treatment plants. These include activated sludge plants (ASP), rotating disc systems, submerged aerated filters (SAF) and suspended media filters (SMF).
Although different types of plants work in varying ways, the main goal is the same: to remove bacteria, pollutants and contaminants from wastewater and enable the water to be repurposed. Now you’ve had a brief wastewater treatment overview, you’ll be eager to find out how ISO 14001 can help wastewater treatment plants to improve performance.
This globally accepted standard helps businesses to develop, implement and maintain an effective environmental management system (EnMS). Although ISO 14001 is applicable to many sectors, it’s particularly relevant to wastewater treatment industries. In a sector that has well-established environmental impacts, obtaining and maintaining ISO 14001 can have many benefits, such as:
An effective environmental management system helps companies reduce their environmental impact and ensure they are not causing unnecessary damage to the environment. As water is such a critical part of our environmental infrastructure, the way it is used, treated and essentially recycled is extremely important.
Wastewater treatment plants that acquire ISO 14001 certification can confidently address their environmental impact and consistently reduce any environmental harm their processes could cause.
The way that wastewater treatment plants use their resources inevitably affects their environmental performance. A lax approach to resource allocation will mean that companies are producing unnecessary waste and potentially harming their green credentials, for example.
As ISO 14001 focuses on enhancing the use of resources, it gives companies the opportunity to rethink their approach to resource management and to identify critical gaps in their existing workflows. As a result, companies can improve their use of resources, potentially leading to waste reduction and an improvement in financial performance.
When wastewater treatment plants adhere to the principles, policies and processes set out in ISO 14001, cost reductions can easily be obtained. Reducing waste, improving resource management and increasing sustainability can all be viable ways to reduce expenditure, which leaves a larger percentage of revenue as profit.
Whether you’re operating a large or small wastewater treatment plant, these cost savings can have a noticeable and significant impact on your performance and lead to greater fiscal returns.
The wastewater treatment industry is competitive, and companies need to enhance their ability to compete for valuable contracts as much as possible. Having the ISO 14001 certification will do just that, and it may give your company the edge when it comes to submitting tenders for upcoming projects.
In many cases, contractors will specify that they will only accept tenders or bids from companies that already have the ISO 14001 certification. So, in reality, wastewater treatment plants need to have ISO 14001 certifications in order to secure these contracts.
For today’s companies, sustainability is a critical issue and it’s more important than ever to be aware of your business’s environmental impact. Industries are implementing increasingly stringent environmental regulations in a bid to reduce climate change, while society in general is supporting businesses that promote sustainability.
When you have effective environmental management systems in place and can showcase this via your ISO 14001 certification, you can successfully achieve your company’s sustainable goals and exemplify your commitment to reducing your company’s environmental impact. By doing so, you’ll enhance your company’s reputation and make a real-world difference to the environment.
ISO 14001 focuses on six core topics:
As you can see, obtaining an ISO 14001 certification is not designed to be a ‘one-stop’ solution to acquiring green credentials. Instead, certificate holders are required to continually hone their environmental management systems and enhance their environmental performance.
To achieve and maintain ISO 14001 certification, businesses can follow a ‘PDCA’ cycle which involves:
To find out more about the benefits of acquiring an ISO 14001 certificate, to learn about the certification process, or to start the process of applying for ISO 14001 certification, contact QAS International now or call us on 020 3198 9788.