Coming out in the wash

'Efficiency' makes good business sense, so a process that maintains the efficient operation of water treatment filters but also saves time and costs in doing so is worth investigating. Mouchel's Melanie Bright explains.

Anyone who has ever attempted to clear a blocked plughole will appreciate that it takes time and effort to do it properly. In the water industry, where the filtration units at treatment works are that much bigger, it is a task that typically takes weeks – but not any more.

Mouchel and its partners have perfected a new way to clean filter media and optimise efficient running at water treatment plants. The process was successfully trialled on a large scale last year at Thames Water’s Advanced Water Treatment Works (AWTW) at Ashford Common, where it not only reduced the downtime needed to clean the filter media, but also halved the cost. All water companies have an ongoing commitment to cut wastage in order to meet the high expectations of the regulator and customers. To do this they need to maintain efficient treatment plants, with filter media kept free of biofoul and inorganic materials.

This is achieved through scheduled backwashing (reversing water flow to flush out accumulated debris) and air scouring (injecting compressed air to increase water flow and loosen deposits), but also through the replacement of filter media. This overall process might typically take four weeks to complete, resulting in the loss of valuable filtration time.

So for Mouchel, it was a logical step to partner Blue Earth Labs and Brenntag UK in order to develop a more efficient process. This alliance led to a pilot of the flexible Floran filter treatment process at Ashford Common.

There, instead of weeks, it took three days for the cleaning process to produce quality results. This simple process has been perfected by Mouchel and its partners over five years to create a precise dosage operation and one that conforms to all UK standards – for everything from its effects on the environment and infrastructure, through to its delivery and storage.

The process has proved to be effective and has delivered long lasting results, helping to maintain the efficient operation of the water filters. Just as importantly, though, the cost and time to maintain these filters have been cut significantly, minimising disruption to plant operations and delivering further efficiencies to water companies.

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