Water awards honour Brick

The first ever Water UK and Environment Agency Water Efficiency Awards took place at the Royal Society of Arts on September 19. More than 150 submissions were received from industry, business, the public sector and individuals. The judging panel - which included representatives from Water UK, the Environment Agency, the National Trust, The Environmental Technology Best Practice Programme (now 'Envirowise') and the CBI - identified 12 winning or commended submissions across seven categories: Communication; Industry & Business; Joint Initiatives & Collaborative Projects; Public Sector; Research & Development; Water Operators; and Significant Personal Contribution.

Hanson Brick, alongside The Beacon Press (nominated for the Pureprint water and alcohol-free printing process), was awarded a commendation in the ‘Industry and Business’ category. Hanson Brick manufactures bricks, including the famous Stock bricks of Southern England. The “Soft Mud” brick-making process used at its Tilmanstone works in Kent requires large quantities of water in order to wash the used sand from the brick moulds. To reduce water consumption and enable the sand to be recovered, a new recycling system has been installed by Hanson Brick in association with VisionInvest, which supplied the system.

Two year payback

The new process separates the water from the sand, ensuring that the water can be reused in the soft mud plant. The recovered sand is then reused as facing sand to line brick moulds. Installing the new system has meant that daily water consumption has been reduced from 1,150m3 to 330m3, an annual saving of almost 300,000m3 of water, or 71%. Sand consumption has been reduced by 700 tonnes per year, reducing the environmental impact of the company’s core product. Financial savings are estimated at £40,000 per year. This means the initial investment of £84,000 will be paid back in just over two years.

The new system also reduces the risk of contamination of local watercourses by improving the control of effluent from the brick-making process.

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