How to Set Emission Limits

Procuring and specifying water treatment for large projects can be complicated. Sometimes, it might be tempting to take shortcuts and look at what others have done before, but to truly succeed in specification, there are certain questions you must address. Swedish Hydro Solutions has compiled a list based on the industry's own collective wishes.

1. What type of contract is to be carried out? What work phases are included over time? Different tasks produce different types of water. Different types of water contain different kinds of pollutants. Different kinds of pollutants require different water treatment solutions.

2. What is the history and soil characteristics of the land area to be developed? What has existed on the site previously? Industry, dry cleaning, landfill, shipyards, etc.

Municipalities often have good knowledge of the site and possess much information. Much information can be obtained from them.

3. What recipient will be used after the water treatment process? Depending on which recipient will be used, the emission limits can and should vary. There is a big difference between discharging water into the stormwater network, a wetland, or Göta Älv.

4. It is important to take water samples in good time and over time. At least a year in advance, so that it is possible to map the types of pollutants and find out if they vary with the seasons, for example due to leaching or other natural phenomena.

5. Never copy emission requirements from one project to another. Every site is unique and has its unique conditions. Sometimes in projects, an unnecessarily high degree of purification is required, even though the recipient is not particularly sensitive. Or conversely, too low requirements are set, even though the recipient is sensitive.

6. Try to have a helicopter perspective. It is important to understand the practical effect of the proposed emission limits for all parties involved. Strive to have the strictest possible limits, while keeping them reasonable for the site in question. Regulated emission levels are difficult to adjust and the processes involved are complicated.

7. Open up for collaboration across boundaries, if possible. Authorities and municipalities, together with contractors and water treatment companies, have different knowledge. It is when we discuss the challenges and their solutions together that we find the right answers.

The order of these questions varies from case to case. Sometimes you need to focus on the recipient first and talk to the supervisory authority and/or county administrative board. Sometimes you need to talk to the municipality first to understand the land's history. Sometimes the various phases of the project need to be mapped first.