Water Characteristics

One of the first steps we need to take when it comes to setting emission limits is understanding the type of water we are dealing with. This is crucial for several reasons:

  • To identify specific pollutants and risks
  • To choose the right treatment methods
  • To comply with existing laws and regulations
  • To assess environmental impact
  • To achieve efficient and cost-effective solutions

Different types of water contain varying pollutants. Stormwater can be contaminated with oils and heavy metals, while dewatering water from construction sites can contain a lot of soil particles and metals. Therefore, different types of water require different treatment methods. Knowing the type of water being handled allows for the selection of an effective and cost-efficient treatment technology, improves the treatment process, and conserves resources. It also ensures compliance with the appropriate laws and regulations, minimizing legal risks and potential fines, and most importantly, it helps protect our environment.

So, what types of water do we handle in our projects? Here are the four main water characteristics we refer to:

1. Dewatering Water

Dewatering water, or groundwater control water, is a common term in certain sectors, especially in construction and civil engineering. There is no legal definition of dewatering water, but it generally refers to water that is diverted from some form of human activity. In practice, this includes rainwater, infiltrating groundwater, and process water generated during excavation, blasting, and drilling, such as in earthworks, quarries, and mines.

2. Stormwater

Stormwater is rain or meltwater that runs off roofs, roads, and other impervious surfaces. If it rains heavily or the snow melts quickly, stormwater can collect pollutants from these surfaces, such as oils, heavy metals, chemicals, and debris, before it continues to flow and eventually reaches water bodies, lakes, or even groundwater.

3. Industrial Stormwater

Industrial stormwater primarily refers to rainwater that has come into contact with industrial activities and surfaces. Recycling facilities, for example, are one industry where dissolved metals are found in industrial stormwater, which must be treated before being discharged.

4. Process Water

Process water is water used in industrial processes such as manufacturing, cooling, or cleaning. After use, process water may be contaminated with chemicals, oils, heavy metals, or other pollutants generated during the industrial process.