June 29, 1995
Continuing our series of checklists for evaluating your company’s environmental quality and efficiency‹or EQE – this column offers a tool for evaluating your company’s water use and water management practices.
These checklists are generalized, and can’t cover every possible variation of plant or industry. They are intended to stimulate and perhaps guide your staff and consultants in uncovering the hidden opportunities – and hidden profits – of eco-efficiency.
Previous columns presented an checklist for rating your company’s overall EQE – and an energy checklist. In the months to come, we’ll present more detailed checklists, and recommendations for profitable action.
[ ] We have conducted a water and wastewater audit within the last three years.
[ ] We have implemented the actions recommended by the audit, and monitored the results.
[ ] We are knowledgeable about water company financial incentives which can reduce the cost of resource efficient retrofits and design.
[ ] We have qualified for water company efficiency incentives.
Water information management
[ ] We meter, chart and monitor key water uses.
[ ] We post water use charts near main water use areas.
[ ] We know how much water we use‹per month, per unit of product, or per dollar of revenue.
[ ] We know what percentage of our water is used by each process.
[ ] We know our relative cost for water and wastewater treatment.
[ ] Our standard procedures and “good management practices” incorporate water efficient practices.
[ ] We systematically maintain all equipment in good repair.
[ ] We analyze processes to determine water needs, to minimize overall water use.
[ ] We analyze water needs for flow, temperature & purity requirements, to identify opportunities for “cascading” of once-used water for secondary uses
[ ] We use fresh running water only when necessary, relying on pooled and/or process water where feasible.
Provide efficient equipment
[ ] We provide spring loaded shutoff nozzles on all hoses.
[ ] We use high pressure wash with precision spray nozzles where feasible.
[ ] We have installed timers and/or solenoid valves to stop water flow after a predetermined period or when production line stops.
[ ] We have installed positive shutoff valves, to ensure valves are closed securely.
[ ] We have installed consistent, color-coded, bi-lingual labels on all pipes and valves.
Heating and Cooling Systems
[ ] We set hot water output to the minimum temperature required, rather than overheat it only to blend it with cold water at point of use.
[ ] We have insulated hot water boilers and hot water (and chilled water or product) distribution lines.
[ ] We use heat exchangers on boiler stacks, recovering waste heat to pre-heat boiler feed water or for other uses.
[ ] We use warm air in the boiler area as combustion air to increase boiler efficiency.
[ ] We have installed a package cogeneration system, to heat water from waste heat of electricity generation.
[ ] We have installed stack dampers on all boilers.
[ ] We have installed closed-loop cooling systems in place of replaced “once through” systems.
[ ] We minimize blowdown in boiler and cooling tower operations.
[ ] We collect and reuse condensed steam as boiler feed or for cooling tower makeup.
[ ] We sweep floors where feasible rather than hose them clean, to conserve water and keep waste out of waste water.
[ ] We use ‘secondary’ water for preliminary cleaning tasks, where appropriate.
[ ] We periodically reassess our sanitation chemicals for least toxic alternatives.
[ ] We ensure that sanitation chemicals are used safely, in optimal concentrations, and in accordance with label and regulatory instructions.
[ ] We periodically inspect and adjust all pumps, boilers and valves to increase efficiency.
[ ] We identify and promptly repair leaking valves, pipes, toilets, faucets and fixtures.
[ ] We clean filters and screens regularly.
[ ] We filter and/or treat process water
[ ] We use process water for boiler or cooling tower makeup or other process uses.
[ ] We use process water for landscape irrigation or agricultural production.
[ ] To maximize wastewater reuse possibilities, we keep production wastewater separate from lavatory wastewater.
[ ] We have designed our landscaping around native plants with low water requirements
[ ] We use secondary water or waste water for irrigation, instead of fresh water.
[ ] We use secondary water to wash down buildings and pads, instead of fresh water.
[ ] We capture and treat storm water runoff to minimize non-point pollution.
Human sanitation (kitchens and toilets)
[ ] We have installed low-flush toilets, or retrofitted existing toilets to lower water use.
[ ] We have installed aerators, as well as spring-loaded valves, timers or sensors on all faucets.
[ ] We have installed water-saving showerheads on all showers.
[ ] We have trained our staff in water consciousness and efficiency.