Water treatment in Brazil

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Courtesy of EnviroChemie GmbH

The challenge
Many factories in Brazil do not dispose their sewerage in a professional way. Only big enterprises use facilities to treat their industrial waste water, whereas numerous small and medium-sized enterprises convey their sewerage flow into rivers and brooks or pit drainages. This results in a significant environmental burden and endangers the health of the population.

In the greater area of Rio de Janeiro there are many small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) of the metal working, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. Moreover, there are printing houses and enterprises producing paint and varnish. The local environmental protection agency acts on the assumption that 150 enterprises are regularly producing waste water that has to be professionally disposed.

Aim and Approach
In line with the develoPPP.de Programme, EnviroChemie located in Roßdorf near Darmstadt, Germany installed a pilot plant for the treatment of waste water of small and medium-sized enterprises in Brazil. The state-of-the-art facility complies with the German legislation on waste water treatment.

To reduce the financial risk for the investing company the project was supported by the Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) with funds from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. With special transport containers or fuelling vehicles the sewerage of the SME’s are delivered to the facility, where the chemical composition is first analysed and optimum treatment then applied.

The accrued clearing sludge is disposed in a modern waste site and the extracted water biologically treated until it reaches the quality requirements to feed it into the drainage system. For the disposal the clients have to pay a fee which is affordable for SME.

Impact
The pilot project has become a big success: Due to the high demand the facility was expanded several times and additional new jobs were created. Today EnviroChemie is treating more than 200 cubic meters of sewerage. The concentration of hazardous substances in the drinking and process water has been reduced and the living conditions of the population enhanced.

The facility has now been running since 2004 without disturbance and is used for demonstration purposes. The cooperation with the local environmental protection agency is intensive and professional. The implementation of legal regulations on waste water treatment is now more consistent than before, misconduct is sanctioned. EnviroChemie cooperates with the local universities of São Paulo and Maringa and a university of applied science and offers the opportunity to do an internship in Germany.

Incited by the project, the awareness particularly of small and medium-sized industries for the important role of industrial waste water treatment has been sustainably enhanced.

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