Industrial firms in developing countries face acute risk in terms of financial and reputational damage when it comes to wastewater treatment. A collaboration of United Nations agencies, UN Water, estimates that as much as 70% of industrial wastewater is being dumped untreated into waterways in developing countries, while the Asian Development Bank puts the figure at 80% for the Asia Pacific region, according to Eco-Business.
And industrial water pollution is likely to increase as developing regions experience rapid growth. Petrochemical companies, shipping firms, and power plants are most at risk in terms of fines, reputation problems, and boycotts resulting from wastewater treatment violations.
On the other hand, the Asian Development Bank, wastewater can also be a resource with potential financial returns, with gains potentially coming from the production of an alternate water supply for irrigation, cooling, generating energy, or industrial use.
New water treatment technologies can help companies reduce operating costs and increase process efficiencies. Oil and gas companies, for example, use water in various stages of production and for drinking and sanitary purposes. Process water, feed water and wastewater requires disinfection and filtration treatment prior to use, reclamation or discharge. In the marine market, ocean-going vessels and fresh water or inner coastal boats require water treatment technologies to meet drinking water, process water and wastewater requirements.
Water treatment solutions to help companies deal with such issues are expected to become more prevalent in developing nations. High levels of water pollution currently point to the fact that many companies have not yet dealt with their own wastewater issues, but eventually they will realize that without adopting wastewater management methods, their own operations will be affected. If an agricultural business does not keep surrounding waterways clean, the quality of its crops will be affected, says Luca Buonerba, global chief marketing and business development officer of water treatment solutions company De Nora.