“For industry, reducing water withdrawals is not enough”

2023-05-22 09:30:03

La Fenarive brings together industrial players around the issue of water management, in an increasingly tense context linked to water resources on French territory.

La Fenarive is an association created in 1952, on the initiative of industrialists established in the East of France. Following the water law of 1964, the association has extended its activity to all six French river basins. Manufacturers from all sectors as well as professional unions have gradually joined the association, as well as large companies such as EDF or SNCF.

Christian Lecussan, President of Fenarive, is also, among other things, vice-president of the Seine Normandy basin committee and member of the board of directors of the Seine Normandy Water Agency. He explained to Engineering Technics the missions of Fenarive, in particular to support industrialists in their procedures for treating their waste water and reducing their water withdrawals.

Engineering Techniques: What are Fenarive’s missions?

Christian Lecussan : We focus, with all the industrial panel that we represent, on issues related to water, with an essentially technical approach, trying to be a privileged interlocutor of the Ministry of Ecology, to make the best link between the various players on improving the management of water used by industry.

The body of water presented by the President of the Republic in Savines-le-Lac last March brought the “water” issue to the forefront, and since then we have been very much in demand from all sides, in particular by the public authorities, which shows that the issues surrounding water resources are at the heart of today’s concerns, which is a good thing.

When did industrialists become aware of the issues related to the sampling and treatment of their wastewater?

I would say that an awareness has taken place among manufacturers for at least twenty years. The establishment of Water Agencies, following the 1964 law, first and foremost benefited industrialists, even if at the time the challenge was above all to limit water pollution rather than consumption. . Subsequently, when we look at the figures, we see that since the beginning of the 2000s, water withdrawals by industrialists have fallen sharply, which shows that the sector as a whole has taken up this problem for a time already. The events – floods, droughts, etc. – that have occurred in recent years have of course given a more immediate dimension to the problem of the availability of water resources, and shown all sectors that we must continue to work to limit pollution and consumption. water by industry.

How do manufacturers operate today to reduce their water withdrawals and treat their wastewater?

It must be understood that for the industry, reducing water withdrawals is not enough. It is also necessary to reduce water pollution at the process outlet, to be consistent with the water framework directive of 2000. These two aspects of the water issue, pollution and consumption, must therefore be addressed together. This involves improving the processes used by the various industries, and therefore through innovation. It seems essential to me, if we want to reduce water withdrawals and the pollution of water used by industrialists, to develop fundamental research in France in a more sustained manner, whether in chemistry, biology, physics… These are the sciences that must improve the knowledge and know-how that will allow the advent of innovative technologies for water management.

How to explain the very low reuse of wastewater after treatment in France?

The regulatory framework in France around the reuse of water by industry is very restrictive, and very poorly perceived by all industrial sectors. There is a blockage, at the level of the Ministry of Health, which prevents French industrialists from reusing their water, as is done in other European countries, for example. Countries like Spain or Italy have a wastewater reuse rate approaching 15%, when we do not exceed 1% in France. We are fighting to obtain progress on the reuse of water by industrialists, who are developing interesting processes for the collection, treatment and reuse of their water, but whose implementation is blocked by the public authorities, for the moment.

Can you give us an example?

We have in our members a slaughterhouse, in Normandy, which uses drinking water, and which has developed a process for treating its water, in order to decontaminate it in order to be able to reuse it to wash the floors. The process they use is a reverse osmosis process, the same as that used to make water drinkable in Ile-de-France. This slaughterhouse was refused by the public authorities the effective implementation of this process, for reasons of hygiene. However, the water treated by this slaughterhouse complies with the quality standards in force for this type of use.

Do you think this framework will evolve in the short term?

I do not see how the French regulatory framework could remain as it is. It has to evolve, the question is rather to know how far we can go in terms of reuse. It is in any case a necessary step to allow industrialists to set up ambitious strategies for the management of their water.

What is the role of Fenarive in the implementation of common solutions between the various industrial players?

We want to find links between all the activities that we defend. The ambition is to find a framework for developing a common water policy. This requires the generalization of best practices within each activity, but also cooperation between industrial sectors to develop common solutions in the management of their water, locally. Water management is above all a local management. In France, the stacking of management structures complicates the task of manufacturers, who do not always know who to contact. There are also improvements to be made at this level, but it is certain that very locally, at the level of an industrial zone for example, the actors must put together solutions to limit their withdrawals.

Interview by Pierre Thouverez

#industry #reducing #water #withdrawals

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.