Smart Solutions, Sustainable Outcomes – Embracing Water Management

By Ken Albaugh

In a rapidly changing industry, mining and aggregates operators are balancing a growing demand for materials while navigating the complexities of regulatory compliance and environmental stewardship. At the center of this challenge is water, as a vital component in processing materials and as an increasingly scarce resource that must be protected.

Effective water management has never been more critical to operational success and environmental stewardship. While the industry’s water challenge may be growing, so too is the toolkit for sustainably managing the full water cycle.

While solutions vary in purpose and scope depending on the requirements of a mine, the common goals of compliance, stewardship and cost-effective water management remain.

Trust in Experience
Take the approach of one of the largest U.S. producers of construction aggregates, as it decided to relocate its processing plant to a location that would facilitate increased production capacity. The downside? The new location was further away from the plant’s water supply.

As the new plant would house all of the site’s crushing, washing, and sorting applications, the customer needed a single-source provider to design and install a comprehensive and integrated water management system to meet all the necessary applications, including wash down, dust control, truck wash, pugmill and slurry.

As a trusted partner of the producer for years, the Xylem team was familiar with its operations and, with its depth of hydraulic engineering experience, confident in its ability to find the right combination of products to meet the challenge.

After an extensive site audit, engineers developed a comprehensive plan to improve operational efficiency and increase the required water supply including evaluating the existing pumps and recommending modifications and replacements.

Smart Approaches, Sustainable Results
To support the demands of the new processing plant and futureproof its capacity, the team engineered and installed an integrated system of new pumps, pipes and fittings.

This included a Goulds Water Technology vertical turbine to provide water for the plant’s rock wash. Powered by a 250-horsepower motor and providing 3,500 gal.-per-min. (gpm) of water, the turbine sits on a customized stand above the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) water tank, eliminating the need for a pond and saving valuable space on site.

As part of a turnkey solution, a slurry pump was also installed to pump 3000 gpm of water and fine material through 1600 ft. of 12-in. SDR11 HDPE. Robust and reliable, the pump is capable of pumping a harsh material with minimum maintenance required.

The comprehensive plan also included elements to complement the local environment, as a Goulds Water Technology e-SV 5-stage stainless steel multistage pump provides water to the 200 trees planted by the customer to create a sustainable barrier between the road and the plant.

To minimize downtime and maximize efficiency, the entire solution can be connected to the plant-wide SCADA system for remote, proactive monitoring and control. A single person can monitor and control the entire system, freeing up operators and delivering operational savings.

Overall, the efficient and reliable turnkey water management system enables the plant to process 15% more aggregate than it could previously.

Flexible Technologies for Solid Results
Selecting the right pump is a multifaceted decision that depends on material compatibility, operational scale, environmental conditions, adaptability, and integration with existing infrastructure. Compliance with safety standards and reliability are all key considerations.

As digital technology becomes ubiquitous across the industry, operators are also looking at other factors, such as automation capabilities, energy efficiency and total cost of ownership. This must all add up to optimum performance in challenging conditions, cost-efficiency, and durability.

Increasingly, we are finding that customers need integrated solutions with diverse, flexible technologies to support effective fluid management. This is one of the reasons why the combination of Xylem and Evoqua is transformative. Our team has a wealth of expertise and experience in moving and treating water which enables us to create bespoke solutions for every customer challenge. Our customers now have access to a complete offering that can help them meet environmental compliance and operational efficiency goals.

Ken Albaugh is director of sales and services at Xylem,

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