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There is a lack of awareness amongst the textile industry

Jan 01, 2021
There is a lack of awareness amongst the textile industry

A pioneer of water treatment in India with a legacy spanning over five decades, Ion Exchange (India) is recognised internationally as a premier company in water and environment management. Ion Exchange is among the largest environment solution providers, one of very few companies worldwide with a complete range of technologies, products and comprehensive 24x7 service support.

Ajay Popat, President, Ion Exchange (India), speaks with the ITJ on the importance of ZLD for the textile industry, and various technologies that are available in these spheres and the developments at Ion Exchange.


How important is zero liquid discharge (ZLD) for the Indian textile industry at this juncture?

ZLD is very important for the textile industry because it requires huge amount of water to manufacture its products. Waste is generated in large volumes, which needs treatment before it is discharged. Since water consumption is very large, it is prudent to do ZLD or near ZLD (recycle) by which the industry is able to meet the discharge norms. For some companies, this becomes a source of water as municipal corporations give priority to agriculture or consumers. Also the price at which the water is supplied by the municipal corporations to the industry is very high with a regular hike every year. Hence it makes sense to recycle water.

With regards to water & waste treatment, etc. what are today’s Ion Exchange’s involvement in the textile industry? What are the various technologies available in these spheres and what are the developments at Ion Exchange?

Most textile industry is situated in areas where they would either depend on groundwater or surface water. Groundwater has hardness and will impair the quality of production. In the textile industry, water is used for three applications – production and utility requirements (cooling towers and boilers) and for sanitary applications. In all these areas, quality of water is of utmost importance.

Ion Exchange offers products like softeners to reduce hardness from groundwater, which is contaminated with calcium and magnesium. If the total dissolved solid (TDS) is high (more than 100 ppm), we recommend Reverse Osmosis (RO) systems to reduce salinity and associated hardness.

The company also offers a wide range of demineralization plants where the industry requires very high quality water – both for the process as well as boilers. We offer speciality water treatment chemicals for cooling towers to improve its hygiene, performance and efficiency. We provide an entire package of cooling towers and boiler treatment chemicals, speciality coagulants and flocculants as well as colour removal polyelectrolytes for waste treatment.

Ion Exchange resins are widely used not only for softening and demineralization, but also for colour removal. These resins compliment colour removal through chemical and biological processes. We supply a range of biological processes – aerobic and anaerobic. Our membrane system—both spiral and disc & tube ROs are used to enhance maximum recovery. We have invested in a state-of-the-art membrane manufacturing facility in Goa, which offers the widest range of membranes for all requirements of textile industry.

For complete ZLD, we offer a range of evaporators. All of these products and services are backed by 24x7 maintenance services thus providing 360 degree solutions for the water needs of the textile industry.

How has been the response from the industry in application of solutions in these areas? If any brief case study, please tell us.

There is a lack of awareness amongst the industry on available technologies and processes. Eg. A textile industry in Tirupur decided to opt for ZLD and many evaporators were sold to solve waste related problems. As you know, most of the evaporators failed. Unfortunately, the users suffered despite investments on such costly equipment.

Ion Exchange prefers to work with the customers like a consultant. We make them aware and advise them on the right technology option. As I mentioned earlier, we have the widest range of products/technologies, be it biological membrane, evaporation or ion exchange. We have all the technologies for wastewater treatment and recycle and we promote only the right product and technology. We supply pilots to establish proof of concept before finalizing the treatment processes.

We at Ion Exchange are very proud of our project at Welspun which is one of the biggest terry towel manufactures and the largest exporter of home textiles in the world. Welspun is situated in the highly arid Kutch region where freshwater is very scarce. Ion Exchange partnered with Welspun to design, erect and commission a sewage treatment and recycle plant along with operation and maintenance. We have supplied a state-of-the-art 30 MLD sewage treatment which now acts as an alternate source of water and a 2.4 MLD effluent recycle plant to help make available good quality recycled water for use by Welspun.

Wastewater management is crucial to attain sustainability at all levels. From your experience and perspectives, how do you rate India in this aspect compared to some countries in Europe and Asia? How can one compare the effluent management practices in India with other developing countries?

The standards that we have in India are as good as standards across the world. Even the compliance levels have increased immensely. I will say we have helped create several benchmarks using some of the best technologies and processes and are proud of our contributions in this sector.