Water and Waste Technology Industry Review
The harmful impact of waste streams of all types on the environment is hard to overstate. Waste is produced continually and with each passing year the quality of many global resources measurably deteriorates. Government regulations, public demand and increased industrial commitment to a clean environment have created a multibillion-dollar in waste and water treatment. The imperative is simple: produce less waste, implement cleaner processes and clean up the messes of the past.
Individuals, communities, industries and nations are striving for ways to remove pollutants from drinking water sources, reduce levels of harmful and toxic discharges, and reclaim and reuse by-products, raw materials and even water from various waste streams. The drive to keep essential resources available and suitable for use has sparked the development of a growing market for innovative solutions for treating potable water, wastewater, air and soil, and for handling solid and toxic waste. Increasingly, technological advances are responding to the demand. In fact, the proliferation of advanced environmental technologies, products and processes adds up to new opportunities, as well as new challenges.
Water supply and water purity have never been more important. Virtually every municipality and every industry is affected. Wastewater quality rules are becoming ever more stringent, complex and costly. Companies and communities of all sizes must meet federal Clean Water Act standards and sometimes a maze of state and local regulations, as well. And effluent is by no means the only water issue. Faced with more polluted water sources, municipalities are subject to increasingly strict Safe Drinking Water Act laws that regulate contaminants in potable water. Therefore, most companies are finding they must clean their water both before and after they use it.
Power plants, chemical manufacturers, pulp mills and other industrial users also are seeking ways to reduce atmospheric emissions of particulate, sulfur, carbon, nitrogen, mercury, volatile organic compounds and other gases. The international Kyoto Protocol agreement and impending U.S. regulations are spurring the sale of air pollution control equipment for these point sources as well as non-point emissions from vehicle engines and non-road mobile sources.
In most developed nations, the solid and hazwaste markets are mature industries with excess handling capacity and low profitability. Expenditures on hazardous waste treatment: chemical, metal, medical, nuclear, etc. is focused increasingly on source reduction to minimize waste volumes and keep costs under control. In the European Union, especially, new initiatives are directing hazwaste away from landfills, imposing more stringent laws for waste treatment and incineration, and adding to the number of types of waste designated as hazardous. Technological advances are not a major factor in shaping solid waste management. Opportunities still exist in the markets of developing countries.
The world market for water and waste treatment technologies is estimated at nearly $550 billion in 2004. Forecast to grow at an average annual growth rate of 2.2 % over the next five years, this market is likely to reach $615 billion by 2009. The forecast includes annual sales of equipment and services related to water/wastewater, air pollution, solid and hazardous waste, recycling and remediation.
There is no shortage of emerging cost-cutting technology. Almost daily, equipment and instrument makers, as well as industry and academic researchers, announce new ways to monitor quality, remove contaminants and recycle water and wastes. But finding the proper alternatives¾at the right price¾can be bewildering. This anthology keeps readers abreast of the rapid technology developments, which characterize the entire environmental technology industry.