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Arvind Envisol’s Zero Liquid Discharge Plants Are Cleaning Up the World’s Wastewater

Arvind Envisol’s Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) wastewater technology is going places. The water-saving technology expanded beyond its native India in 2017, when the Arvind Limited subsidiary collaborated with the Ethiopian government to set up plants at Hawassa Industrial Park. In early June, Arvind Envisol announced a strategic partnership with Hong Kong’s Epic Group, one of the world’s leading garment manufacturers, to reduce the latter’s environmental footprint across Bangladesh, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Jordan and elsewhere in India.

“We are passionate about this partnership, as it will help boost sustainable water treatment solutions without hampering productivity,” Punit Lalbhai, chairman of Arvind Envisol, said in a statement. “Our capabilities in areas like water treatment, industrial effluent treatment across sectors and sewage treatment ensure that we contribute toward water conservation and reduce water pollution and wastage to a great extent. We are happy to enter into new geographies for our business with a partner such as Epic.”

Arvind Envisol’s ZLD process doesn’t just remove hazardous chemicals from effluent so it’s safe to discharge; the technology also “extracts good-quality water” that can be looped back into manufacturing, cutting back the need for freshwater, said Abhishek Tikmani, the company’s chief business officer.

Water scarcity has been the chief driver of increasing demand for ZLD, Tikmani said. With technology advancements over the past seven years, costs for the plants have come down. On average, clients can expect to recover their investments within three years, but he has seen customers shell out even without the guarantee of near-term returns. “These customers want to de-risk the chances where groundwater won’t be available in times to come,” he said.

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In places where new greenfield industrial operations are prohibited from tapping into the local groundwater, ZLD is the only remaining option. Arvind Envisol’s technology is also modular, meaning companies in disparate water-intensive industries like textiles, paper, dyes and leather can tailor systems according to specific demands and easily deploy tweaks or improvements, Tikmani said.

One challenge for the company? The sludge that is left behind after the final treatment. Arvind Envisol is currently working on ways to not only minimize its generation but also safely and economically dry and incinerate this waste. It may be close to a solution in the form of its Integrated Sludge Management System, which decreases the moisture percentage in the sludge by up to 90 percent.

“This sludge can be used for co-processing in cement industries or boilers,” Tikmani said.

For more on Sustaining Voices, which celebrates the efforts the apparel industry is making toward securing a more environmentally responsible future through creative innovations, scalable solutions and forward-thinking initiatives that are spinning intent into action, visit sustainingvoices.com.