Are regulations putting a squeeze on your business, project or occupation?
No matter what industry you are in, when it comes to water related regulations, challenges exist – but have you considered the risky consequences of delayed or non-compliance?
Lets run through some basics:
Q: What is ‘compliance’? A: Compliance is the action or fact of complying with a command, and in the context of the this article, that means regulation/s.
Following are some areas where regulations may apply to water intensive businesses and of course treatment plant owners. And a regulation under these examples have been legislated meaning they are enforceable under law.
Discharge of water to the environment – EPA regulations
Discharge of wastewater to sewer – Water Utility regulations
Quality of water for use in a process – Internal regulations or relevant Drinking Water Guidelines and State Legislation – e.g. Safe Drinking Water Act
Odour emitted from wastewater – EPA regulations
Wastewater treated for reuse – Health , EPA regulations
If you happen to recognise all or even only one of the above as affecting you, the most critical challenge facing you today are changing regulations due to stricter limitations being placed on certain quality parameters, volumes & new constituents being regulated.
For industrial wastewater & municipal STP’s, as a case in point, this means some systems designed even just 10 years ago may no longer meet new nutrient reduction requirements for environmental discharge.
So what do some of the potential penalties from non-compliance look like?
Significant $$$ CAPEX to address the issue
Fines and lawsuits
Official notices of non-compliance that stay on record
Human health and environmental risks
Erosion of stock value and shareholder value
Unwanted negative media exposure to the community
Direct loss of income or net income due to fines or new remediation activities
Loss of property values
Extended loss of time, focus and productivity
Increased insurance premiums
So what makes it so hard to address known compliance issues for a water intensive business? From our time talking to those at the coal face, here are some of the top reasons we’ve heard:
Cost. The cost of undertaking a capital project cannot be justified right now
We have no capital
Unsure if we will remain at this site, so its band-aid fixes for now
We’ve got a good inspector
It’s too risky to undertake the type of project needed to solve the problem
What about the long term if the goal posts keep changing?
Whilst on the surface these responses are very understandable, as can be seen in the list of how your business is penalised, the cost of action is deeper and more serious that it may seem when reacting to regulatory pressure rather than acting on initiative.
The good news is that Waterform Technologies are actively solving these very regulation related challenges for a wide range of clients and in some cases even generating a pay-back, with the use of innovative reuse technologies rather than just a treat and discharge strategy.
Often all that is needed to secure commitment and funding is a round table meeting with all stakeholders to explain how this approach will solve the issues at hand and articulate the long term benefits and a possible pay-back.
Offering key skills around risk management, and a turnkey service, our approach is helping secure water security and compliance for businesses across Australia.
You can read about how Darling Ingredients (Sonac Australia) dealt with their regulatory compliance issues on this article published on Linkedin – click the link below. Or, you can browse our blog to see how we have assisting water authorities with meeting compliance requirements related to pathogens.