Firms join forces to rethink waste water treatment

30 Sep 2010

A new deal between US and Irish waste water specialists could see the firms dramatically change the sludge process, according to

US multi-national Rockwell Automation, and Dublin-based firm, SCFI – who develop environmental technology solutions in the renewable energy field, wet waste processing and materials recovery – have made a deal on what they believe will “replace expensive and wasteful practices for disposing of waste water”.

The method could have particular applications to the pharmaceutical industry as EU rules dictate that water, contaminated with solvent-like products, must be destroyed and restricted from re-entering the environment.

According to Rockwell, the process consists of using super critical water oxidation that results in almost 100pc solubility for gases and organic compounds. The waste water sludge is heated to 374C and pressurised to a 221 bar to creating super critical water oxidation – known as a fourth state.


As the oxidation occurs in the “water phase”, the process does not have the air emissions associated with incineration.

“This technology is particularly timely as it can replace expensive and wasteful practices for disposing of waste water that cannot be treated in a traditional way under tight EU regulations,” said Rockwell’s water and wastewater industry business manager, Vincent Guillaumie.

Supercritical water oxidation is demonstrates extremely efficient organic waste destruction (99.99pc), according to SCFI, and excellent environmental characteristics. The process is especially suitable for the treatment of wastewater and sludge from domestic sewage, the paper, pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industries.