Case study: Technology solving lead problems

Wednesday, 17 September, 2008

The use of lead-based paints for infrastructure protection (roads and bridges) has been widespread for many years. The problem with these paints arises during periodic maintenance and repainting, when the structures are water blasted.

Historically, lead-contaminated water generated from this process was simply discharged into the local environment, without treatment. Now, an innovation from Virotec has enabled the effective collection, treatment and re-use of this water.

For the last four months, Virotec has been collecting lead-contaminated water from a railway bridge maintenance site. This contaminated water is transferred via vacuum tanker to an off-site treatment facility where ViroFlow Technology is applied.

The technology incorporates the use of the ElectroBind reagent, which is claimed to be an environmentally safe reagent that effectively removes all soluble lead from the water and forms a dense solid precipitate that can be classed as an inert waste. The resulting treated water is free from lead and other contaminants produced from the bridge maintenance.

The treated water is later re-used for a beneficial purpose. Specifically, the treated water (after validation) is used at a local composting facility as an essential ingredient for the composting process. The re-use effectively lowers the need for external water to be used. Virotec is currently treating and re-using approximately 10,000 litres per month.

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