Insight: Zero Liquid Discharge in Industries – Is it a viable option?


In this insight EBTC's Environment Sector Specialist, Mr. Monish Verma, looks at whether or not organisations should consider ZLD systems and how ZLD can be a lever for bottom-up projects.


Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) means that no liquid waste should leave the premises of an industrial unit.The definition may be simple, but the implementation of ZLD can be complex, and whilst the ZLD methodology is not a panacea for waste water disposal, it can definitely encourage industry units to comply with environmental regulations. 

There are two major considerations for implementing a ZLD system:

  1. Do pollutant streams have micro-contaminants; chemicals that despite primary treatment will pass through the system and can cause much harm to human life; flora, or fauna in the natural habitat when mixed with water sources?
  2. Are the industry units generally non-compliant and do not take effective measures to deploy waste water treatment solutions?

If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” then a ZLD framework is essential.

Is ZLD the only answer to the problem of industrial effluent?
It may well be the answer when an industry doesn’t comply with environmental norms. This certainly holds true in the case in the river basins of India, and ZLD has been strongly recommended by the consortium of 7 Indian Institutes of Technology in India’s first River Basin Plan for the Ganga for preventing wastewater from reaching the river and in turn stimulating innovation in dealing with wastewater.

Using ZLD as a lever, the European Business and Technology Centre (EBTC) and ETI Dynamics have started a process of innovative bottom-up project development for the Indian water sector

The EBTC Water Partnership for India

EBTC and ETI Dynamics are strategic partners for the India Water Development Programme (IWDP), and the EBTC Water Partnership for India (EWP-India) essentially seeks to deploy EU technologies and expertise in IWDP projects in key polluting industries such as pulp & paper, distilleries and tanneries in the Ganga river basin.

Around 39 IWDP projects are in different stages of development to directly address the opportunities uncovered by India’s first river basin plan for the Ganga. For instance, the major (toxic) polluting segments in the Ganga river basin are being approached differentially to develop projects that suit local needs and provide an optimal solution for each industrial subsector such as pulp & paper, distilleries and tanneries.

EWP-India was launched in 2013 to support the deployment of EU technology and expertise in IWDP’s innovative projects. EWP-India supports EU businesses, clusters, organisations, research institutes and platforms to establish their presence in India’s evolving water and wastewater subsectors. EBTC is an exclusive partner of IWDP for the EU.

The primary interest of EWP-India is to participate in the bottom-up public private partnership (PPP) structures that IWDP is structuring to be both viable and attractive for EU businesses to establish their business footprint in India.

Learn more and view exclusive projects for the EU

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