Water treatment solutions

WA environmental engineering company Occtech Engineering has developed a water treatment facility that will be used to research the treatment of low level radioactive wastes.

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation will use the plant to treat waste from its Lucas Heights laboratories in NSW.

The plant will filter out radioactive material to leave clean, re-useable water.

ANSTO senior process engineer Geoff Tapsell said his organisation had scoured the world looking for a product that met its requirements.

Occtech has been working on water treatment solutions, and particularly its membrane technology, for the past 15 years.

The most widely known application of the technology is reverse osmosis for the desalination of brackish water and seawater.

Indeed, some of Occtech’s work has been in the production of drinking water, particularly in remote areas.

It has supplied water purification plants to the Barrel Well Aboriginal Community north of Geraldton and the Yulara community near Uluru.

The company even built a cyanide recovery unit for Ticor Chemicals in Queensland.

Its technology also has been applied to the wine and dairy industries. Peters & Brownes dairy uses an Occtech unit in its milk processing operations and to treat its effluent.

Occtech director Sue Macintosh said the cyanide recovery unit was a world first for the company.

“It’s a very sophisticated filtering system,” she said.

Ms Macintosh described the company’s engineers as “supreme environmental types”.

“I think we’re about the only people outside the universities who are doing research into membrane technologies,” she said.

“Engineers like doing tricky things and this technology’s a little trickier than most.

“But the plants are designed so you don’t need trained people to run them.”

The company does everything from developing solutions to a client’s water purity problem, to manufacturing and product support.

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