Conserving water in the desert
Photo courtesy Earthwise Environmental
Earthwise Environmental worked with Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to significantly improve its water treatment and management.
- By Bob Miller, Founder and President, Earthwise Environmental Inc.
- August 24, 2011
When starting Earthwise Environmental, my goal was to work with clients who wanted to make their facilities’ water treatment greener, cleaner and safer, while reducing their use of water, chemicals and energy. We’ve had some great journeys and accomplishments, and one of our more interesting missions was to improve water use in a desert.
Phoenix (PHX) Sky Harbor International Airport came to Earthwise Environmental facing a five-percent water reduction mandate and asked us to take a look at a way to reuse their water for irrigation purposes. It was interesting to take a birds-eye view of this project and brainstorm on a wide range of solutions, but the deeper we dove into the situation, the more we realized, this number was just a tip of the iceberg in terms of what we could do to improve the airport’s and the area’s water situation.
Earthwise Environmental’s certified water technologists saw great potential to improve PHX Sky Harbor’s water-related infrastructure and environmental impact and suggested a comprehensive water audit, which would study more than just the irrigation project on the table. Several really innovative ideas came from that, including taking the dirtiest water – tower discharge – and cleaning it up for irrigation. From the studies we conducted, a tour of the location and the numbers PHX Sky Harbor provided, the best of all solutions was to pre-treat the fresh water entering the airport’s evaporative cooling systems with an Earthwise Environmental ion exchange system. In April 2010, we started a pilot program at the airport that changed the way water would be used at their facility – allowing water to be used in their system for a longer period of time, while reducing calcium and scale build-up on equipment components.
Since the pilot started, PHX Sky Harbor has achieved a 57-percent water savings in its air cargo complexes and is considering implementing similar measures throughout the airport, including the terminals. Saving water in a region where every drop counts is great for the environment and the airport’s bottom line – and extremely rewarding for me and the team at Earthwise Environmental.
To learn more about Earthwise Environmental and its water treatment solutions, visit www.earthwiseenvironmental.com.
Bob Miller founded Bensenville, Ill.-based Earthwise Environmental in 1995 to provide environmentally-sound, sustainable water management solutions to hospitals, schools, hotels, food processing plants, light industrial and commercial facilities. Miller has more than 30 years of hands-on experience as an industrial and commercial water management consultant. His company offers proactive programs designed to reduce water consumption, eliminate chemical usage, extend equipment life, provide waterborne disease protection and achieve energy savings.