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Coal remains New South Wales’ most valuable export contributing a worth of $13.9 billion in 2012 according to the NSW Government’s the most recent Trade and Investment Report. At the forefront of current industry discussion is the issue of how coal mining corporations can mitigate environmental and social impacts of mining processes to develop principles of ecologically sustainable development in accordance with Government standard.

The greatest environmental challenge for these corporations is the responsible management of water on and off site. There is increasing concern at a national scale for the careful treatment of this scarce commodity.

Within the New South Wales Hunter Region, Hunter Irrigation & Water Solutions have been providing innovative and assured water management solutions for over 25 years. The business model has successfully evolved over the last ten years from a previous core focus on commercial and rural irrigation technologies to now specialise in the treatment of polluted water produced through industrial processes. The new Industrial division, Hunter Industrial Water Solutions (HIWS), specialises in process water filtration, dosing systems, and wastewater treatment systems. Senior Mechanical Engineer John Chambers discusses the technologies which have been most frequently utilised within the company’s recent projects.

John Chambers, HIWS

At HIWS, process water filtration is our most frequently requested service. Particularly suitable for the removal of fine particles are the range of highly sophisticated, yet easy to operate line filters. Equipped with an automatic self-cleaning mechanism driven either hydraulically or by an electric motor, flows of up to 400m3/hr (111LPS) are possible with screens designed to cover a range of 10-800 microns to suit most filtration applications.

When it comes to water clarification, a range of portable water clarifiers based on the ‘lamella’ principle for the sedimentation of fine particles out of polluted water are now available and have proven highly successful. Typical operating range is 1-50m3/hr which is ideal for temporary work on a construction site.

Polluted waters rich in minerals and general run-off typical of industrial process water can be treated successfully through aeration. We have installed a number of pontoon-mounted aerators throughout the Hunter Region which reduce the proliferation of plant-life algae, restoring the dissolved oxygen content of storage or dam water to desired levels. As an example a 1/2kw electric motor unit will induct up to 1kg of oxygen to the polluted water in 1 hour. Many of our industrial customers require this type of treatment to comply with the Australian Water Quality Guidelines for Fresh and Clean Water (ANZECC, 1992) and the Department of Land and Water Conservation Groundwater Monitoring Program Standard.

HIWS have recently established a new premises at Rutherford which is solely dedicated to servicing their industrial customer base, expanding the company’s presence throughout the Hunter Region from the original four retail and service branches at Maitland, Singleton, Scone and Raymond Terrace. Industrial Services Manager Ron Stephenson recognized the need for this change, “with the increase in demand for a fast and efficient response to the industrial sector, it was time for us to establish a team of people specifically dedicated to servicing industry within the Hunter.”  HIWS offers a team of experienced and qualified personnel who continue to offer quality and innovative water management solutions to the Hunter Region.

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