News - Asia

Black & Veatch (B&V) signed a four-year contract to work on a consultancy program to improve urban environmental management in Luizhou, the industrial center of the Guangxi Zhuang Zu Autonomous Region in China.

B&V project to improve Luizhou city environment

Black & Veatch (B&V) signed a four-year contract to work on a consultancy program to improve urban environmental management in Luizhou, the industrial center of the Guangxi Zhuang Zu Autonomous Region in China. Implementation of the Liuzhou Environmental Management Project will help land and water resources in the city recover from environmental degradation by improving wastewater management and treatment, transfer and collection of solid waste, and public lavatories.

“This contract is a direct result of Black & Veatch’s successful performance on the Guangxi Urban Environment Project, which is based in the two other urban centers in the region,” Black & Veatch Business Development Director Yanhua Wang said. The Management Office of the Liuzhou Environment Management Project is executing the project, funded by a World Bank loan and the Chinese government.

Liuzhou has a population of approximately 1.5 million and is the second largest city and the industrial center of the Guangxi Zhuang Zu Autonomous Region. An increasing population is placing the city’s urban infrastructure under stress, and the Liujiang River, the city’s main water resource, is heavily polluted from untreated industrial and municipal drainage discharges. The lack of adequate public sanitation poses health risks to city residents.

B&V will provide consultancy advice on design review and construction supervision for the program, which will include the construction of four wastewater treatment plants ranging in capacity from 25,000 to 150,000 m3/day, a municipal solid waste transfer station, 42 waste collection stations, and 60+ public lavatories. The project is scheduled for completion in 2009.

Treatment chemicals market growth highest in China

The water and wastewater treatment chemicals market will exceed US$ 22 billion by 2010 up from $18 billion in 2005, according to the McIlvaine report “Water and Wastewater Treatment Chemicals: World Markets.” China accounts for the biggest growth.

The power plant industry accounts for nearly one-third of the total market. This sector is growing at a rate faster than GDP due to the need to use coal instead of natural gas. Chemical sales to Chinese power plants will more than double over the next 10 years. Coal-fired power plants use four times the treatment chemicals used by gas turbine plants, and China plans to increase its coal-fired capacity by 300,000 MW, bringing its total to 700,000 MW over the next 15 years. China will also show the highest percentage gains in municipal water and wastewater and in the chemical industry.

Double-digit growth will occur in metal separation, odor control, and desalination. US regulations on metal working industry wastewater discharges will result in total yearly treatment costs, including equipment and chemicals of $2 billion. Municipal wastewater plants worldwide are accelerating odor control activities. Prevention of scaling on desalination membranes is a critical factor in turning seawater into drinking water.

Corrosion inhibitors will remain the largest product segment. Worldwide sales will increase from $4.2 billion this year to $5 billion in 2010. Organic flocculants will continue as the second largest category with 2006 sales of $3.2 billion rising to $3.8 billion in 2010. Scale inhibitors are the third largest segment. Sales will grow by $300 million to $3 billion from 2006 to 2010.

Structural changes in the industry include the divestiture of the largest treatment chemicals company. A consortium of private equity firms comprised of The Blackstone Group, Apollo Management, L.P., and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners acquired Ondeo Nalco ("Nalco") from Suez S.A. in a transaction valued at $4.2 billion. GE is the second largest supplier of water and wastewater treatment chemicals.

Arsenic poisoning originates from flooding, says NAS report

A new report from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( reports that arsenic found in groundwater in Bangladesh comes from surface-level contamination, such as flooding events.

This finding is contrary to the generally accepted view that arsenic in tubewells originates from underground deposits, which leach into well water drawn up for drinking water. The PNAS report explains that the only portion of the sediment profile with conditions indicative of arsenic in the analysis is in the surface or near-surface environment. These deposits of arsenic are carried by floodwaters deep into wells. The contamination occurs within the top five meters of soil and seeps through the earth and rocks from where it is pumped and used as potable water. High levels of arsenic consumed from drinking water can cause cancer.

Field Notes

Australia: Coastal flooding is expected to increase given research findings by Australian climate scientists that show global sea levels have been rising at an increasing rate over the past 130 years, according to CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research ( Dr. John Church and Dr. Neil White estimated changes in global mean sea levels since 1870 using information from tide gauges and measurements from satellites. The scientists published their findings in the science journal Geophysical Research Letters on 6 January 2006.

Dr. Church explained: “If the acceleration over the past 130-year period continues, we would expect sea level to be 280-340mm above its 1990 levels by 2100. This is consistent with the projections in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report.”

Church and White’s research indicates that recent sea-level rise began during the first half of the 19th century, when the global sea level was about 200mm below present levels. “This is consistent with estimates made from sea-level benchmarks carved in rock in Tasmania in 1840 and the height of ancient Roman fish tanks, implying that there had been little net change in sea level from the first century AD to 1800 AD,” Dr. Church said.

Australia:The global consultancy MWH acquired Liquid Earth, a consultancy firm based in Perth that provides hydrogeologic services to mining and industrial clients. “This transaction provides MWH with a significant presence in Western Australia that will enable us to further leverage our service capabilities in the South Asia Pacific natural resources market, in particular the environmental management of mining projects,” said Alan Krause, president of the Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Industry division of MWH. The company is based in Broomfield, Colorado, USA.

Doug Brown, the head of Liquid Earth, commented: “The combination of MWH and Liquid Earth will allow significant opportunities to apply our experience gained in mine site water management and to address the broader water resource challenges facing Australia.”

China:The Finnish company Vacon moved into its new, larger factory in Suzhou, China on 24 January 2006. The company has been operating in Beijing, China, since 2000, but Vacon founded a new factory in Suzhou four years later. Founded in 1993,Vacon manufactures AC drives in the power range of 0.25 kW...5 MW.

Increased production capacity will enable Vacon to respond to the growing demand in Asia and the Far East. Its factory expansion in Vaasa, Finland, completed in February 2006, will also increase production capacity.

China:The Chinese government reported on 29 December 2005 that an estimated 300 million people living in rural China drink water contaminated by chemicals and other health-threatening substances. Vice Minister for Water Resources E. Jingping said that the most common threat to water supplies, after drought, is chemical pollutants that contaminate the water supplies. The Xinhua News Agency reported that 90 percent of China’s cities use polluted underground water resources, and 136 Chinese cities are experiencing severe water shortages.

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