Sustainable development of wastewater infrastructure, GT Daigger, D Burack, V Rubino

Wastewater management and sustainability, GT Daigger, D Burack, V Rubino

Pollution prevention applies to wastewater treatment, KN Irvine, TR Hersey Jr, MC Rossi, J Caruso, JE Jordan

Educating for sustainability, A Ahmadi

Energize with state-of-the-art technologies, BR Klett, RJ Wilson

Sustainability for New York's drinking water, TA Endreny

The “greening” of the building industry, MA Stallone

Water conservation in a water-intensive industry, G. Wainwright

Sustainable design at NYCDEP, P Zimmerman, J Tyler, VJ DeSantis,N Ramanan

People and places

  Fall 2001 — Vol. 31, No. 3

Water conservation in a water-intensive industry

by Gary Wainwright

Eastman Kodak Company manufactures photographic film and paper products for industry, medicine, government and home consumer uses. The Kodak Park facility in Rochester supports nearly half of Kodak's worldwide production of imaging materials. The site covers some 1300 acres and stretches for nearly 4 miles. It has some 15,000 employees, over 150 manufacturing buildings, and 30 miles of roadways.
Kodak park: a “city within a city”

Kodak operates its own fire department, railroad and bus service, and a fleet of over a thousand vehicles. The manufacturing processes require an infrastructure of dedicated water and wastewater treatment facilities, their own water and sewer lines, and no less than two electricity and steam generating power plants to provide for their utility needs.

Photographic film- and paper-making processes are water-intensive by their nature. Including power and utilities needs, water consumption amounted to an average of 33 million gallons per day (MGD) in the baseline year of 1997. More than 80% of this water is returned to the environment through a discharge to the Genesee River following on-site secondary wastewater treatment.

In 1999, Kodak Park certified its environmental management system under ISO 14001. At the same time, senior company management established a series of worldwide environmental goals for the entire company (see charts). These goals were to be achieved within 5 years. The targets apply worldwide, yes, but each manufacturing site is also measured on its individual contributions.

These goals cover both emission reductions and natural resource conservation. In particular, Kodak established a goal requiring a 15% reduction in water usage on a production-indexed basis by year-end 2003. All these environmental goals use 1997 as a baseline year.

The primary source of water for Kodak Park operations has been nearby Lake Ontario. At Kodak Park, water has traditionally been viewed as a cheap and plentiful resource. As a responsible member of the community, Kodak Park has been actively recycling materials, such as silver, since the early 1920s. Kodak also became a charter member of USEPA's WasteWi$e program in 1994. The company's focus on opportunities to reduce water consumption was a logical extension of these conservation activities.

Genesis of the conservation effort

Initially, a small team was formed to promote water conservation and to collect data on where and how the water was used. By applying six-sigma quality improvement tools, this team identified a number of reduction opportunities. The cost-savings realized by implementing these ideas demonstrated that conservation had not only an environmental benefit but a financial advantage as well.

The initial team was expanded to include representatives from every major department in the facility. While collecting data on large opportunities requiring capital investment, the expanded team facilitated the completion of a number of minor projects to progress faster toward the 15% goal. Sub-teams in many departments have taken charge of local project identification and execution. The team has also persuaded a number of departments to include water usage on their operational performance matrices. Data on water usage is collected on a monthly basis and departments receive feedback in the form of Pareto and trend charts.

These actions proved to be the biggest breakthrough in changing the traditional views on water as a resource. Constantly measured on usage against a 1997 baseline, departments are actively seeking ways to cut back. In addition, the team meets monthly to discuss progress, exchange ideas and learn about water usage in other departments.

Benefits from conservation of water

More than 60% of Kodak Park's water is used in cooling applications, either directly in manufacturing processes or in utility cooling towers that support manufacturing. Some of the largest savings, then, come from finding reuse opportunities for single-pass cooling water and ensuring that steam condensate is returned to the power house rather than to the sewer. Significant savings have also been realized by optimizing control and by repairing or replacing valves. Other savings have come from consolidation of manufacturing facilities.

How does consolidation affect water conservation? Efforts to implement the 5-year goal program—the waste conservation efforts and water and energy reduction investigations—have fostered the development of industrial processes that are now much leaner and quicker than were past processes. These new processes, therefore, can be carried out in less real estate, sharing the resources with similar processes, and taking advantage of the ability to share utilities. Even more savings are thus realized. In fact as Kodak progresses, it is learning that its efforts toward one goal often contribute to one or more of the others.

An early success for the water conservation program involved the installation of a closed-loop chilled-water system to replace single-pass process vessel cooling in a large manufacturing area.

Kodak also learned that many smaller projects could often be applied, thus creating a leveraging effect. For example, in one building, a number of sample ports are directed to a sink in the control room for monitoring various stages of a waste treatment and recovery operation. The faucet over this sink was kept running 24 hr/day to prevent the sink's drain being blocked, due to the nature of one of the samples. The faucet provided water at a rate of around 3 gal/min, which is typical, but in continuous use it was consuming over 1.5 million gal/yr.

Another sample line in the sink is used to check the wastewater flowing to the sewer. By re-plumbing the line so that this sample continuously flowed into the sink, the clean water faucet could be closed. Immediate savings were achieved.

Through June of 2001, Kodak Park has been consuming an averaging of just 26.5 MGD—down 16.5% from the 1997 baseline. Despite having already exceeded its 2003 goal of a 15% reduction, Kodak Park will continue to make further water conservation reductions. As a result of seeing the power of innovation by employees when they understand the company's long-term goals, Kodak is already discussing how to establish a new series of worldwide environmental goals for the next 5 years, to take the company well beyond 2003.
Gary Wainwright is a senior process engineer with Kodak in Rochester.

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