EghtesadOnline: Isfahan Oil Refining Company's wastewater treatment unit has started operations to help address the water problems of the refinery, the managing director said.
"The plant, with a capacity of 750 cubic meters per hour, was cost $8 million and was built in in two years," Morteza Ebrahimi was quoted as saying by IRNA on Monday.
He said the refinery buys wastewater from towns like Shahin Shahr in the vicinity of the company, according to Financial Tribune.
“The municipal wastewater is directed into the refinery and reused after being treated in the new plant,” he added.
Ebrahimi had earlier warned that the refinery would have to either reduce or stop production if the worsening water crisis in the refinery was not resolved.
The huge refinery consumes 1,000 cubic meters of water per hour, of which 700 cm is recycled and reused.
"We have been grappling with water scarcity issues for a long time," he said, adding that the company processes 375,000 barrels of crude per day and this cannot be sustained for long unless the refining units have enough water.
Located in the arid regions of Iran with minimal precipitation, Isfahan Province has been struggling with drought for seven years.
According to Mohsen Mehralizadeh, governor general of the province, water flow into Zayandehroud Dam was 1.2 billion cubic meters in 2017, which has now declined to 400 million cubic meters.
"Of the total flow, 320 mcm are used for drinking purposes and the rest for industries," he said, noting that due to the dramatic decline in precipitation, industries have to reduce water consumption by at least 25%.
Zayandehroud originates in the mountains of Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari Province and flows eastward toward Isfahan before ending up in the famous Gavkhouni Wetland.
Officials say Isfahan's struggle with drought makes it difficult to supply farms with dam water while upholding the water rights of Zayandehroud and Gavkhouni. Unrestrained urbanization, outdated farming practices and the presence of water-intensive industries such as Mobarakeh Steel Company have put undue pressure on the province's dwindling water reserves.
Isfahan refinery accounts for 23% of the country's oil derivatives and produces 8 million liters of Euro-4 quality gasoline a day.
Data released by the Energy Ministry indicate that the water crisis threatens 233 cities and towns in Iran that is why tapping into non-conventional resources (drainage water, water containing toxic elements, sediments and treated or untreated wastewater effluent) has become a compulsion to help reduce the gap between water supply and demand.
Close to 4.3 billion cubic meters of effluent is produced in the country annually, of which less than one bcm is treated in 232 treatment plants.
It is reported that 3.3 bcm of sewage goes to waste (either channeled into rivers or penetrates into the ground) because of the lack of wastewater infrastructure.
Communities near municipal sewage outflows or contaminated water sources (mostly suburban areas) are at the highest risk of illness due to increased microbial pathogens and deteriorating physico-chemical parameters
Wastewater reuse has become an integral part of water demand management, promoting protection of high quality fresh water and reducing environmental pollution.
From time immemorial people have dumped sewage into waterways, relying on natural purification by dilution and by natural bacterial breakdown. Population increases have resulted in bigger volumes of domestic and industrial wastewater, requiring that people give nature a helping hand.