With water becoming an increasingly scarce resource, restrictions on its use will become more and more common. As a result, Aperam has defined a -5% reduction target in terms of water consumption over 2015.
> Currently, all our action plans are site-specific. To ensure that each site’s water use matches its production needs, we are conducting thorough reviews of existing infrastructures, repairing leakages and providing better monitoring of consumption.
> Our Châtelet site requires large volumes of water to cool down slabs of hot rolled coils. This is done via a large water treatment facility that includes a vast open-air decanter. To improve its water usage, starting in 2016, the site revamped its ducts, repaired pumps and cleaned up its filtering system and tanks.
By 2017, drastic reductions in leakages, energy consumption and volume pumped from the nearby river were achieved. In fact, to-date, Châtelet operates with a 98% closed circuit consumption – not to mention a constant reduction in water intake.
> Our Isbergues site collects rainwater on a 27-hectare area and uses two water intakes from the local canal. This allows the site to report a 77% consumption in closed circuits for its Cold Rolling tool (LC2I), which is lower than the Group average, and an excellent 99% ratio for the Recyco unit. Following a recent study, the plant is looking for opportunities to further improve its recycling circuits and rainwater collection. For example, it is currently analysing extending its rainwater collection and rehabilitating a former decanter as an intermediate storage pool. Such actions could lead to a reduction in volume intake and drastically cut the site’s discharge, thereby also reducing the risks of accidental pollution.
> Despite these successes, there are areas for improvement. For example, some of the actions we implemented in Brazil have not provided the results we had hoped for. This is mainly due to a rise in production. With water consumption being directly tied to plant activity, we have not been able to offset our increase in production with sufficient progress in terms of intakes. Thus, after a continuous decreases from 2012 to 2015, in 2016 our consumption increased by 3% (and remained stable in 2017), with closed circuits down from 96.3% in 2016 to 95.3% in 2017.
> As reflected by our decision to report on water quality last year, we continue to monitor our discharge into nearby rivers. We aim to be able to report on our progress soon.