AZoCleantech speaks to Dr. Claire Rossouw, Technical Support Manager at OMEX Environmental, about wastewater treatment, the products and solutions that OMEX Environmental provides, and sustainability.
Please can you introduce yourself and tell us about your professional background and your current role at OMEX?
I am Dr. Claire Rossouw. I completed my Ph.D. studies in 2017 in Chemistry. My research focused on developing a specialized lithium iron phosphate material to improve the stability, cyclability, and capacity of lithium-ion batteries and lithium-ion capacitors. I also worked at WMG at the University of Warwick in Coventry as a Research Fellow focusing on using 2D materials in the fabrication of 3D electrodes in the energy storage field. I previously worked as a technical salesperson selling laboratory equipment and later as technical support in the wastewater and cooling water industries.
My role at OMEX Environmental is exciting and diverse. I manage the day-to-day laboratory operations and staff to ensure accurate and traceable results in a reasonable turnaround time. I am involved in all product development work, from developing new products for the market to fine-tuning existing products to proving our product capabilities. I work with our sales team and technically support them in both the Biogas and Wastewater industries while maintaining my own customer base.
Please tell us about the background, aims, and core values of OMEX Environmental?
OMEX was established in 1976 and has over 45 years of experience, operating in over 25 countries worldwide. Our aim is to develop and market the most effective scientifically proven products and services for agriculture and industry, maximizing efficiency for our customers while minimizing environmental impact. Our core values are working closely with industry to reduce environmental impact, treat waste and help optimize operational performance.
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OMEX Environmental refers to itself as "wastewater treatment experts." How does the work you do qualify this statement, and what sort of solutions do you offer to the wastewater treatment industry?
With over 30 years of experience, we have a vast knowledge of what is needed for wastewater treatment plants to operate at their maximum potential. OMEX products are designed to help you operate in a safe and environmentally friendly manner to ensure that any wastewater released into sewer systems, lakes, streams, or other surface waters is neutralized before allowing it to be discharged or treated further in biological processes, such as anaerobic or activated sludge. Helping companies avoid fines and other costly consequences that can result from effluent discharge. We offer technical support and advice from the very start of business.
Your wastewater treatment range covers 4 key areas of wastewater treatment; acidic, biological, sludge, and septicity control. Could you provide an overview of each of these areas and the products you provide that apply to each area?
Industrial treatment processes can produce acidic wastewater streams, which must be neutralized before discharge to meet pH, metal, and other trade effluent discharge consents. We supply Magmex, an environmentally friendly pH neutralizer and a safe alternative to the traditional use of caustic soda and lime, helping industries to meet these consent parameters. Magmex helps improve the process by reducing sludge volumes, improving flocculation, and naturally buffering at around pH 9-9.5, meaning biological plants are safe from overdose.
Treatment and disposal of sewage sludge are major factors in the operation of all wastewater treatment plants. Two basic goals of treating sludge before final disposal are reducing its volume and stabilizing the organic materials. OMEX offer our Ferromex range, combinations of inorganic iron, complex iron, and bio-available trace elements created for activated sludge and other aerobic plants to assist with sludge settlement, flocculation, and to improve a plant's biological health
Nutritionally speaking, most wastewater biology is unbalanced. To ensure optimal performance for the microbial population, their diet needs to be balanced, and the most likely macronutrients to be deficient are Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorous (P). Nutromex N&P strengthens the biology, stabilizes performance, and enables a more effective breakdown of the organic content in the raw wastewater.
Without suitable treatment, sewage and wastewater can damage the environment and create public health problems. One of the problems associated with this is odor complaints caused when bacteria in the wastewater utilize all the available oxygen and reduce any sulfates present to sulfides. OMEX supplies a range of sodium nitrate and calcium nitrate solutions to help prevent these issues which can occur.
You recently attended CHEM UK; what are the benefits of such tradeshows for OMEX Environmental?
It's great to attend these trade shows to keep our name out there, meet with our current customers, and advise potential customers on how we can help them. It is also great for us to keep up to date with the current market trends and to see what else is out there and if there are any new potential businesses we can help.
Why is treating wastewater sustainably important, and how does OMEX Environmental ensure it is as sustainable as possible?
Eco-friendly water treatment is an important process, as treated or recycled water can be reused and not simply disposed of. OMEX Environmental provides a range of products and technical support to cover the entire treatment process fully. An example of some of the work that we have done includes laboratory studies and research into the use of some of our different products in the removal of phosphorous from treated water to meet the Total Phosphorous Target. Different pH ranges and flocculation can be achieved using our different products.
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Not only is water a precious resource but the environment that this water enters, whether fresh or waste, also needs to be protected. OMEX Environmental sells products that are more environmentally and user-friendly. OMEX Environmental also looks at ways to complete the sustainability cycle, such as ensuring that our biproducts after treatment can be used in the fertilizer industry, for example.
Considering factors like rapid population growth and intensified industrial activities, what does the future of wastewater treatment look like, and how does OMEX Environmental intend to respond to future challenges?
As the population grows and the industrial activities intensify, the wastewater treatment demand will become greater, as water is a limited resource. OMEX Environmental is fully prepared to deal with these demands as we continuously monitor what is happening around us and develop answers to meet those challenges. OMEX Environmental will tackle these challenges from an economic, social, and environmental perspective to ensure sustainable solutions.
What are the next steps for you and OMEX Environmental?
The next steps are to further grow the OMEX Environmental laboratory in the support and services that we can provide and assist OMEX Environmental in meeting all its targets in supporting our customers and the environment.
Where can readers find more information?
About Dr. Claire Rossouw
Technical Support Manager at OMEX Environmental overseeing the laboratory activities, ensuring continuous product development and research within our field, while maintaining and supporting the OMEX Environmental sales team and the wide range of customers. Qualified with a Ph.D. in Chemistry with experience in technical sales and support in the wastewater industry.
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