Water is a vital resource for all and a crucial issue in certain parts of the world. Alcoa therefore strives to reduce water consumption. Even though water is plentiful in Quebec, Alcoa Global Primary Products makes it a point to maintain water quality and eliminate all waste of drinking water.
Water does not enter directly into the process of aluminum electrolysis. It is used for domestic purposes and various types of cooling. Water discharge from a smelter consists mainly of surface runoff containing various contaminants.
The Deschambault Smelter’s water consumption is low since the plant design incorporated a rainwater capture and recycling system. Municipal drinking water is only used for sanitary purposes.
The Baie-Comeau and Bécancour smelters run closed-loop water management systems—which produce zero waste water—in their carbon plants. Casthouse cooling water is recycled several times, and only treated purge waters are discharged into the environment.
The Baie-Comeau Smelter draws bulk water from Chasse Lake, the municipal reservoir, and treats its own drinking water.
The Bécancour Smelter uses rough filtered water supplied by the Bécancour Industrial Park for cooling metal. Drinking water treated by the City of Bécancour is used for sanitary purposes and the rest of its process needs.