May 02, 2022

Freshwater Reuse in Brazil

From reusing a brewery’s wastewater to storing rainwater from the wet season for use in the dry season, our Alumar location in Brazil reduced its freshwater consumption by 30 percent in two years. Typepad Image Curation Sustainability (7)

The location realigned its cross-functional Water Balance Team in 2020 to capture reuse opportunities.

Recent actions and the amount of freshwater saved in 2021 include:

  • Decreasing the amount of groundwater withdrawn by reusing the wastewater from a nearby brewery, which previously discharged the treated water to a local river (665,000 cubic meters)
  • Reusing 100 percent of the plant’s sanitary wastewater (600,000 cubic meters)
  • Pumping runoff water from a bauxite residue storage area and leachate from an onsite landfill pond to the refinery for reuse in the cooling systems. This also eliminated the need to chemically treat the wastewater, which the site previously discharged to a local water body post-treatment. (Approximately 120,000 cubic meters)
  • Storing rainwater collected in the wet season in bauxite residue areas, operational lakes and a freshwater lake for reuse in the dry season (410,000 cubic meters)

In addition to the 30-percent reduction in freshwater consumption since 2019, the reuse initiatives saved more than US$90,000 in water treatment costs in 2021 and reduced the environmental impacts of Alumar and the brewery through reuse of their discharged effluents. The location’s efforts, which received our internal EHS Excellence Award in 2021, have been shared with our locations globally.