An innovative scheme to cut water use has earned cement manufacturer Lafarge Cement two awards at the Environment Agency’s Water Efficiency Awards.
Cauldon cement works in Staffordshire won this year’s Water Save award, as well as the overall Chief Executive’s award.
Cauldon is one of six Lafarge Cement UK plants and produces 900,000 tonnes a year.
Historically, water was abstracted from the River Hamps and pumped 1km to the works. Dave Shenton, national environment manager for Lafarge Cement UK, says the river supported the works satisfactorily for 40 years and was able to meet the demand put upon it.
“But we knew that any extended dry spells meant the regulator could restrict our abstraction access. It’s also in an agricultural area and other discharges such as agricultural slurry could make the water unsuitable for abstraction. Our own facilities remove that risk,” he says.
Lafarge developed a lake from an exhausted shale quarry. Water is recirculated internally with the shale lake used as a storage facility. Consequently, water use has been cut from 290,000 cu m in 2006 to 15,000 cu m in 2008, and abstraction confined to topping up the lake in dry periods only.
The lake project is part of a series of environmental measures at Cauldon, with most of them so far targeting emissions and energy costs.