28 June 2022

Veolia’s water purification products and on-site service deliver guaranteed cost reductions and compliance

Submitted by CubicICE (PTY) Ltd
Veolia’s water purification products and on-site service deliver guaranteed cost reductions and compliance

Veolia Services Southern Africa, the global specialist in water purification and management, offers the pharmaceutical industry a range of solutions that deliver guaranteed cost reduction, enhanced utilities availability and regulatory compliance, as well as reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions.

The pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated, and all manufacturers must meet the compliance guidelines set out by the various pharmacopeia and industry bodies. The quality and purity of water – a key component of many medicines (and an essential resource for plant cooling and cleaning) – must be guaranteed. However, access to clean water is becoming increasingly costly and difficult to secure. “Water security and input cost are important sustainability factors for pharmaceutical manufacturers to consider. Therefore, it is crucial to employ advanced technologies that enable one to ‘get the most from every drop of water’,” explains Leon Xu, Business Development Manager, Veolia Services Southern Africa.

Water source quality remains a potential risk factor for plant performance. “With aging municipal water treatment infrastructure and increasing urban population, it has become increasingly challenging for the municipal works to maintain consistent quality at all times. To achieve uninterrupted production of purified water for production use, pharmaceutical manufacturers must ensure that their input water is monitored vigilantly, and that their purified water plants are operated and serviced diligently,” adds Miles Murray, Director: Business Development, Veolia Services Southern Africa.

Veolia’s solutions for the pharmaceutical industry deliver cost-savings and regulatory compliance, as well as improving access to high quality utilities (especially water). “All of our solutions for compendial water production are designed to meet the product quality specifications of all pharmacopeia requirements and guidelines – giving customers peace of mind and compliance assurance,” states Xu.

Water purification technology that delivers top-quality water supply, sustainably

Veolia recently implemented an ultrafiltration system for a pharmaceutical company whose purified water treatment plants were failing microbial quality tests. After implementing Veolia’s ultrafiltration system and replacing the purified water treatment system with Veolia Orion® technology, the company enjoys a secured supply of purified water, resulting from the robust treatment process and hot water sanitisation capability that were put in place.

Orion® is Veolia’s flagship technology that brings together all scientific advances made by Veolia for the pharmaceutical industry. This is a skid-mounted, multi-technology purified water production system that offers softening, reverse osmosis and continuous electrodeionisation (CEDI) that can be fully or partially hot water sanitised. “Depending on the model, the Orion® system produces between 500 and 20 000 litres of purified water per hour. As of today, more than 300 systems have been installed globally,” adds Murray.

Sustainability is at the core of Veolia’s water technologies for the pharmaceutical industry. Consider the Orion® S-Series, which has a recycle mode feature that limits water wastage during purification. During product recycling, the product flows are all reduced to nominal 50% of the flow, thereby resulting in less freshwater consumption. “A typical purified water system has an overall water recovery of 70%, which means 30 litres of water goes to drain for every 70 litres of purified water produced. In comparison, only 8 litres of water goes to drain for the same production volume, when an Orion® S-Series is employed, thanks to its higher recovery system of 90%,” explains Xu.

The technology includes an integrated recovery reverse osmosis (RO) which takes reject water and recovers waste to recycle, up to 90% overall recovery. It also features an RO Reject Recycle Pump that recycles and re-pressurises the RO rejects back into the high-pressure feed. Through pressure conservation, the overall energy requirement is greatly reduced.

Energy and water efficiencies are displayed on all Orion® models. This feature allows operators to monitor performance instantaneously and react quickly to any inefficiencies. In addition to the Orion®, Veolia offers the IonPROTM LX (a compact, plug-and-play system capable of producing a constant supply of 500 to 1 000 litres per hour of purified water, suitable for small-scale applications) and the Polaris water distiller, which produces water for injection and highly purified water.

On-site management services optimise plants

Veolia has worked with the largest multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers globally, not only as a provider of specialist and technical services, but also as a partner in the management of water, waste and energy.

“With access to global expertise and best practices across all industries, we give customers peace of mind with guaranteed cost reduction, improved utilities availability, regulatory compliance, and reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions. Our customers receive consistent risk appraisal, reporting and governance,” explains Xu. With a presence on-site, Veolia is able to provide value-added services such as optimisation studies in water usage, waste management and recycling.

Veolia services include:

Operation and maintenance of all utilities and infrastructure, including HVAC in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and non-GMP areas, solvent recovery facilities, water for injection (WFI) and steam production, cooling towers and chillersCalibration servicesOperation and maintenance of complete water cycleManagement of hazardous and non-hazardous Waste Lab Services


Digital platforms enable more efficient water management

Hubgrade – Veolia’s digital monitoring tool – has become extremely popular since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. It features a range of different service modules, ranging from basic data collection to a 24-hour support service from Veolia engineers. Embedded predictive maintenance features such as targeted alerts along with logs of previous maintenance can help staff to make informed decisions on minimum needs. “On the operational side, alarms can be divided into critical and non-critical ones to enable managers to take action quickly, appropriately and remotely, to mitigate risks,” explains Xu.

The Veolia team has seen a trend towards the outsourcing of non-core activities, such as water, waste and energy management, to companies with specialised expertise that can operate and maintain the facilities more effectively and proactively. “Besides cost-savings and regulatory compliance benefits, the access to guaranteed availability and quality utility supply is very attractive. This is because it truly allows the manufacturing sites to focus on their core business,” concludes Murray.

Image caption:  The Orion® purified water production system brings together all scientific advances made by Veolia for the pharmaceutical industry. It produces between 500 and 20 000 litres of purified water per hour.


Veolia group aims to be the benchmark company for ecological transformation. With nearly 220,000 employees worldwide, the Group designs and provides game-changing solutions that are both useful and practical for water, waste and energy management. Through its three complementary business activities, Veolia helps to develop access to resources, preserve available resources, and replenish them. In 2021, the Veolia group supplied 79 million people with drinking water and 61 million people with wastewater service, produced nearly 48 million megawatt hours of energy and treated 48 million metric tons of waste. Veolia Environnement (listed on Paris Euronext: VIE) recorded consolidated revenue of €28.508 billion in 2021.  

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