My Life in Water Treatment

Keshav BharadwajAt the start of my career, in the 70s, I worked for a manufacturer of starches that serviced the textile industry in Bombay and all over India. The textile industry requires vast amounts of water for their processes and over the course of my first job I picked up an interest in the effluent treatment side of things, soon switching over to water treatment chemicals. I helped in the technical troubleshooting and marketing of ion exchange resins, activated carbon, and what was then the very beginnings of the widespread use of polyelectrolyte polymers for flocculation. While I worked in India I represented such technical leaders in the field as Dupont, Allied Colloids and Norit to the sugar, mining and several other industries all over the country.

In the 80s I moved to the Middle East, handling the chemical cleaning, maintenance and troubleshooting of chilled water systems, boiler systems, cooling towers, industrial effluent treatment, and the ever present reverse osmosis desalination plants that continue to be the major source of sweet water for the entire Gulf region. In all these activities, I represented the technologies of Houseman, Bez Chemicals, and several others. Towards the end of that decade, I started working with a company that was closely tied to the petrochemical industry in Oman and so that got added to my widening field of activities.

Through the 90s, my servicing industries for water treatment continued, but there was an equal focus on petrochemical processes which were helped by my water-based expertise. Chemical and technology supplies for oil-water separation, drilling chemicals and related commodities such as bentonite and drilling polymers were my main areas of activity. All this required field experience at drilling sites, H2S safety training and some forays into hazardous chemical recovery and disposal in harsh desert conditions. During this time I worked with companies like Allied Colloids, Dearborn and Baker Petrolite in servicing Oman’s petroleum producing and refining industries, along with a wide variety of water treatment necessities.

Polymers returned to being a major part of my activities in the 2000s. Representing Ciba and eventually BASF I helmed the supply of polymer and other treatment chemicals to major municipal sewage treatment plants for many years of the decade. Other speciality interests continued in parallel with many services provided to the galvanising industry, and paper and food industries in the region to both streamline their process and manage their wastes.

For the past few years I’ve been an independent consultant to all the many industries I’ve served before and beyond. I’m currently taking my interest in effluent treatment further into the realms of newer green technologies, and the very promising futures of waste to energy methods. Water treatment continues to be my focus, because everything we do, produce and refine needs water, and we need our limited water resources to be treated the best that they can be.

Keshav Bharadwaj