The changing face of wastewater with Hydroflux

When James Hall gives his opinion, the wastewater industry listens. A veteran of more than 20 years in the industry, he shares his thoughts on the development and changes he has seen.

When James Hall gives his opinion, the wastewater industry listens. A veteran of more than 20 years in the industry, he shares his thoughts on the development and changes he has seen.

Hydroflux director James Hall is a chemical engineer. He’s had various roles in and around the wastewater industry, including corporate management and technical consultancy. His extensive experience and understanding of the needs of businesses across Australia and New Zealand means Hall and Hydroflux can help companies achieve their sustainability goals. It means he and the company can also ensure that society’s water and wastewater treatment products and solutions align with its customers’ critical needs.

“I’ve always had an affiliation to water, including Sydney Harbour and the ocean,” said Hall. “I’ve also had an engineering background of sorts. As a child, I liked to pull things apart and put them back together as a problem-solving exercise.”

As he grew up, his parents would ask him the age-old question of what he would do when he grew up. While he did not have a direct answer then, Hall decided to put a few of his passions together.

“With my interest in water and my passions for engineering and problem-solving, it was inevitable that I wound up in the wastewater industry,” he said. “I studied chemical engineering at university and always had an eye on the environment. I fell into the wastewater industry, and, fortunately, I’ve stumbled into something I love.”

Industry adapting to change

In the eyes of Hall, the most significant change he has seen is how water is valued, specifically clean water.

“When I first started, water was just seen as something that was abundant and available,” he said. “There was no real cost associated with water. There was a cost of water disposal, as opposed to a cost of acquiring water.”

Over the past three decades, Hall has seen the industry shift to recognising water as a valuable resource. This is not just the case for the water industry but for companies across the corporate spectrum.

“The cost of water is now a significant part of the operations of many businesses,” said Hall. “That cost attracts attention and creates a desire to improve water use, water treatment and wastewater disposal. To take that to the next logical step, the industry model is moving away from treating water as a cost to reduce and shifting towards treating water as a valuable resource. That treatment results in an increased value and respect for water, and that’s also occurring at the societal level.”

Hydroflux at the cutting edge

Hall reflected on the attitude at Hydroflux. He focused on how the company has taken the approach of “Why can’t we do more?”

“Early on, Hydroflux focused on recycling and reusing water,” he said. “We also looked at how to take wastewater from food production systems and turn that back into potable water. That grabbed my interest as someone who loves water, the environment, and problem-solving because it’s not that simple. Hydroflux has taken that even further as now wastewater can be converted into potable and renewable water.”

When Hall refers to renewable water, he is looking at how water can be fed through a hydrogen electrolysis plant, turning it into ultra-pure water. By looking at that point, Hydroflux has fine-tuned the processes that run advanced systems.

“The other factor that has kept Hydroflux at the cutting edge is that it has become a more holistic business,” said Hall. “Hydroflux does not just look at wastewater. We are looking at where the water comes from and how we can enhance and improve it. We look at the entire water cycle, from the beginning right through to potential reuse and recycling.”

Future of the industry

Consolidating wastewater treatment plants could be the future of wastewater in Australia. Hall believes the country has room for developing wastewater treatment precincts to service large populations or multiple regional towns. He also sees Hydroflux continuing as a leader in the industry.

“There is a social accountability that is required of businesses these days,” he said. “It’s shown by action rather than words. Hydroflux is a climate-neutral business and advocates of water stewardship as part of its day-to-day life.“

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