Elias Bouvry's story
After one guest lecture by an engineer from Witteveen+Bos during his studies, Elias Bouvry (26, Ghent) knew he wanted to work with industrial water. But first he wanted to increase his knowledge. Elias now works as an industrial water project engineer, together with that very same guest lecturer.
‘Hugo Desmet, who’s now my colleague at Witteveen+Bos, gave us a lecture on how a water treatment plant works and put us all to work on a case: ‘This is the situation, here are the parameters, this is the objective. Produce a design.’ The field had an instant appeal – it’s a kind of puzzle with chemicals, substances and micro-organisms. Not long afterwards, someone told me about a vacancy at Witteveen+Bos: they were looking for an industrial water project engineer. It seemed like a great idea, but I didn’t think I knew enough about the field. I decided to expand my knowledge and skills in a two-year Environmental Technology master’s. Also, I wasn’t quite ready to leave my student life behind. I finally joined the company after graduating in 2019.’
‘I’ve learned that industrial water treatment is an indispensable process. If water that doesn’t meet the standards is discharged, it can have far-reaching consequences. Substances in water have to come from somewhere, and they have a direct relationship with what a company produces. In the worst case scenario, a factory will need to be shut down if we can’t get the water clean. Treating waste water is much more than an environmental awareness issue; water is absolutely essential. Companies take it very seriously.’
Working on location
‘For my work, I’m often on location at our clients’ premises. We regularly take over control of the treatment process. In those cases, we assume ultimate responsibility. Due to water scarcity, companies are increasingly reusing water. That’s great, but the downside is that discharged water is more concentrated and can be more contaminated. We’re learning more and more by continuously finding new solutions to meet all the quality requirements. I hope there’ll come a point when water no longer holds any secrets for me. But that’s probably wishful thinking, because requirements are becoming stricter all the time and technology is evolving. Industrial water is never boring.’
'Industrial water treatment is never boring'
- Elias Bouvry -