Environmental preservation efforts
Dead Sea Works Ltd. produces about 3 million tons of potash and about 250,000 tons of salt in various forms (table salt, salt for electrolysis, and crude pan salt). In addition, DSW produces bath salts based on natural minerals from the Dead Sea.
Three principles are in the basis of DSW's environmental preservation efforts.
- The economy principle - the more raw materials and energy that are saved, less pollution would be caused.
- The recycling principle - every chemical industry produces byproducts. Reusing these byproducts and turning them into final products benefits the environment.
- The pollution prevention principle - if, in spite of all the effort, there still are residuals of raw material, they should be returned to their natural place, in order not to pile up waste. Materials that, in the course of the production process, become hazardous to the environment are transferred to the hazardous waste dumpsite in Ramat Hovav, which is authorized and supervised by the legal authorities. There, the hazardous materials are stored and taken care of, for a fee.
The economy principle
DSW produces the basic mineral carnallite by means of solar evaporation. As a result of this process, the Dead Sea waters pumped into the evaporation ponds become concentrated, and the carnallite precipitates. The annual rate of evaporation is between 120-130 million cubic meters of water. Using fossil fuels instead of solar energy in order to evaporate this amount of water would require about 10 million tons of coal. This would mean tripling the annual consumption of coal in Israel.
DSW operates a unique and one of the most efficient power plants in Israel and worldwide. As opposed to conventional liquid fuel power plants that have efficiency rates of 30 to 40% (total thermal efficiency), DSW's power plant, using the caloric value of low-pressure steam for heating chemical reactions as well as other unique combinations, has an efficiency rate of 80%, a figure unequalled worldwide.
Using 27 tons of fuel per hour, the DSW power plant produces 110mW of electricity and 120 tons of steam, for different uses and manufacturing processes.
Cutting down water consumption
In the 1970s DSW produced about 1.2 millions tons of potash using 18 cubic meters of water. Today, the production of potash is approximately 3 million tons of potash, while water consumption has been reduced dramatically. This was a result of changes and improvements done over the last two decades.
In addition, DSW uses extremely saline water that is of no use for any other purpose, the quality of which ranges between 1,000 and 10,000 milligrams of T.D.S (compared to 200-300 milligrams of T.D.S. which is the standard for drinking water). Using low quality water saves high-quality aquifer water that can be used for household consumption.
The recycling principle
Reusing the emulsion after the extraction of the carnallite - these emulsions are very rich in magnesium chloride. The emulsions are reused to produce:
After the carnallite is extracted and removed from the Dead Sea water, the remaining crude salt, the byproduct of the process, is used to produce:
- Table salt
- Salt for electrolysis
- Industrial salts
DSW also supplies raw materials for magnesium manufacturers, for the production of metal magnesium. The byproduct of the process, electrolyte rich in potash and salt, is returned to the potash plant, where it is processed to manufacture potash and salt.
The pollution prevention principle
Air quality: DSW limits the emissions from the chimneys installed in the plants to the necessary minimum. Four monitoring stations were built around the different DSW plants in order to monitor and examine the quality of the air. Two of the stations are located in Sdom, and two in the loading dock in the Ashdod port. The monitoring stations measure the levels of SO2 (sulfur dioxides), NOX (nitrogen oxides), and floating dust. Over the five years of the stations' operation, the measured levels of pollutants complied with the Israeli standard as well as all other known international standards. The levels set by law have never exceeded. DSW made all of the data available to the public. The data is also transmitted on-line to the Eastern-Negev environmental unit, as well as to the Ministry of Environment.
Liquid wastes: DSW's liquid wastes are clean, and are channeled to the Dead Sea by as permitted by the authorities. The permission was granted following the compliance with the meticulous requirements of the Ministry of Environment. According to a survey presented to the Ministry, the permission was given according to the "pollution of the sea by inland sources" law. This law is in essence the implementation of the Barcelona Protocol regarding the preservation of the Mediterranean basin. The State of Israel applied the limitations also over the Dead Sea. DSW has kept law to the letter.
Solid waste: Office and residential waste is transported to the municipal council, and is treated according to the standard guidelines. Paper and cardboard are recycled. The organic waste is compressed and transferred to the municipal council. Liquid waste is biologically treated together with sanitary sewage. Scrap metal is sorted and sold for melting and recycling.
DSW has implemented EMS (Environmental Management System) and is certified to ISO 14001. The company is committed to minimizing its environmental effects, to implement and maintain an Environmental Management System in compliance with ISO 14001 and to act in order to achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.
Company Management and all company employees consider themselves responsible for, committed to and involved in all efforts to ensure environmental quality and to implement company's Environmental Policy.
Membership in organizations
DSW is a member of the Israeli Industrialists' Association. Recently, together with other members in the association, we signed a treaty committing us to preserve the quality of the air in Israel.
Cooperation with the community
DSW conducts workshops for high school students during which the students conduct field surveys, study about the Dead Sea and about environment preservation technologies. These workshops are operated in cooperation with the department of science at the Weizman Institute of the Sciences, under the supervision of Dr. Miri Kestner. DSW, as part of ICL Group Ltd, has supported and continues to support scientific conventions in the subjects of ecology and environmental preservation.
Restoration of historical sites
The mineral extracting industry in the Dead Sea has over 80 years of history. The development of the industry was accompanied by designated industrial settlement.The people, their achievements, their living conditions, and their struggle against the forces of nature are all evident in the remains they left behind.
Lately, in cooperation with the Historical Sites Preservation Council, we started restoring the old laborers' camp. DSW is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in restoring the site that will be opened to the public at the end of the restoration work. Moreover, DSW supported researchers and authors who published a number of books about the Dead Sea, that document the fascinating history of the area's development.