Stay compliant with environmental wastewater regulations and reduce disposal costs with mechanical effluent treatment technologies
Wastewater treatment and disposal costs are forecasted to rise by around 5% per year over the next five years. With this in mind, companies across a variety of industries are seeking alternate methods to optimize their wastewater treatment processes. Water plays a large role in the day-to-day operations in manufacturing and construction, chemicals, food and beverage, agriculture and paper and pulp industries, with varying degrees of effluent treatment necessary to meet environment compliance in terms of discharging liquid effluent and wastewater or, in some cases, paying for offsite disposal and treatment.
Key things to consider when treating or disposing of industrial wastewater:
- Effluent disposal costs
- Environmental effluent regulations
- Primary water treatment methods
- Secondary and tertiary water treatment methods
- Additional revenue streams
- Options for mechanical removal of solids from effluent
Effluent disposal costs
The costs associated with treating and recovering industrial wastewater (also known as trade effluent) largely depends on the size of the facility and amount of water used. In most cases, plants using less than 100,000 gallons will pay significantly more per unit to treat or dispose of their effluent than those with higher flows. Naturally, many of these facilities with lower wastewater flow rates may not have the capacity for a separate effluent plant, or large-scale water treatment systems, meaning significant costs are paid to outsourcing treatment and disposal, or through surcharges for effluent discharge.
Environmental effluent regulations
These regulations and surcharges have been implemented to address water pollution levels and, where possible, encourage the reclaim and reuse of water in industrial facilities. Improvements in the proper collection, treatment and discharge of wastewater and the correct disposal or reuse of liquids has, over time, protected and improved water quality. However, as companies continue to grow and expand their production processes, in some cases water and effluent treatment is not prioritized. If not managed correctly, an oversight in this area could have a significant impact on the environment or result in penalty charges.
Industrial wastewater can be used in a number of processes from cooling waters used in manufacturing, food wash waters and wastewater from paper pulp to by-products from dairy, brewing, chemical and pharmaceutical production. In addition, wash water from high-pressure cleaning equipment and clean-in-place systems in various industries contributes significantly to effluent streams. The environmental threat of these effluent liquids does vary, however, a relatively small amount of fats, oils, chemicals, detergents, heavy metal rinses or any type of food or organic waste can have a detrimental effect on the environment and water supply.
Primary water treatment
For this reason, a general water treatment process is recommended to be put in place to turn wastewater into an effluent that can be either returned to the water cycle with minimal environmental issues or reused. This starts with the collection of wastewater in a septic tank, where it is directed to a treatment area for odour control and screening, removing larger objects and solids that could block or damage downstream equipment and processes. The water then enters primary treatment, where it is stored in tanks and subjected to dissolved air filtration (DAF) – a water treatment process to extract suspended matter such as solids and oils. These solids settle on the surface and are removed, with clarifiers being a common system used for this stage.
Secondary and tertiary water treatment
Secondary and tertiary treatment is then applied to the wastewater, to remove further organic matter and chemicals. Microorganisms (also known as ‘seed sludge’) and chemical coagulants or flocculants can be applied at this stage, forming large particles of waste matter that can then be removed.
Additional revenue streams
In addition, depending on the amount of solid matter removed from primary and secondary water treatment stages, there is the opportunity for an additional revenue stream. These solids can, in many cases, be used in anaerobic digestion, where the solids are treated to produce methane gas, and the digestate is used to create biosolids, for use in fertilizers and soil amendments.
Options for mechanical removal of solids from effluent
Various mechanical effluent treatment systems are available to remove solid matter from wastewater at each stage of water treatment. As mentioned, clarifiers are a common means of removing suspended solids from wastewater. Vacuum drum or rotary drum filters are also common industrial solutions for this stage. However, in some settings, it may not be practical nor affordable to install clarifiers or large rotary drum filters.
The Russell Liquid Solid Separator™ is a compact and affordable solution to removing solid matter from wastewater streams. Designed as an efficient alternative to traditional liquid solid separators, this multi-purpose centrifugal separator has the ability to deal with soft and fibrous oversized solids, achieving high-capacity separation on fine meshes down to 20 microns.
These compact units are capable of handling high flow-rates of liquids and slurries - up to 100,000 litres per hour – despite having a very small footprint. Therefore, they can be conveniently installed in an existing wastewater treatment process, ideal for facilities that require high-capacity filtration where investment into larger separation is not viable. The units are simple to operate, and quick and easy to strip down and clean by a single operator, significantly reducing downtime and labor costs. Furthermore, the Russell Liquid Solid Separator™ has been designed to run with lower power consumption than comparable units, further reducing running costs.
Russell Finex has 85 years of experience in applying fine mesh separation technology to industrial applications. A range of innovative liquid solid separation equipment, wastewater screening equipment and self-cleaning filtration technology is available to meet a variety of liquid and slurry applications including wastewater treatment. To find out more, contact Russell Finex today.