Effluent Treatment Plant

Industrial wastewater treatment covers the mechanisms and processes used to treat waters that have been contaminated in some way by man's industrial or commercial activities prior to its release into the environment or its re-use.
Most industries produce some wet waste although recent trends in the developed world have been to minimise such production or recycle such waste within the production process. However, many industries remain dependent on processes that produce a water based waste stream.

Iron and steel industry

The production of ironfrom its ores involves powerful reduction reactions in blast furnaces. Cooling waters are inevitably contaminated with products especially ammonia, cyanide. Production of coke from coal in coking plants also requires water cooling and the use of water in by-products separation. Contamination of waste streams includes gasification products such as benzene, naphthalene, anthracene, cyanide, ammonia, phenols, cresols together with a range of more complex organic compounds known collectively as polyaromatic hydrocarbons
The conversion of iron or steel into sheet, wire or rods requires hot and cold mechanical transformation stages frequently employing water as a lubricant and coolant. Contaminants include hydraulic oils, tallow and particulate solids. Final treatment of iron and steel products before onward sale into manufacturing includes pickling in strong mineral acid to remove rust and prepare the surface for tin or chromium plating or for other surface treatments such as galvanisation or painting. The two acids commonly used are hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid. Wastewaters include acidic rinse waters together with waste acid. Although many plants operate acid recovery plants, (particularly those using Hydrochloric acid), where the mineral acid is boiled away from the iron salts, there remains a large volume of highly acid ferrous sulphate or ferrous chloride to be disposed of. Many steel industry waste waters are contaminated by hydraulic oil also known as soluble oil

Mines and quarries

The principal waste-waters associated with mines and quarries are slurries of rock particles in water. These arise from rainfall washing exposed surfaces and haul roads and also from rock washing and grading processes. Volumes of water can be very high, especially rainfall related arisings on large sites. Some specialist separation operations such as coal washing to separate coal from native rock using density gradients can produce wastewater contaminated by fine particulate haematite and surfactants. Oils and hydraulic oils are also common contaminants. Wastewater from metal mines and ore recovery plants are inevitably contaminated by the minerals present in the native rock formations. Following crushing and extraction of the desirable materials, undesirable materials may become contaminated in the wastewater. For metal mines, this can include unwanted metals such as zinc and other materials such as arsenic. Extraction of high value metals such as gold and silver may generate slimes containing very fine particles in where physical removal of contaminants becomes particularly difficult.

Food industry

Wastewater generated from agricultural and food operations has distinctive characteristics that set it apart from common municipal wastewater managed by public or private wastewater treatment plants throughout the world: it is biodegradable and nontoxic, but that has high concentrations of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and suspended solids (SS). The constituents of food and agriculture wastewater are often complex to predict due to the differences in BOD and pH in effluents from vegetable, fruit, and meat products and due to the seasonal nature of food processing and postharvesting.
Processing of food from raw materials requires large volumes of high grade water. Vegetable washing generates waters with high loads of particulate matter and some dissolved organics. It may also contain surfactants.
Animal slaughter and processing produces very strong organic waste from body fluids, such as blood , and gut contents. This wastewater is frequently contaminated by significant levels of antibiotics and growth hormones from the animals and by a variety of pesticides used to control external parasites. Insecticide residues in fleeces is a particular problem in treating waters generated in wool processing.
Processing food for ale produces wastes generated from cooking which are often rich in plant organic material and may also contain salt, flavourings, colouring material and acids or alkali. Very significant quantities of oil or fats may also be present.

Complex organic chemicals industry

A range of industries manufacture or use complex organic chemicals. These include pesticides, Pharmaceuticals, paints and dyes, petro-chemicals, detergents, plastics etc. Waste waters can be contaminated by feed-stock materials, by-products, product material in soluble or particulate form , washing and cleaning agents, solvents and added value products such as plasticisers.

  Solids removal

Most solids can be removed using simple sedimentation techniques with the solids recovered as slurry or sludge. Very fine solids and solids with densities close to one pose special problems. In such case filtration or ultra-filtration may be required. Alternatively, flocculation may be used using alum salts or the addition of poly-electrolytes

Oils and greases

Many oils can be recovered from open water surfaces by skimming devices. However, hydraulic oils and the majority of oils that have degraded to any extent will also have a soluble or emulsified component that will require further treatment to eliminate. Dissolving or emulsifying oil using surfactants or solvents usually exacerbates the problem rather than solving it, producing a very difficult to treat wastewater.

Soft organics

Organic material of plant or animal origin is usually possible to treat using extended conventional Wastewater treatment processes. Problems can arise if the wastewater is excessively diluted with washing water or is highly concentrated such as neat blood or milk. The presence of cleaning agents, disinfectants, pesticides, or anti-biotics can have detrimental impacts on treatment processes.

Hard organics

Synthetic organic materials including solvents, paints, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, coking products etc can be very difficult to treat . Treatment methods are often specific to the material being treated. Methods include distillation, adsorption, vitrification, incineration, chemical immobilisation or landfill disposal. Some materials such as some detergents may be capable of biological degradation and in such cases, a modified form of Wastewater treatment can be used.

Acids and alkalis

Acids and alkalis can usually be neutralised under controlled conditions. Neutralisation frequently produces a precipitate that will require treatment as a solid residue that may also be toxic. In some cases, gasses may be evolved requiring treatment for the gas stream. Some other forms of treatment are usually required following neutralisation.
Waste streams rich in hardness ions as from de-ionisation processes can readliy loose the hardness ions in a buildup of precipitated calcium and magnesium salts. This preciptation process can cause severe furring of pipes and can, in extreme cases, cause the blockage of disposal pipes.

Toxic materials

Toxic materials including many organic materials, metals (such as zinc, silver, cadmium, thallium etc.) acids, alkalis, non-metallic elements (such as arsenic or selenium) are generally resistant to biological processes unless very dilute. Metals can often be precipitated out by changing the pH or by treatment with other chemicals. Many, however, are resistant to treatment or mitigation and may require concentration followed by landfilling or recycling.

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