Industrial Wastewater Usage
Industrial wastewater usage is a major issue facing many industries around the world. It is a byproduct of manufacturing and processing, and it can be hazardous to the environment and human health. It can be discharged into the waterways causing harmful effects to the aquatic ecosystem. It can also contaminate air, soil and groundwater.
Almost all the industries in our planet use water in their manufacturing processes, washing, cooling or transporting products and equipment. The type of water used in a specific industry determines the amount of wastewater produced and its required treatment.
Wastewater from industries is generally treated by chemical and filtration processes. These treatment processes are used to remove contaminants such as heavy metals, phosphates, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), organic and inorganic compounds, pesticides, detergents, disinfectants, oils and greases, microorganisms and volatile organic compounds.
It is important to note that the quality and volume of industrial wastewater varies significantly, depending on the type of industrial process. It can be highly biodegradable or non-biodegradable, and it may or may not contain compounds recalcitrant to treatment.
One of the most common pollutants in industrial wastewater is dissolved oxygen depleting compounds (DODCs). These chemicals are a serious threat to fish, marine life and other water organisms. They can disrupt a number of ecological functions and lead to extinction of marine life, loss of agricultural crop yield and damage to the ecosystem.
Fortunately, some industrial processes use alternative methods of wastewater management. Some of these include recycling waste water, reducing evaporation from external use and reusing recycled and reused water in production.
The first step for any industrial company seeking to recycle its wastewater is to conduct a professional water audit. This will allow a water engineer to pinpoint exactly where your company is using the most water and recommend the best solution for reclaiming your excess water.
In addition, an industrial wastewater study will ensure your facility is in compliance with EPA regulations and can help you identify opportunities for cost savings. Oftentimes, the initial cost of an audit is low and can be easily recouped in short order by a company’s bottom line.
A specialized treatment process such as a membrane filtration system is often used for reclaiming the water. This can be very efficient and is an economical method of reusing wastewater in your business operations.
Another common filtration treatment is chemical precipitation, which removes the organics and solids but leaves the water as clean as possible. This is especially useful for removing heavy metals, phosphorus and polychlorinated biphenyls. It is important to note that the concentration of these substances in your effluent streams can vary dramatically, so separating them before treatment can be an effective way to decrease the volume of problem wastewater that needs treatment.
Another consideration is the Cocktail Effect, where different effluent streams from multiple processes can have very different chemical compositions, which makes them more difficult to treat overall. It is often a good idea to separate these streams before treatment and apply different treatments individually. This can save significant cost, time and effort.