Industrial wastewater treatment in a nutshell is the mechanisms and processes used to treat wastewater that is produced as a by-product of industrial or commercial activities. Once it has been treated in this fashion, the industrial wastewater can then be reused or released to a sanitary sewer or into surface water in the environment. Almost every industry produces some wastewater but in recent years the trend in developed countries has been to lesson or minimise such production or recycle such wastewater within the production process. But for some industries, it is impossible for them to completely reduce their production of industrial wastewater.
That means, at least for these industries, that they must have system or process to treat their wastewater products and ensure safety precautions and discharge regulations required under local and federal legislation are met. This reduce their impact on the environment and on human health, but it will also help to ‘green; the products that are produced at their facilities. If they fail to do there are hefty fines and penalties and they may even lose their license to operate in some jurisdictions.
1. How does an industrial wastewater treatment system work?
It does depend on the quality and quantity of industrial wastewater that is being produced as well as the local environment and the production processes themselves inside an industrial or commercial facility. But usually the industrial wastewater treatment system is comprised of several individual technologies that address the specific wastewater treatment needs of that facility. The treatment system should be able to handle a number of different factors including process variations in contamination and flow, variations in water chemistry needs and required chemical volumes adjustments and possible changes in water effluent requirements.
2. What components do wastewater treatment systems have?
A basic industrial wastewater treatment system will have a number of components that are designed to perform certain functions. They often have a clarifier, a chemical feed, a filtration sub-system and some measures for post treatment of the industrial wastewater. The clarifier settles suspended solids that may be present as a result of treatment. The chemical feed facilitates the precipitation, flocculation, or coagulation of any metals and suspended solids. And the filtration process helps remove any leftover trace amounts of suspended solids before a final pH adjustment and any post treatment that may be required to meet local or federal legislation or regulations.
3. What does an industrial wastewater treatment system remove?
An industrial wastewater treatment system will remove a number of things from the industrial wastewater before it is released into the environment. That will include biochemical oxygen demand, or BOD. That refers to the amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic biological organisms to break down organic matter into smaller molecules. The industrial wastewater treatment system also removes nitrates and phosphates. These too can affect the biochemical oxygen demand and can lead to excessive growth of harmful weeds, algae, and phytoplankton that can kill the nearby living organisms and lead to environmental dead zones.
The treatment system also works to get rid of pathogens that may be in the form of bacteria, viruses, fungi, or any other microorganisms. They can contribute to many health concerns and spread illnesses and diseases such as cholera, dysentery, salmonellosis, hepatitis A, botulism, and giardiasis.
4. What else do wastewater treatment systems remove?
Other things that can be removed by an industrial wastewater treatment system include metals that can cause extensive damage to the environment and human health and total suspended solids that can harm aquatic life. Total suspended solids can decrease levels of oxygen in aquatic environments and kill off insects. Even more things that may be removed during the industrial wastewater treatment process include pesticides and chemicals that are dangerous to both human and animal health. Some of these might be diethylstilbestrol, dioxin, PCBs, DDT, and other pesticides.