Businesses in nearly any industry have to contend with undesirable byproducts of their operation. One of the biggest issues is wastewater. Wastewater presents a problem in terms of both productivity and potential liability, making reduction of wastewater vital. While more efficient manufacturing reduces wastewater byproducts, there are also methods of treating the wastewater before it leaves the site or rendering it reusable.
What Produces Wastewater?
Wherever water is used in the manufacturing process, it’s likely to come in contact with pollutants and waste. Water may be used directly in processing or needed for cooling and cleaning equipment or products. In some cases, such as mining or construction, wastewater is incidental—rainwater can result in runoff that carries away soil, particulates or chemicals. Industrial wastewater treatment differs from sewage or municipal water treatment in that the waste is composed of different byproducts, meaning different tools are required.
Mechanical Treatment Methods
Primary treatment of wastewater largely involves mechanical processes and equipment instead of chemical treatments. Suspended solids, slurry and sludge can be separated from water by sedimentation and evaporation in open ponds or pools, but other methods are more actively effective, using pressure or gravity to separate solids and liquids. Centrifuges, filter presses and belt filters are a few examples of wastewater treatment machines. The latter two operate by physically squeezing wastewater through a filter with presses or rollers, leaving solid waste behind as a cake.
Managing Residual Waste
Dewatering sludge and slurry can provide additional value beyond wastewater treatment. Volume reduction allows for wastes to be disposed in landfills more efficiently than as sludge. Additionally, the waste can be reclaimed and reused in certain industries: the residual solid ‘cake’ could be used for composting, recovering mineral or metal concentrate and more.
Renting, buying or contracting water treatment machines and equipment can make waste management more effective and protect your business from environmental regulations. The potential for recycling or reuse can boost efficiency as well.