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Industrial Wastewater Treatment

Industrial Wastewater Treatment

Industrial wastewater treatment covers the mechanisms and processes used to treat waters that have been contaminated in some way by anthropogenic 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 wastewaters.

Sources of industrial wastewater

Agricultural waste


Beer is a fermented beverage with low alcohol content made from various types of grain. Barley predominates, but wheat, maize, and other grains can be used. The production steps include:
• Malt production and handling: grain delivery and cleaning; steeping of the grain in water to start germination; growth of rootlets and development of enzymes (which convert starch into maltose); kilning and polishing of the malt to remove rootlets; storage of the cleaned malt
• Wort production: grinding the malt to grist; mixing grist with water to produce a mash in the mash tun; heating of the mash to activate enzymes; separation of grist residues in the lauter tun to leave a liquid wort; boiling of the wort with hops; separation of the wort from
the trub/hot break (precipitated residues), with the liquid part of the trub being returned
to the lauter tub and the spent hops going to a collection vessel; and cooling of the wort
• Beer production: addition of yeast to cooled wort; fermentation; separation of spent yeast
by filtration, centrifugation or settling; bottling or kegging.
Water consumption for breweries generally ranges 4–8 cubic meter per cubic meter (m3/m3) of beer produced.

Breweries can achieve an effluent discharge of 3–5 m3/m3 of sold beer (exclusive of cooling waters). Untreated effluents typically contain sus-pended solids in the range 10–60 milligrams per liter (mg/l), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) in the range 1,000–1,500 mg/l, chemical oxygen demand (COD) in the range 1,800–3,000 mg/l,
and nitrogen in the range 30–100 mg/l. Phosphorus can also be present at concentrations of the order of 10–30 mg/l. Effluents from individual process steps are variable. For example, bottle washing produces a large volume of effluent that, however, contains only a minor part of the total organics discharged from the brewery. Effluents from fermentation
and filtering are high in organics and BOD but low in volume, accounting for about 3% of total wastewater volume but 97% of BOD. Effluent pH averages about 7 for the combined effluent but can fluctuate from 3 to 12 depending on the use of acid and alkaline cleaning agents. Effluent temperatures average about 30°C.

Dairy Industry

The dairy industry involves processing raw milk into products such as consumer milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, condensed milk, dried milk (milk powder), and ice cream, using processes such as chilling, pasteurization, and homogenization. Typical by-products include buttermilk, whey, and their derivatives.
Waste Characteristics
Dairy effluents contain dissolved sugars and proteins, fats, and possibly residues of additives. The key parameters are biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), with an average ranging from 0.8 to 2.5 kilograms per metric ton (kg/t) of milk in the untreated effluent; chemical oxygen demand (COD), which is normally about 1.5 times the BOD level; total suspended solids, at 100–1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/l); total dissolved solids: phosphorus (10–100 mg/l), and nitrogen (about 6% of the BOD level). Cream, butter, cheese, and whey production are major sources of BOD in wastewater. The waste load equivalents of specific milk constituents are: 1 kg of milk fat = 3 kg COD; 1 kg of lactose = 1.13 kg COD; and 1 kg protein = 1.36 kg COD. The wastewater may contain pathogens from contaminated materials or production processes. A dairy often generates odors and, in some cases, dust, which need to be controlled. Most of the solid wastes can be processed into other products and byproducts.

Pulp and Paper industry

The pulp and paper industry is one of worlds oldest and core industrial sector. The socio-economic importance of paper has its own value to the country’s development as it is directly related to the industrial and economic growth of the country. Paper manufacturing is a highly capital, energy and water intensive industry. It is also a highly polluting process and requires substantial investments in pollution control equipment.
The pulp and paper mill is a major industrial sector utilizing a huge amount of lignocellulosic materials and water during the manufacturing process, and releases chlorinated lignosulphonic acids, chlorinated resin acids, chlorinated phenols and chlorinated hydrocarbons in the effluent. About 500 different chlorinated organic compounds have been identified including chloroform, chlorate, resin acids, chlorinated hydrocarbons, phenols, catechols, guaiacols, furans, dioxins, syringols, vanillins, etc. These compounds are formed as a result of reaction between residual lignin from wood fibres and chlorine/chlorine compounds used for bleaching. Colored compounds and Adsorbable Organic Halogens (AOX) released from pulp and paper mills into the environment poses numerous problems. The wood pulping and production of the paper products generate a considerable amount of pollutants characterized by Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Suspended Solids (SS), toxicity, and colour when untreated or poorly treated effluents are discharged to receiving waters. The effluent is toxic to aquatic organisms and exhibits strong mutagenic effects and physiological impairment.

Iron and steel industry

The production of iron from its ores involves powerful reduction reactions in blast furnaces. Cooling waters are inevitably contaminated with products especially ammonia and 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 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH).

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 sulfuric 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 sulfate or ferrous chloride to be disposed of. Many steel industry wastewaters are contaminated by hydraulic oil also known as soluble oil.

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