Industrial wastewater treatment is a complex process with diverse solutions for various industries. Factories must be scrupulous in ensuring that environmental standards are met when processing spent water from their work. Here is a little bit of insight into wastewater treatment processes.
Some industrial processes such as paper production result in a high proportion of dissolved salts in water, and to avoid contaminating local water supply, it’s necessary to remove it. Though techniques such as reverse osmosis or electrodialysis are effective, one of the best means to separate salt and water is simply through evaporation. This results in a high extraction of dissolved salts and a pure water end product.
Certain industries can harness the power of Mother Nature in removing organic water contaminants. A trickling filter process involves a bed of rocks, moss or other substance that wastewater is pumped over. The bed is aerated in some sections, but not others. This provides the perfect conditions for aerobic and anaerobic microbes to take over and break down organic waste. This process is commonly used in sewage treatment plants.
Industries such as oil refineries or textile mills often produce water mixed with different types of oils or animal fats. If the oil and water separate easily, the oil can often be skimmed off and recovered. In some cases, the oil is emulsified with the water; in this case, the water’s pH is lowered with certain compounds, allowing the oil to be separated from the water. Another means of separating oil from water involves the use of centrifugal force in a hydrocyclone oil separator to extract oil droplets.
Wastewater cleaning calls on the minds of creative scientists to figure out how to remove potentially harmful compounds from water. When they succeed though, the whole earth benefits and we can preserve our limited supply of water for the next generation.