Compliance of automated wastewater treatment for industrial installations with cooling towers
Industrial facilities with cooling towers must meet EPA and local wastewater requirements for effluent, including those under the Clean Water Act. Failure to do so can result in stiff fines that increase rapidly.
A wide range of industries use cooling towers in their facilities, such as metal fabricators and manufacturers of rubber, chemical and plastic products. For industrial facilities with a cooling tower, a water treatment system is required to ensure an efficient process and long equipment life. If the cooling tower water is not treated properly, fouling, scale, and corrosion, as well as organic growth, can result in significant fines from the EPA and local environmental agencies. Furthermore, it can not only lead to plant downtime, but also reduce productivity and require costly and premature equipment replacement.
A cooling tower water treatment system may include various technologies needed to regulate the level of alkalinity, chlorides, hardness, iron, organic matter, silica, sulfates, total dissolved solids (TDS) and total suspended solids (TSS). Although the type of industry and specific operational practices determine the type of wastewater generated, most involve suspended solids, heavy metals, organic compounds or a variety of other pollutants. Under the Clean Water Act, for example, the EPA has identified 65 pollutants and classes of pollutants as “toxic pollutants,” of which 126 specific substances have been designated “priority” toxic pollutants.
For many factories using cooling towers, this means installing a wastewater treatment system that effectively separates contaminants from the water so that it can be legally discharged to sewers or even reused.
However, traditional wastewater treatment systems can be complex, often requiring multiple stages, a variety of chemicals, and a considerable amount of labor. Even when the process is supposedly automated, too often technicians still have to monitor the equipment in person. This typically requires monitoring mixing and separation, adding chemicals, and other tasks necessary to keep the process moving. Even then, the water produced may still be below the prescribed requirements.
While paying to have industrial wastewater transported from a cooling tower is also an option, it is extremely expensive. On the other hand, it is much more cost effective to treat industrial wastewater at its source, at or near the cooling tower. This can allow treated water to be reused or effluent to go down a sewer and treated sludge to pass a TCLP (Toxic Characteristic Leach Procedure) test, allowing disposal as non-hazardous waste at a local landfill.
Fortunately, compliance with wastewater regulations has become much easier with more fully automated wastewater treatment systems. Such systems not only reliably meet wastewater regulatory requirements, but also significantly reduce treatment, labor and disposal costs when the appropriate Cleartreat separation agents are also used.
Automated and cost-effective wastewater treatment
Unlike labor-intensive multi-step processes, automated wastewater treatment can help streamline the production and treatment of cooling tower wastewater, typically with a single-step process, while reducing costs in manufacturing facilities.
An automated wastewater treatment system for cooling towers can eliminate the need to monitor equipment in person while still complying with mandatory requirements. These automated systems separate suspended solids, emulsified oil and heavy metals, and encapsulate contaminants, producing an easily dewaterable sludge in minutes, according to production consultants from Sabo Industrial Corp., a manufacturer, distributor and integrator of industrial products based in New York. waste treatment equipment and solutions, including batch and fully automated systems, Cleartreat separation agents, bag filters and accessories.
The water is usually then separated using a dewatering table or bag filters before being discharged to sewers or further filtered for reuse as process water. Other dewatering options include using a filter press or a rotary drum vacuum. The resulting solids are not leachable and are considered non-hazardous, so they will pass all required tests.
These systems are available as manual batch, semi-automatic and automatic processors, and can be designed as a closed-loop system for water reuse or to provide legally dischargeable effluent suitable for the sewage system. A new, completely customized system is not always necessary. In many cases, it may be faster and more cost effective to add or modify a facility’s current wastewater treatment systems where possible.
However, since each wastewater stream for cooling towers is unique to its industry and application, each wastewater treatment solution must be matched or specifically tailored to the application. The first step in assessing the potential savings and efficiency of a new system is to sample wastewater to determine its chemical composition, followed by a comprehensive review of local water authority requirements, explain production consultants from Sabo Industrial.
The volume of cooling tower wastewater that will be treated is also analyzed to determine if a batch unit or a continuous system is required. Other considerations include size restrictions, so the system fits the available footprint of the installation.
Despite all the advances made in the automation of wastewater treatment equipment, any such system for cooling towers requires effective separation agents that will aggregate with the solids in the wastewater so that the solids can be safely and efficiently separated.
Because of the importance of separating agents in wastewater treatment, Sabo Industrial uses a special type of bentonite clay in a line of wastewater treatment chemicals called ClearTreat. This line of wastewater treatment chemicals are formulated to break up oil and water emulsion, provide heavy metal removal and promote flocculation, agglomeration and suspended solids removal.
Bentonite has a large specific surface area with a net negative charge which makes it a particularly effective adsorbent and ion exchanger for wastewater treatment applications to remove organic pollutants, heavy metals, nutrients, etc. As such, bentonite is essential for effectively encapsulating materials. This can usually be done in one step, reducing treatment and disposal costs.
In contrast, polymer-based products do not encapsulate toxins, so systems that use this type of separating agent are more likely to have leaching waste over time or upon agitation. additional.
Today’s automated systems along with the most effective Cleartreat separation agents can provide industrial facilities using cooling towers with a simple and cost-effective alternative to staying compliant with local ordinances. Although these systems come at a cost, they don’t require a lot of attention and can easily be more economical than paying fines or transporting.
Del Williams is a technical writer based in Torrance, California.