Systems that are utilised to treat wastewater are varied and often specifically designed for the type of water it will be used to treat. Before you know what wastewater treatment plant is needed, it’s helpful to know what types of contaminants make up this by-product of industry, what sectors you’re likely to find it in and why treatment is required in the first place. You’re likely to find contaminated water in large industries, like oil or chemical plants, but also in manufacturers dealing with metal, and even in textile and food factories. For environmental and legal reasons, it is paramount that this waste is treated in the proper way to ensure it is safe to discharge. Below are some of the most common contaminants that you’ll find in various industries. Cyanide is not as common in metalwork as it once was, meaning wastewater treatment plant is not always used to remove this specific contaminant, but it is still prominently used when working with precious metals. In order to make water containing cyanide safe, the process usually involves oxidising it using something like sodium hypochlorite. It can be devastating to marine life to have too high a quantity of phosphate in wastewater. Treatment plant that is used to remove phosphates can include the use of lime or calcium chloride. These can be tricky to use, especially in smaller industrial spaces, but it is increasingly important that industrial waste containing phosphates is dealt with in a safe and reliable manner. There are a number of ways to remove heavy metals from industrial effluent. It’s common to use lime in some cases. The main factor in this type of wastewater treatment plant is ensuring that the pH of the water is at the correct level to allow for precipitation to occur. Heavy metals can include zinc and copper, which are common across a number of industries and sectors. It can be extremely tough to find and employ the right wastewater treatment plant to remove chlorides – sometimes barium may be used, but this has many downsides of its own (including the cost). It may be that the best way to remove this common type of contaminant is through physical means – using a reverse osmosis membrane to concentrate the waste, making for easier disposal. This rather unpleasant industrial by-product is much more unusual to find in wastewater in today’s manufacturing climate, but where it is found biological treatment may be used, or in some cases air stripping may be employed in order to remove it from the waste stream. There are a lot of hidden complexities in wastewater treatment. Plant and systems to remove the various contaminants often have their own difficulties, but knowing more about the types of contaminants and the methods to remove them will enable you to make the right choice for your needs. Sean Clifford is an advisor at AllWater Technologies Ltd, a wholly independent company providing consultation and water treatment equipment, including wastewater treatment plant and reverse osmosis water systems. Bringing together a host of experience and specialist knowledge, the company is committed to building and maintaining long-term relationships and creating maximum value and benefit for their customers.
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