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Commodity & Specialty WWT Go Head To Head

 We put these two common wastewater options to the test to see where their strengths and weaknesses lie.

When selecting products for their wastewater treatment (WWT) needs, manufacturers must select between commodity wastewater treatment chemicals and specialty chemicals. A closer examination of their respective strengths and weakness will help illustrate what each has to offer.

Commodity Wastewater Treatment Review

Commodity wastewater chemistry traditionally involves products like lime and calcium chloride. While the price per pound may be less expensive, using basic commodity chemistry may not be the best or most cost effective option. This option requires the addition of single components or bags which take significant time to add, labor to move them around and bring them up to the Equalization (EQ) tank, and use of a higher dosage of chemicals. Commodity chemicals also produce a significantly higher amount of sludge that must be hauled off-site.

commodity-vs-specialty-comparison-2Specialty Wastewater Treatment Review

Specialty wastewater chemicals, on the other hand, provide solutions to specific application needs. The focus for suppliers of specialty wastewater chemicals is to provide a more specialized range of options that work well with manufacturers’ equipment, treat the specific waste they have and solve any problems they may encounter. Such as:

  • Floating and suspended solids
  • Hexavalent chrome reduction
  • Hazy effluent
  • High metals concentration
  • Odor
  • Oil in the system
  • Foaming

When compared to commodities, specialty chemicals are the more expensive option pound for pound. However, when you cost analyze the several advantages of specialty chemicals listed below, they are the more cost-effective option:

  • Lower dosing required
  • Less sludge
  • Less labor required: no lugging bags and less operator time needed
  • Ease of use and metering with liquid formulations
  • Better co-precipitation of heavy metals
  • Better clarity through quicker settling of solids

It can be difficult to pick the correct specialty product, as there are many options to choose from. This is why it is important to make sure your specialty supplier offers a technical service with their products. This technical service can ensure that your system is operating at peak efficiency with the best choice of specialty chemicals.  Some providers offer on-site systems evaluation, process optimization advise, operator training, jar testing and more.

Commodity vs. Specialty Wastewater Treatment Chemicals In Action

As an example, compare the use of lime or calcium with that of Hubbard-Hall’s specialty WWT liquid cationic coagulant product AquaPure I-300. Lime may be inexpensive, but it requires continuous mixing to remain in a solution, and will otherwise harden into concrete if mixing is stopped. This leads to greater energy costs and a troublesome by-product if the process must be stopped for any reason. Powdered lime is difficult to work with, as it aquapure-i-300-2is very dusty and tends to coat the walls of the room where it is being used; it also irritates skin due to its alkaline nature. Calcium hydroxide is likewise inexpensive and can remain in a solution once mixed, but over time will scale up and close your pipe diameters, like the hardening of arteries. This results in considerable maintenance expenses, shut down time for cleaning, and greater man hours necessary to cut out and change the pipes. AquaPure I-300, by contrast, eliminates the need for lime and other difficult powders while leaving behind 30% less sludge than most commodity chemicals. It produces a heavy and well-defined floc that rapidly settles suspended solids, allowing for easy removal of metal hydroxides from wastewater.

What does this mean for you and your WWT system?

Effectively, specialty chemicals can provide specific advantages and services to solve your problems that more common commodity chemicals can’t. Commodity chemicals can result in problematic sludge buildup, increased labor, more energy requirements and more individual products. In contrast, specialty wastewater chemicals will more efficiently solve your problems while ultimately costing you less.

For the past 20 years, Hubbard-Hall’s specialty WWT product line and service, AquaPure, has adapted to help industrial manufacturers stay compliant with changing discharge regulations. The AquaPure product line has 52 WWT products to choose from which include: precipitants, coagulants, flocculants, and defoamers. AquaPure customers also benefit from an AquaPure technical team who can come on-site to do a wastewater House Call. During a House Call, an AquaPure technician comes to your facility to evaluate the health of your system, provide process recommendations, train your operators, and more. Email us today to learn more about AquaPure and our wastewater service offer.