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Phosphate By the Numbers:

1 million+ – the anticipated dollar amount companies can expect to spend to remove phosphorus
893 – major treatment facilities with limits for phosphorus
30 – types of phosphorus species that can be present in your waste stream
27– the number of states currently regulating your waste stream
10 – the number of years until all 50 states will have phosphorous discharge limits in place
0.1 – mg/L total phosphorus that can be achieved with AquaPure chemistry

These are the numbers that concern manufacturers involved with pre-treatment, anodizing, accelerated mass finishing and phosphate coatings.

The Old & The New

Whether it is a tried and true method of removing phosphorus or something a little more innovative – AquaPure experts can help you determine which process approach is best for your business.

The Old

Chemical precipitation with calcium, aluminum and iron has historically been the go-to method for phosphorus removal in the metal finishing world. Each coagulant is not without draw-backs however. Calcium, when overdosed, can cause the phosphorus to go back into solution, leaving higher than expected numbers in the waste stream. Residual aluminum in wastewater is becoming a concern for our waterways with the EPA issuing new standards for monitoring aluminum. Iron can triple the amount of sludge generated from phosphorus removal efforts.

The New

On the cutting edge of treating waste water streams is rare earth elements. These provide a 1 to 1 atomic relationship with the phosphorus and also produce less sludge. Rare earth chemistry offers low dose rates, high removal capacity, with a friendly pH of 3-4 and a safe working environment.  Additionally, there are no equipment changes or capital expenditure costs associated with rare earth chemistry.

Case Study: Helping an Anodizing Facility Meet Permit Limits


The Challenge

An anodizing facility was struggling to meet a pretreatment permit discharge limit of 10mg/L for Total Phosphorus. If the facility could not retain pretreatment permit limits, they would be at risk for fines and potentially having their permit revoked.


The Process

The Hubbard-Hall team, called in by the facility owners to help solve the issue, began by evaluating different chemistries to determine which chemistry would meet discharge criteria consistently.

Phosphorus Removal Cost Comparison

ChemistryAmt. Needed to Remove 1 lb. PhosphorusCost to Remove 1 LB PhosphorusEst. Cost/1 LBIdeal PH Range of EfficacyAmt. Needed to remove 80 LB of PhosphorusCost to Remove 80 LB of Phosphorus
AquaPure CAL 1007.15 Lbs$13.44$2.257-8572 Lbs$1287.00
Calcium Chloride62.88 Lbs$18.23$0.299.5+5040 Lbs$1458.40
Ferric Chloride55.74 Lbs$18.95$0.349.5+4459 Lbs$1516.00
Poly Aluminum Chloride57.18 Lbs$34.88$0.619.5+4574 Lbs$2790.40
Alum117.21$111.35$0.959.5+9377 Lbs$8908.00

*Note: Shown above is Hubbard-Hall CAL 100 – Results will vary based on chemistry used. Additional treatment is needed to bring pH level back to 7-8 for discharge.

The Impact Phosphates Are Having on The Discharge From Finishing Operations

The Impact Phosphates Are Having on The Discharge From Finishing Operations

Phosphate conversion coatings on metals are used to impart corrosion resistance and lubricity, or to serve as a base layer for subsequent coatings, such as paints, dyes and more. Accordingly, phosphates in process wastewater can produce serious problems in the environment, the most harmful being eutrophication, which is caused by excessive phosphorus in water.

How can finishing operations help remove this impact? Read our white paper to find out more.

In The News

  • Indiana announces updates to the states Nutrient Reduction Strategy
  • Ohio releases 2020 Nutrient Mass Balance Study for its major rivers
  • Updated SPARROW Model Results: Homing in on Sources of Nitrogen and Phosphorus in the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River Basin

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