Wastewater Question from the Field

Treating the Hard to Treat

Can I “overwhelm” my wastewater system?


Yes. When wastewater systems are overwhelmed, a pass-through event occurs. If more wastewater goes into the system than the system was designed to handle, the system is not going to be able to remove all the contaminants. The contaminants are going to go out the door. So, when introducing new processes in manufacturing, always consider what the system is rated to handle, and what it needs to handle the additional streams. It is also important to remember chemical dosing. If the chemical feed pumps are not tied to the system and auto adjusted according to flow rates they will need to be manually adjusted to account for additional flows. A system designed to flow 15gpm with chemicals feeding to that flow will not have the same removal if the flow rate is doubled but the chemical feed is not.

We had worked with a company several years ago that was originally flowing 15,000 gallons a day over the course of 16 hours. They were flowing that amount because that’s all that their wastewater system could handle using the chemistry that they were using at the time. We worked with them to bring them back into compliance with their discharge permit because they were not compliant. They were releasing chrome and copper to the local city authority. While doing that, they were able to work with our experts to make some upgrades to their system so that it could flow more water in an hour. In doing that, we doubled their flow from 15,000 gallons a day to 30,000 gallons a day by improving their floc settling times, decreasing their sludge generation, and increasing their press turnovers by implementing an acid wash and precoat system. By allowing them to do that, they were able to double their manufacturing processes! A manufacturing facility can only manufacture quality products to the ability of the wastewater system to handle the wastewater generated by manufacturing.

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