How is Wastewater Treated?

Treating industrial wastewater is an important ecological undertaking. The wastewater in question originates from an industrial or commercial process that has been contaminated in some form, reducing the quality of the water.

If the water is not treated correctly, it can lead to a health hazard or even a potential biohazard that can have serious negative repercussions on the environment. In the UK, it is also against the law to leave uncontrolled discharge of industrial waste which can result in fines as well as legal action.

Investing in industrial water treatment solutions can help companies and businesses improve their waste management processes as well as their overall environmental impact and footprint.

This can ultimately lead to a reduction in costs while also simultaneously improving a company’s brand image. Water that has been treated correctly can be released elsewhere such as in the environment, the sewers, or reused in plant processes across the country.

At Watercare Solutions, our waste management processes can result in lowering your waste disposal costs, improving your brand image and environmental impact and, simultaneously, complying with Governing body standards.

But with various forms of water treatment processes, it’s important to understand how wastewater is treated to know which process suits you best.

First Steps to Improving Water Hygiene

When considering the types of industrial water treatment solutions, it’s important to consider the first steps in doing so. Industrial water management includes analysing the chemical components of the contaminated water and correcting them to improve the hygiene of the water.

This process is often called the “pre-treatment” stage.

The pre-treatment stage is designed to remove organic and inorganic contaminants from effluent that’s been produced by the industrial sites. These often include metals, solids, and other dangerous chemicals that affect the water.

Wastewater from both industrial and commercial sectors must be treated properly for it to either be reused or used elsewhere. If the treatment of the water is designed for it to be returned into the water cycle, then it must be handled correctly and returned in an appropriate condition, so it does not contaminate the environment or lead to further pollution.

Chemical water treatment

There are various industrial water management solutions, but the two main stages are filtration and chemical water treatment.

Because industrial effluents are so varied and diverse, particulates that are produced and remain in the wastewater must undergo chemical treatment to remove unwanted solids and improve the overall hygiene of the water.

There are three types of chemical categories that are necessary for industrial water management:

  • pH adjusters
  • Coagulants
  • Flocculants

Using pH adjusters

A pH adjuster works by manipulating the pH level of the wastewater. The chemical reaction that takes place when added to the water will raise the pH level, causing a rise in negatively charged hydroxide ions.

This chemical reaction forces the metal contaminants to bond and form solid particles that can then be removed.

Using coagulants

Effectively, a coagulant brings all the solids in the wastewater together, often formed because of the pH adjusters, clumping the particulates together to then be removed.

Industrial water treatment solutions often use a blend of either organic or inorganic coagulants:

  • Organic coagulants produce less sludge but are more expensive
  • Inorganic coagulants work better to absorb the particulates but create more sludge that then needs to be removed after.

Using flocculants

Once the small clumps of solid particulates are formed, a flocculant is added to treat the water, forcing the solids to either float to the surface or sink to the bottom.

Once a flocculant is added, often in conjunction with a coagulant, it can then be easily removed. This is done through a filtration treatment process.

Expert cleaning commercial kitchen HVAC to help with hygiene

Filtration water treatment

Once the wastewater has been chemically treated, the next step is to then run the water through a filtration system to remove the remaining particulates that are still contaminating the water.

There are several industrial water management processes that filter out the remaining waste:

  • Filter press
  • Centrifuges
  • Belt press

Once the wastewater has been chemically treated, the next step is to then run the water through a filtration system to remove the remaining particulates that are still contaminating the water.

There are several industrial water management processes that filter out the remaining waste:

  • Filter press
  • Centrifuges
  • Belt press

Centrifuges

Centrifuges essentially spin the contaminants out of the wastewater, separating the solids from the liquid in order to treat the water.

While a simple and effective method, centrifuges come with several disadvantages; they can be expensive to install and set up and use up large amounts of energy to run too.

Belt presses

Belt filter presses are used as a way of removing excess water from sludge, making it easier to treat. They work through a combination of a gravity drainage system before pressure is gradually applied mechanically, through a system of belts and rollers that squeeze any remaining water from the sludge.

Belt presses tend to work after the industrial water management process undergoes chemical treatment first. However, while a belt press can run continuously allowing wastewater to flow through, it can be slow to produce results and can be expensive to run.

Filter presses

One of the oldest filtration systems is a filter press. This process uses pumps to create pressure that forces the solids from the wastewater, through a succession of filters until it’s clean.

While this form of industrial water treatment solution is dated, it still remains as one of the most reliable filtration methods for treating industrial wastewater.

Here to help

Industrial wastewater varies in contamination types and levels. Here at Watercare Solutions, we offer a comprehensive and diverse range of industrial water treatment solutions to adapt where necessary.

Contact us directly to find out how our experts can help you with choosing the best water treatment solution for you.