Wastewater Treatment Process

Wastewater treatment is the process of converting wastewater – water that is no longer suitable for use – into water that can be discharged back into the environment. Its treatment aims at reducing the contaminants to acceptable levels to make the water safe for discharge back into the environment.

There are two wastewater treatment plants namely chemical or physical treatment plant, and biological wastewater treatment plant. Biological waste treatment plants use biological matter and bacteria to break down waste matter. Physical waste treatment plants use chemical reactions as well as physical processes to treat wastewater. Biological treatment systems are ideal for treating wastewater from households and business premises. Physical wastewater treatment plants are mostly used to treat wastewater from industries, factories and manufacturing firms. This is because most of the wastewater from these industries contains chemicals and other toxins that can largely harm the environment.

The wastewater treatment is as follows:

  1. Wastewater Collection

This is the first step in wastewater treatment process. Collection systems are put in place by municipal administration to ensure that all the wastewater is collected and directed to a central point. This water is then directed to a treatment plant using underground drainage systems or by exhauster tracks owned and operated by business people.

  1. Odour Control

At the treatment plant, odour control is very important. Wastewater contains a lot of dirty substances that cause a foul smell over time. To ensure that the surrounding areas are free of the foul smell, odor treatment processes are initiated at the treatment plant. All odor sources are contained and treated using chemicals to neutralize the foul smell producing elements. It is the first wastewater treatment plant process and it’s very important.

  1. Screening

This is the next step in wastewater treatment process. Screening involves the removal of large objects that in one way or another may damage the equipment. Failure to observe this step, results in constant machine and equipment problems. Specially designed equipment is used to get rid of grit that is usually washed down into the sewer lines by rainwater. The solid wastes removed from the wastewater are then transported and disposed off in landfills.

  1. Primary Treatment

This process involves the separation of macrobiotic solid matter from the wastewater. Primary treatment is done by pouring the wastewater into big tanks for the solid matter to settle at the surface of the tanks. The sludge, the solid waste that settles at the surface of the tanks, is removed by large scrappers and is pushed to the center of the cylindrical tanks and later pumped out of the tanks for further treatment. The remaining water is then pumped for secondary treatment.

  1. Secondary Treatment

Also known as the activated sludge process, the secondary treatment stage involves adding seed sludge to the wastewater to ensure that is broken down further. Air is first pumped into huge aeration tanks which mix the wastewater with the seed sludge which is basically small amount of sludge, which fuels the growth of bacteria that uses oxygen and the growth of other small microorganisms that consume the remaining organic matter. This process leads to the production of large particles that settle down at the bottom of the huge tanks. The wastewater passes through the large tanks for a period of 3-6 hours.

  1. Bio-solids handling

The solid matter that settle out after the primary and secondary treatment stages are directed to digesters. The digesters are heated at room temperature. The solid wastes are then treated for a month where they undergo anaerobic digestion. During this process, methane gases are produced and there is a formation of nutrient rich bio-solids that are recycled and dewatered into local firms. The methane gas formed is usually used as a source of energy at the treatment plants. It can be used to produce electricity in engines or to simply drive plant equipment. This gas can also be used in boilers to generate heat for digesters.

  1. Tertiary treatment

This stage is similar to the one used by drinking water treatment plants which clean raw water for drinking purposes. The tertiary treatment stage has the ability to remove up to 99 percent of the impurities from the wastewater. This produces effluent water that is close to drinking water quality. Unfortunately, this process tends to be a bit expensive, as it requires special equipment, well trained and highly skilled equipment operators, chemicals and a steady energy supply. All these are not readily available.

  1. Disinfection

After the primary treatment stage and the secondary treatment process, there are still some diseases causing organisms in the remaining treated wastewater. To eliminate them, the wastewater must be disinfected for at least 20-25 minutes in tanks that contain a mixture of chlorine and sodium hypochlorite. The disinfection process is an integral part of the treatment process because it guards the health of the animals and the local people who use the water for other purposes. The effluent (treated waste water) is later released into the environment through the local waterways.

  1. Sludge Treatment

The sludge that is produced and collected during the primary and secondary treatment processes requires concentration and thickening to enable further processing. It is put into thickening tanks that allow it to settle down and later separates from the water. This process can take up to 24 hours. The remaining water is collected and sent back to the huge aeration tanks for further treatment. The sludge is then treated and sent back into the environment and can be used for agricultural use.

Wastewater treatment has a number of benefits. For example, wastewater treatment ensures that the environment is kept clean, there is no water pollution, makes use of the most important natural resource; water, the treated water can be used for cooling machines in factories and industries, prevents the outbreak of waterborne diseases and most importantly, it ensures that there is adequate water for other purposes like irrigation.

In summary, wastewater treatment process is one of the most important environmental conservation processes that should be encouraged worldwide. Most wastewater treatment plants treat wastewater from homes and business places. Industrial plant, refineries and manufacturing plants wastewater is usually treated at the onsite facilities. These facilities are designed to ensure that the wastewater is treated before it can be released to the local environment.

The Role of Aeration in Wastewater Treatment

Industrial wastewater treatment is the process used to treat wastewater that is produced as a by-product of industrial or commercial activities. After treatment, the treated industrial wastewater may be reused or released to surface water in the environment.
What is Aeration?
Wastewater aeration is the process of adding air into wastewater to allow aerobic bio-degradation of the pollutant components. It is an integral part of most biological wastewater treatment systems. Chemical treatments make use of chemicals to react and stabilize the contaminants in the wastewater stream whereas biological treatments use microorganisms that naturally occur in wastewater to degrade contaminants.
When is Aeration Used?
The activated sludge process is the most common option under the secondary treatment used in municipal and industrial wastewater treatment. Aeration is part of the secondary treatment process. Aeration in an activated sludge process is based on pumping air into a tank, which promotes the microbial growth in the wastewater. The microbes feed on the organic material, forming flocs that can easily settle out. After settling in a separate settling tank, bacteria forming the “activated sludge” flocs are continually circulated back to the aeration basin to increase the rate of decomposition.
How does Aeration Work?
The bacteria in the water require oxygen for the biodegradation process to occur. Aeration provides oxygen to bacteria for treating and stabilizing the wastewater. The bacteria in the wastewater break down the organic matter containing carbon to form carbon dioxide and water utilizing the supplied oxygen. Without sufficient oxygen, bacteria are unable to biodegrade the incoming organic matter in a reasonable time.
In the absence of dissolved oxygen, degradation must occur under septic conditions that are slow, odorous, and yield incomplete conversions of pollutants. Under septic conditions, some of the biological process converts hydrogen and sulphur to form hydrogen sulphide and transform carbon into methane. Other carbon will be converted to organic acids that create low pH conditions in the basin and make the water more difficult to treat and promote odour formation. Biodegradation of organic matter in the absence of oxygen is a very slow biological process.
There are two common types of water aeration: subsurface and surface.
What is Subsurface Aeration?
Subsurface is the most common type of aeration. Large wastewater treatment plants in urban areas commonly use it. Subsurface aeration uses porous devices that are placed below the liquid’s surface. These diffusers or submersible aerators are lowered into the water or fluid and compressed air is released, creating bubbles. This method delivers the most oxygen available into the water and ensures the water and oxygen are thoroughly mixed.
What is Surface Aeration?
Surface aerators push water from under the water’s surface up into the air, and then the droplets fall back into the water, mixing in oxygen. The jets of water break the surface with varying degrees of force.
Why is Aeration Important for Wastewater Treatment?
Aeration is the most critical component of a treatment system using the activated sludge process. When properly implemented, aeration also eliminates seasonal problems such as algae growth or stratification. When exposed to heat and sun, still bodies of water such as reservoirs become stratified. This causes problems, such as foul odors, weed and algae growth, and fish kills. By improving the nutrient-oxygen balance, aeration helps improve water quality. A well-designed aeration system has a direct impact on the level of wastewater treatment it achieves. An evenly distributed oxygen supply in an aeration system is the key to rapid, economically viable, and effective wastewater treatment.

Improved Energy Consumption Via Heat Integration & Pinch Analysis

A respected tool for achieving energy efficiency is process heat integration with pinch analysis. This article presents an overview on pinch analysis and its mode of employment in operation and process design to achieve energy efficiency gains in real-world. The Heat integration comprises of several techniques that assist engineers to properly evaluate entire sites and processes instead of focusing on individual operations.

This includes knowledge-based systems, hierarchical design methods, Pinch analysis, numerical and graphical techniques. Pinch methods dominate in the area of energy efficiency. The terms heat integration (PI) and pinch analysis are frequently used interchangeably.

Pinch analysis which is also known as process integration, energy integration, heat integration or pinch technology is employed in achieving minimal energy consumption by optimizing energy supply methods, process operation conditions and heat recovery systems. It is a methodology for minimizing the consumption of energy through chemical processes by targeting feasible energy targets thermodynamically.

As a systematic technique for analyzing the flow of heat through an industrial process, pinch analysis’ process data is represented as a set of streams or energy flows. Naturally, heat is required to flow from hot to cold objects in the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This is a major concept that represents the overall heat demand and heat release of a process as a function of temperature.

For the identifications of the Pinch and targets for cold and hot utilities, the Problem Table algorithm is the tool to use. It is a fundamental computational tool. The location where the heat recovery is the most constraint is designated by the Pinch which is characterized by ΔTmin (a minimum temperature difference between hot and cold streams).

As a result, the system can be divided into two separate subsystems that are located above and below the Pinch respectively. Hot utility is only required above the Pinch while cold utility is required below the Pinch. So far, the identified hot and cold utility consumption turns out to be Energy Requirements (MER). Once a heat transfer (cross-pinch) is present, no design can achieve MER.

Redundancy many be introduced by the separation of the original problem in the number of heat exchangers. In order to reduce the number of units, the removal of the Pinch constraint may be necessary especially when the capital cost is high. An optimized cost of operation against the reduction in capital costs will be cleared by extra energetic consumption.

As a result, heat recovery problem will become an optimization of both capital and energy costs which is restricted by a minimum approach in temperature when designing the heat exchangers. For effective heat integration, there is need for data extraction and stream selection in Pinch Analysis. Constant CP is the major computational assumption in Pinch Analysis.

Effluent Minimization Strategies for Waste Minimization and Cost Reduction

Waste minimization is essential for every industry that manufactures products and incurs cost. In India alone, there are a large number of manufacturers producing simple products such as plastic and this is often subject to the question of waste. It is known that the minimization of waste is the maximization of profit. The consumption of earth’s natural resources is seen as one of the major environmental problems we face in the world today and industrial waste and emissions can have drastic effects both financially and environmental. More so, issues such as global warming and ozone depletion are factors that emanate from local manufacturers. In India alone, the amount of emissions caused by manufacturers is alarming and businesses need to come up with new ways for waste minimization.

Waste minimization & Cost reduction strategies

Waste minimization has become one of the business regulations for businesses in India and thousands or manufacturers have been induced to employ waste reduction programs. However, very few people truly understand the cost that wastes can have on their own businesses or just how much it is costing the environment. It is therefore noted that waste reduction is a tool for creating a better world with more competitive industries.

When looking at waste minimization, there are three main proponents that can be drivers of this new world. These are: people, systems and technology.

  • People: Changing a notion or culture can only be implemented if it is first targeted at people. People influence systems and systems influence technology. People should be educated on waste minimization and cost reduction. They should be enlightened on the fact that the littlest raw material saved in production processes can have multiple uses and benefits and should therefore not be wasted. If the whole of India starts to see waste minimization differently, it may just have a greater effect globally.
  • Systems: Also, a systematic approach should be geared towards measurement and controlling problems that occur with eyes set on maintaining efficiency levels. Apart from the obvious benefits of waste minimization, there are also cost implications. Businesses should therefore put new systems in place to ensure that people are producing efficiently.
  • Technology: Lastly, technology could be a major driver of this new world system. Capital investment should be introduced to improve manufacturing productivity and reduce waste creation. Technology has a major deciding role on the world we live in today. Therefore, technology should be motivating waste minimization and helping reduce cost.

A number of companies have also developed strategies to ensure that there are reduced amounts of waste in manufacturing processes. This is because there is a greater enlightenment on the fact that raw materials can be used for several production processes with even by-products having relevance in the production of commodities. Companies are advised to perform studies of the true cost of waste and should create new strategies for the management of this problem.

Waste minimization and cost reduction should be at the forefront of thoughts for people and businesses in India. It would provide a greater and more efficient world we live in and also reduce the costs of doing business.

Sustainability in the modern world

Better understanding sustainability in the modern world

We as a society – a global society – are better understanding the impact that we have on the environment with all of the behavior and choices that we make, and are committed to rolling back our environmental footprint as much as humanly possible by building more sustainably.

LEED sustainability projects help companies and individuals dramatically lessen their environmental footprint while at the same time provide a blueprint for future projects to work off of.

Sustainable building practices, a repurpose thing of materials, and a drive to build structures and projects that are much more in tune with their natural surroundings than they might have been previously will help you and your operation move forward into the 21st century with confidence knowing that you’re part of the solution.

Sustainability is absolutely mission critical when constructing new projects today

It is absolutely impossible for us to imagine moving forward as a society with the same kind of traditional building practices and construction “rules and regulations” that dictated our decisions for the past hundred years or so.

With the population absolutely exploding, our individual carbon footprints expanding, and obvious signs of environmental impact all around us, sustainability is the name of the game – and we all need to make sure we are doing our part.

New technological advances in solar technology, water repurposing, geothermal energies, and innovative ways to capture the wind all help to improve sustainability dramatically, as do “green construction initiatives” that help to dramatically eliminate unnecessary waste.

If you’re thinking about undertaking a major construction initiative, you’re going to want to work with the best sustainability engineers around to get the job done the right way.

Finding the right sustainability engineers becomes a lot easier when you know what to look for

Of course, that means you’re going to have to find engineers that are going to be able to assist you with your sustainability project in the first place.

LEED certification is the first thing that you’re going to want to look for, but you’re also going to want to take a very close look at the kind of LEED projects these engineers have worked on in the past to make sure that they are going to be able to provide you with the answers you are looking for.

You want to be sure that you’re working with experts that have successfully completed LEED projects that have had at least hit the “Gold” level – though engineers that consistently produce “Platinum” level projects are amongst the very best in the business.

Remember though, that your LEED certification is going to be based entirely off of the amount of points that you’re able to secure with all of the green initiative and sustainability components that you put together.

You’re going to have to take a very holistic view with your sustainability engineers to make sure that you are tackling this project the right way, and that you are doing so to produce sustainable results and not just capture a certification that you’ll be able to flaunt on the next company report.

Improving production efficiency

Improving production efficiency, implementing new technologies and revamping old technologies to make continuous improvements in processes and infrastructure

Here’s how the mighty fall

There is no such thing as a “born leader” what it comes to the world of business.

Look at all of the most successful businesses throughout human history and you’ll find that the pieces very rarely just kind of fell together on their own. Instead, these businesses and these organizations understood themselves, understood their mission, understood their objectives, and took advantage of opportunities as they became available – continuously improving their processes and their infrastructure to position them for great success.

At the same time, many of these businesses have fallen by the wayside because the leadership that helped to grow them to the giants of commerce that they’ve become are no longer around and the company culture has changed considerably.

Some of these once great businesses stop innovating, stop implementing new technology, and stop looking for ways to improve their systems and infrastructure and instead elect to coast on their reputation.

That used to buy businesses quite a bit of time in the past – maybe even 15 or 20 years – but nothing could be further from the truth today. Today we live in the most competitive business environment in human history, and any slowdown whatsoever (or missing even a single opportunity at just the right time) may be the first and final nail in the coffin.

Here’s how to avoid that fate!

Establish teams that focus ENTIRELY on internal projects

There are a lot of big businesses out there that focus entirely on creating the “next big thing” that they are going to bring to market without paying any attention whatsoever to their own internal projects, their own internal processes, or their own the infrastructure.

This is usually what seals their fate.

What you’ll want to do instead is create entire teams that focus entirely and only on internal projects, processes, and infrastructure. These teams will help keep you moving forward while making sure that you will always gain competitive advantages when they become available.

Step away and gain altitude regularly

It’s impossible to know exactly how your business is doing and what you need to do to grow if you are always working on day to day operations.

You need to gain some perspective, pull out and gain some altitude, and step away from the actual mechanics of working IN your business to better understand how you should be working ON your business.

This is the kind of approach that should be taken once a year at the very least. Pull out your senior management, bring in outside consultants for a new perspective, and come up with new ways to create innovative solutions, improve efficiency, and boost results across the board.

It isn’t going to be effortless by any stretch of the imagination, but it is going to be able to provide you and your employees with a better sense of direction about how to move forward. These continuous improvements will continue to build a reservoir of leverage you’ll be able to pull from, and you’ll be able to dominate in the midst of the most competitive business environment humans have ever known.

It’s the only way to succeed today.

Sustainable Engineering in India

In the era of the ever changing world, engineering seems to be taking over the globe. However, nowadays, the world has limited resources and humans are expected to face bad environment and economic situation. In this situation, we need a real sustainable solution which will give a bright future. Hence, Sustainable Engineering in India could be the answer.

Improve life cycle performance

In this case, a project will need to be designed with a proper project life cycle. A project with a structured life cycle management will ensure that costs don’t rise up unnecessarily during the course of the project execution. Right from the design phase of the project, we need to estimate the impact of the design on environment and costs. In construction projects, designing & planning can still be easily manageable but the subsequent maintenance costs of it should also be considered in the planning phase. Considering everything in this life cycle of the project will help to increase the environmental performance & hence ensure sustainable engineering.

Specify Salvaged Materials

Recycling some materials will ensure improving the environment. In this case, the recycling is needed to limit the use of mining. Mining being useful for natural resources, it is able to discover many products. However, many mining sources are limited which cannot last for a lifetime of the earth. The natural resources are already starting to deplete. In such situations, alternative sources of mining or recycling waste materials could be the best bet.

Alternative materials

The act of sustainable engineering can be started from small things, such as our daily life. One of the acts which can be done is using alternative materials. Structural engineering needs steel and concrete materials in construction projects. These materials will help in producing energy; however they are not too good for the environment. Using alternative materials in such scenarios will directly help the earth. The advantages of the materials may be useful for the structural integrity. But, the engineers should be convinced to use the alternative materials.

LEED Consulting Services in India

LEED consulting services in India is a concept that is garnering more and more attention nowadays. People are realizing the importance of saving energy and keeping the environment healthy, and there is increasing pressure upon major companies to make sure that they run a clean business that does not damage the people or the environment. If a major company is discovered to practice an unhealthy business, then the customers could raise a protest, and that could very well be a commercial suicide. Because of that, more and more companies are realizing the need to make sure that the masses know the type of business that they run in a clear and sound manner. One of the standards that companies need to uphold in order to keep their reputation intact would be LEED. Companies that have achieved LEED certification would certainly have a competitive advantage over others who do not, because it has been proven that customers prefer LEED-approved companies. Customers see companies with a LEED certification as more dependable, honest, and transparent, and they would not hesitate to support such a good company. This is one of the main benefits of making sure that your company qualifies for a LEED certification.

Why Your Company Needs LEED consulting services?

To sum it up, several benefits that having a LEED certification could bring to your company would include:

  • Reputation

As mentioned previously, if you are a company that has been approved by LEED, then it would mean that you are acknowledged as an honest and dependable green company. The world revolves around green companies nowadays, because of the recent changes in the environment. It is clear that companies that fail to evolve in order to adjust to the recent environmental trend would be left behind by conscious customers. On the other hand, companies that manage to keep up and perhaps even rise above the current would force customers to take notice.

  • Cost-Saving

If you change the way your company works into something more environmentally-conscious, you would not only be doing the environment and the rest of the world a favor. Your company as a whole would also benefit from it. Changing the materials you use green materials would allow you to save major costs. Also, if you can find a way to more effectively utilize energy, the variable cost you have to fork out each period for the continuing operation of your company would also be significantly decreased.

  • Environmental-Friendly

You would be doing the world a favor by making sure that you use green materials and conserving energy. The world would be headed for catastrophe and destruction if something isn’t done quickly about the way humans operate. People are getting more and more environmentally-conscious, and it is clear that in the future, only companies that can manage to operate without doing harm to the environment would survive. Major companies are changing the way they operate to suit this shifting trend, and companies that cannot manage to follow up would be left behind for good.

  • CSR

Every company has a Corporate Social Responsibility to think about, and oftentimes, this could be one of the most expensive and unprofitable ventures a company has to undertake. If you qualify for a LEED certification, it could fulfill your CSR duty for the period. While doing that, you can also save costs and attract more customers. It is like killing two birds with one stone.

There are many other benefits to striving to qualify for a LEED certification. In fact, it could be said that not qualifying for a LEED certification is not an option, because your company would be seen unfavorably by the masses if that were to happen.

 

Discussing Future Goals for Sustainable Engineering

In the 21st century that are many global challenges faced by engineers. We are living on a planet of limited resources and are facing an environmental and economic crisis. Never before has the issue of sustainable engineering been more prominent. The process of reaching a point where sustainable engineering is a constant and the default is still a long way off. However, there are things that can be put in place by businesses today to help secure the businesses of tomorrow.

Read More