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A facility in Boston, Massachusetts received a ProChem Metaloc (Metals-Selective Ion-Exchange) system.

The Metaloc system is a standalone, skid-mounted system that will remove lead and other water contaminates from wastewater generated from battery washing operations at the facility.

The system is set up to treat in batches at a flow rate of up to 6gpm. The treated water will be recirculated and reused, eliminating the need to discharge to the sanitary sewer system. The system is equipped with electronic sensors to monitor flow, conductivity, pressure, and water level with alarm capabilities. The columns are dual arrangement such that one set may be put in-service while the other set is being regenerated at the ProChem regeneration facility.

About Wet Testing

Before we ship a system to a customer site for installation, we test it here in our facility in Virginia. We call it a "wet test." Wet testing includes running water through the system, testing and calibrating instruments, checking for leaks, simulating scenarios, training Technical Services staff, applying finishing touches, and ensuring all the pieces are functional and present before shipping.

ProChem is currently starting up a 10gpm CWP - continuous flow wastewater treatment system at a leading global securities company. The system will remove heavy metals and suspended solids from their waste stream before discharging it.  The following images are from the wet testing that was conducted on this CWP system.

 T104 Filling with Water

T104 filling with water for the wet test.

 

Technician, Turner Ward, calibrating a pH sensor.

 

Technical Services Representative, Scott Buff, getting familiar with the HMI.

 

I & C Manager, Mark Trussell, triple checking the PLC program.

Next Steps

After the successful we test, this system was shipped to Utah for installation. The installation and start-up process is now nearly complete. This process includes operations training and dedicated Technical Services staff on site. They are there to ensure that the system is running effectively, that the operations staff is ready to operate it on their own, and that our customer's expectations have been met--before we leave the site.

Watch a video from the wet testing on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ja76_vpMCM

What is Ammonia?

Ammonia (NH3) is a compound that is made of two gases: nitrogen (N) and hydrogen (H). It is colorless and has a distinct odor. Ammonia is used in many industries. In agriculture, for example, it is used for fertilizer. It is also used in food processing, metal finishing, chemical synthesis, ceramic production, oil refining, and many other industries. All of these industries produce wastewater that will contain concentrations of the Ammonia they use in their manufacturing process. Some forms of Ammonia are toxic to the environment.

What does Ammonia do in water?

When Ammonia reacts with water, it forms a weak base (pH >7). Two species of this compound exist in water: ionized NH4 (Ammonium) and non-ionized NH3 (Ammonia). It is the non-ionized form that is toxic. Generally, the equilibrium shifts toward a greater amount of non-ionized toxic NH3 with increasing pH. NH3 + H2O ↔ NH4 + OH One molecule of Ammonia reacts with one molecule of water to form an Ammonium ion and Hydroxyl ion. As the pH increases, the reaction moves more to the left, and the amount of toxic Ammonia increases. Concentrations of Ammonia (NH3) ranging between 0.5 ppm to 23 ppm are toxic to freshwater aquatic life. Ammonium is broken down by aerobic organisms to form nitrate (NO3) in a two step process: 2 NH4+ + 3 O2 → 2 NO2− + 2 H2O + 4 H+ 2 NO2− + O2 → 2 NO3− Ammonia can also complicate wastewater treatment by complexing the metals that are concentrated in the wastewater, making the metals more difficult to remove.

How is wastewater treated for Ammonia?

There are many methods for removing Ammonia/Ammonium from industrial wastewater. Some of the more common methods are listed here:

  • Conventional activated sludge: A biological treatment method. This method requires expensive capital equipment and large tanks or concrete basins.
  • Aeration: A time consuming and expensive method. This method requires a capital equipment investment and is used with conventional activated sludge to break down organic matter.
  • SBR (Sequencing Batch Reactor): This process usually has several treatment steps that may include conventional activated sludge and aeration, in addition to a third and fourth step. This method requires an expensive capital investment and most often uses concrete basins.
  • Ion-Exchange: The most economical method. This method requires lower capital investment in equipment and has a smaller footprint even for a large application. The same resins that are used to remove the Ammonia/Ammonium will also remove nitrates simultaneously.

ProChem strives to help their customers establish the highest level of credibility and a positive reputation within the regulatory community. Their goal is to significantly reduce the amount of fresh water that manufacturers require by providing sustainable solutions that will also benefit the customer’s bottom line.