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Manufacturing facilities in the U.S. consume high volumes of water in order to manufacture goods for the public. That water is regulated by federal and local government when it is fed into the facility and when it is discharged from the facility (as wastewater). Recycling this wastewater can eliminate the need to discharge water altogether, reducing the amount of water a facility consumes significantly. Reducing water consumption saves the manufacturer money and reduces their impact on the environment. Here are the top 3 reasons why manufacturers recycle and reuse their process water.

1. Social Responsibility / Environmental Stewardship

Manufacturers are using their existing brand power to lead by example and support water conservation efforts. Mandates from corporate headquarters are passed to their U.S. manufacturing facilities to recycle water, reduce water consumption, and demonstrate environmental stewardship overall. These companies recognize those efforts as a social responsibility, understanding also that consumers favor companies who are taking action to improve the impact they have on their community and the environment.

2. Drought Response

Manufacturers within states that experience drought (short term or long term) are impacted by water price increases and state-wide conservation mandates. These impacts can turn into production losses and even downtime, if the facility does not have access to the water volume they need to keep up with regular production. An industrial wastewater recycling system (a closed loop process) ensures that the facility has the volume of water they need for production, even during a drought. Manufacturers who use water recycling systems report reuse rates varying between 80% and 95%. The reuse rate is dependent upon the facilities wastewater quality and the technology used in the recycling system. At any rate, this is a viable long-term solution for facilities in drought-prone regions.

3. Cost Savings

Manufacturers are routinely trying to cut back expenses. Often they look to cut operation costs, which include expenses associated with water. Facilities incur several ongoing water-related costs. They purchase water form the city, purchase and maintain wastewater treatment equipment, employ personnel to operate the treatment equipment, and pay fees associated with discharge permits. Additionally, if a manufacturer is out of compliance with their discharge permit, they can also incur penalty fees and even face legal action. While the cost per gallon of water varies, more manufacturers are finding they can save money by recycling what they already use. Water recycling practices can also provide added benefits such as extending the life of process and treatment equipment (due to the high quality of the recycled water).

Summary

Recycling industrial wastewater allows manufacturers to reuse the water they have already purchased, which saves the money, mitigates impacts from drought conditions, and promotes the company as environmental stewards. There are many big name companies who recycle their wastewater, and they usually promote these activities online and in annual reports that are also available to the public. With just a little research, you can learn about the environmental initiatives of your favorite brands.

In the face of impending changes to the power industry's ELG limitations from the EPA, facilities are looking for a cost-effective solution for meeting stricter limits now and in the future.

This table outlines the proposed limits on the most heavily restricted contaminants and their concentrations found in FGD waste streams (that were used to test I-PRO technology).

Power Industry Proposed ELGs 

Traditional treatment methods utilize physical/chemical treatment and biological treatment, and then discharge the water. Doing so, however, still leaves room for permit violations. Traditional systems are also very large in size and are capital expensive.

Zero-liquid discharge is the best option for power generation facilities to meet these low ELG limits, as it the only method that will ensure 100% compliance now and in the future. ProChem's I-PRO technology in conjunction with solidification or evaporation can provide power generation facility's with an economical solution for meeting currently proposed regulations and future regulations.

The following results were reported a study conducted on ProChem I-PRO technology (with recommended pretreatment).

Contaminant Removal Data

ProChem IHPRO Removes Selenium

Recovery & Reuse Percentages

The following data is based upon a total daily flow of 100,000 gallons (average).

95 percent reuse rate with ProChem

Recovery Achieved - 95%

  • 5% Concentrate = 5,000 gpd
  • Evaporation and solidification options
  • <4 gpm of Concentrate to manage
  • Wastewater generated fro reuse/discharge: 95,000 gpd

ProChem, Inc. has teamed up with Environmental Energy Services (EES) as part of their new KLeeNwater™ platform.

EES is a leading provider of engineering solutions for the optimization of combustion systems in the power industry. Together, ProChem, Inc. and EES will provide power generation facilities with solutions to meet their effluent limitation guidelines. The proposed EPA guidelines will enforce a stricter limitation to the water discharged from Power facilities, with an emphasis on reducing Selenium, Arsenic, Nitrites and Nitrates, and other contaminants.

EES will optimize existing physical/chemical separation processes to prepare wastewater for industrial high pressure reverse osmosis (I-PRO™) treatment. The IHPRO technology is designed and manufactured by ProChem, Inc. According to EES Vice President, Mark Pastore, the goal of this partnership is to “provide the most economical and effective option for these facilities.” So far, the results of this powerful relationship are…well, powerful. Considering the footprint of the MSH-pi as compared to traditional systems alone, where the I-PRO™ measures in at a mere fraction of the size of traditional systems used at Power facilities, this technology is certainly cause for consideration. What’s more, though, are the actual treatment results.

The I-PRO™ technology is producing such high quality effluent that wastewater reuse rates reach over 95%, and the final concentrate is 5% of the incoming water stream. Both factors make this technology an ideal situation for zero liquid discharge systems, which are also part of the KLeenWater platform. EES and ProChem believe that ZLD is the best solution for the Power Generation industry to ensure future compliance. ProChem, Inc. Vice President of Sales, David Martin, states that: “We’ve moved beyond the days of the traditional multi-acre footprint for removing Selenium...and [we’re] more interested in a long-term focus for solving the water problem. The reuse system with I-PRO is simply more economical and flexible, [but] more importantly it is the most effective [technology] out there…We are in the business of solutions, and we have the data to show for it.

ProChem, Inc. is proud to announce that we will be designing and building a continuous flow wastewater treatment system for an international chemical manufacturer located in Georgia. The wastewater treatment system will treat 50 gallons per minute of water, removing fluoride and suspended solids. The system will also be equipped with controls instrumentation and monitoring.

Congratulations to the ProChem team and to our new customer for finding a solution to their water problem.

Wichita Falls, Texas - Alcoa (Howmet) held a groundbreaking ceremony on March 9th for a Natural Engineered Wastewater Treatment system (NEWT). The NEWT is the first of its kind in Texas, and ProChem, Inc. will be integrating its systems with the NEWT. The existing ProChem wastewater treatment (WWT) system collects industrial wastewater from the facility’s manufacturing process, treats it using physical/chemical protocols, and then will feed it to ProChem’s HPRO water reuse system for recirculation back into the manufacturing process. The NEWT system will collect sanitary water from the facility, purify it using vegetation, and then feed it to ProChem’s HPRO water reuse system also for recirculation into the manufacturing process. With these systems in place, Alcoa will reduce their overall water consumption by 68%.

NEWT System Process Flow

Alcao_ProChem_Integration

For more information, read and watch the local news coverage on Alcoa’s groundbreaking ceremony.