The utilization of raw materials to manufacture consumer products typically results in the creation of a waste byproduct stream (liquid or solid) whose characteristics will vary with the industry in question. Adequate treatment of this wastewater and any resulting solid residues/sludges is a critical component in the protection of our natural environment. The level and type of treatment required will depend on the contaminants of concern and whether the wastewater is discharged directly to the environment (natural water body) or to a municipal sewer system.
Wastewater Management Objectives
A wastewater management plant should address the following objectives: Achieve regulatory compliance | Minimize cost | Demonstrate environmental stewardship
Wastewater Program Elements
Minimize volume of wastewater for treatment - It is always simpler to treat a small volume of concentrated wastewater than a large volume of dilute wastewater. Some of the ways in which the volume for treatment can be reduced include:
- Reduce water usage in upstream processes where possible
- Reuse lightly contaminated sources of wastewater within the production process where possible
- Isolate small, highly toxic, wastewater streams and treat separately
Select appropriate treatment technology - Selecting the appropriate technology for a specific installation is one of the most important steps in ensuring that the final system is reliable, flexible and cost-effective.
The ultimate performance of the wastewater system selected will depend on the quality of the operating strategy adopted. The decision as to whether the system is operated by staff or contracted to an external company is usually based on corporate policy and will depend to some degree on the size and complexity of the plant.