Wastewater Processing: 8 Tips to Make Your Manufacturing Site More Sustainable

By GoCanvas Team on April 24, 2023

When it comes to wastewater disposal, manufacturers can place a significant strain on municipal water systems. The lack of proper waste management leads to sanitary waste, particularly in metropolitan areas’ water supply. This has catastrophic effects on people’s sense of health, education, and economic growth. In fact, we can trace recent cholera outbreaks mainly to the widespread use of improper wastewater processing, including poorly constructed wastewater management facilities that can leach their contents into surrounding soil and informal pit emptiers that dump sanitation waste into open drains and the local water supply.

This helpful guide discusses how manufacturers can enhance their wastewater processing to make them more environmentally sustainable.

1. Operational Improvement

Equipment should undergo frequent checks to assess its current state, performance, and remaining usable life at a given facility. Older machines are less productive, more expensive to maintain, and thirstier for power than their modern counterparts. 

2. Reducing Disinfection Usage

Eliminating potentially dangerous chlorine disinfection systems is a crucial safety advantage of ultraviolet (UV) disinfection systems, while the systems’ low energy consumption is a welcome side effect. In place of chlorine, you can utilize a UV light disinfection system. This eliminates the need for expensive and sometimes dangerous chemicals. 

Electrocoagulation is a sustainable alternative to chemical coagulation, in which chemicals are introduced to the effluent to induce solid particles to agglomerate and sink to the bottom of a clarity tank. Apart from adjusting the pH, electrocoagulation does not require chemical additions. In contrast to chemical coagulation, which produces an abundance of potentially harmful sludge, electrocoagulation leads to less sludge that poses no danger. In fact, you can dewater this sludge without much effort. As an alternative to disposal, you can sell the dewatered sludge to agricultural businesses which they can use as a soil additive with organic fertilizers.

3. Conversion of Wastewater to Renewable Energy

Anaerobic digesters are another wastewater processing technique that converts wastewater into renewable energy. The methane that an anaerobic digester produces can generate electricity for the wastewater facility at a much-reduced cost. As a result of the total reduction in energy expenditures, the facility can become more self-sufficient.

4. Educating Staff on the Importance of Embracing Sustainable Solutions

The most effective way to achieve energy goals and uncover new avenues for efficiency is to educate treatment system operators on the connection between facility operations and energy efficiency. Operators will more likely recommend and adopt efficiency changes after asking for their views. Because they interact with the facility’s processes on a daily basis across all departments, staff members have unique perspectives to bring to the table.

5. Optimizing Aeration

Adding dissolved oxygen control systems and variable frequency drives in blowers and other parts of the air distribution system can reduce the power that blowers use while improving aeration. Around 50% of an activated sludge wastewater treatment facility’s energy goes toward powering the aeration system.

Suppose your current blowers are on the brink of breakdown. In that case, you may consider upgrading to a single high-efficiency turbo blower that you can adjust according to the dissolved oxygen concentration in the water. Is your diffuser system getting on in years? Upgrading to fine-pore or ultra-fine-pore diffusers on the grid can boost oxygen transfer efficiency and reduce treatment air requirements.

6. Upgrading Pumping Systems

By replacing outdated pumps with newer ones, you can save on both operation and upkeep over time. You can match pump speeds to flow rates to further reduce energy consumption using inexpensive and more reliable variable frequency drives. Wastewater treatment facilities typically feel obliged to pump water at rates corresponding to fresh wastewater’s arrival to minimize the need for storing water. In this situation, it is necessary to regulate the flow rate of the pumps.

It is important to keep in mind that not all approaches to flow management are created equal. Throttling valves, for instance, are often employed for flow control, as they create energy losses in the pipeline.

You can control water flow with little energy loss by installing a variable frequency drive (VFD) that rotates the pump’s shaft at the same speed as the water’s desired delivery rate. There will be some heat loss from using VFDs. The pump will also need to function effectively across the working range.

Are you wondering whether your system may need some tweaks and which solution would be appropriate for your facility? You can conduct an analysis to determine whether implementing a potential solution will provide desirable results. Note that pumps may waste energy if they aren’t working within their optimum parameters.

7. Recycling Essential Nutrients

Plants need phosphorus, which is a vital part of fertilizers. If your facility is using or considering biological phosphorus removal, you may want to look into the potential for making a high-quality commercial fertilizer. Lowering phosphorus loading in the recycling streams can enhance the plant’s sidestream performance and the utility gains a new income stream at no additional cost to operations.

8. Application of Advanced Green Technologies (AGTs)

As environmental consciousness rises and regulatory oversight tightens, the efficacy of specific traditional wastewater treatment methods is being called into doubt. Since current wastewater processing methods are inadequate, AGTs are being researched, evaluated, and used as eco-friendly replacements.

Bioreactors are the backbone of the most widespread advanced technology used for wastewater treatment. Bioreactors populated with sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) can recover precious metal sulfides by precipitating them as insoluble solids from metal-containing wastewater.

How GoCanvas Can Help

When you rely on informal checklists and training, you leave yourself open to oversights that may prove costly. GoCanvas can create official records of your business’s safety and compliance programs, standard operating procedures (SOPs), audit and authentication services, and security protocols.

GoCanvas believes data is too valuable to sit in storage. We can help in enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of your wastewater treatment so that you can return to doing what you do best. Our clients come first, and we provide high-quality customer service that will help make your manufacturing site more sustainable. Please don’t hesitate to contact us right away to request a demo and learn more about wastewater processing.