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US EPA has proposed new categorical pretreatment standards for the wastewater generated by the Metal Products and Machinery industry which includes all automotive plants. The oil and grease (O&G) standard (17 mg/L monthly average) is one to two orders of magnitude lower than Ford's current discharge limits. The rationale for this low standard is to remove organic compounds from the wastewater. Most Ford engine and transmission plants will not meet the proposed standard without modification. Therefore, adsorption was studied as an add-on option to polish the effluent from the existing treatment process, either chemical de-emulsification or ultrafiltration. Five adsorbents (powdered activated carbon, anthracite, and three modified clay adsorbents) were investigated by developing adsorption isotherms for O&G and chemical oxygen demand (COD) using wastewater collected from an Engine Plant. The primary findings are:

Activated carbon had the highest adsorption capacity, whereas anthracite had the lowest.

For a typical O&G concentration range (0 to 30 mg/L) expected in the effluent after chemical de-emulsification or ultrafiltration at Ford plants, activated carbon was found to outperform all clay adsorbents studied by over an order of magnitude in terms of both adsorption capacity and costs.

The adsorption of COD showed a trend similar to that of O&G.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-01-01

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