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Innovative Delivery of a No Discharge Wastewater Recycle System

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A ‘high end’ recycler, specializing in reprocessing of metals containing: nickel, cobalt and titanium, was under order to reduce effluent nickel concentrations in their wastewater effluent. In a multistep process, it was determined that organically bound nickel was the causative factor of effluent nickel excursions. Certain pretreatment steps, consisting of ultra-high speed centrifugation and oil control, were put in place to assure the facility meeting effluent limitations. Through time, the facility underwent through sizeable growth when the value of these aerospace metals increased markedly. Resulting from this, the parent corporation decided to expand operations under a new roof staying within the state of Connecticut.

Manufacturing operations include multiple physical and cleaning steps to assure a finished metal product certifiable to aerospace standards, had to be developed in the new location while operations still had to be maintained at the existing locale. The facility needed to maintain a near-constant business load during a time of substantial upheaval in the industry. Consistent with the operation of two manufacturing operations; one being shut down and the other started up, two wastewater treatment systems were required to treat the cleaning wastewaters involved in the process.

Early on, a decision was made to “close loop” the new wastewater system and design was undertaken in 2008. The design consisted of several unit operations removing oil and colloidal solids machine-side from rinse operations, removing organic material(s) in treatment, and with further recycle, maintaining a water salt content that assured product quality. Salt content will be maintained with installation of a 30-gallon per minute (gpm) condensate recovery evaporation system which is integral to the treatment system. Construction will commence in July 2009, and this 100 gpm non-discharge system will be operational in early 2010.

In addition to this ‘state-of-the-art’ wastewater recycle system, the decision was made for a third party to own and operate the system. An external investor has been brought in to build out, own and operate this system on behalf of the industry. Resultantly, the large capital expense associated with this system has been avoided by the industry in factory relocation. The investor offers a utility to the industry which consists of pre-heated water supply and wastewater treatment. Contract negotiations are on-going but will consist of some measurement of water supply assurance and stipulation of no wastewater discharge from the facility. To this end, discharge permits have not been pursued for the new location. This innovative roll-out resulted in a capital savings to the industry of several million dollars and allowed expert development of a high-end system which will serve the owner and the facility well for years in the future.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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