Industrial wastewater treatment

Concept (need and benefits)

Industrial wastewater is generated as a consequence of industrial activities. Industrial wastewater is generated as a result of industrial activity. There is a wide range of types of industrial wastewater (e.g. from processes, cleaning and cooling), with different types of pollutants.

Most industrial processes use water in one way or another. Once used, the water has to be treated before being disposed of, regardless of whether it is returned to the natural environment or into the sewage network.

Industrial wastewater treatment recycling and reuse

For the former, the treatment must be sufficient so that the discharge has no detrimental environmental impact; and, if discharged into the sewage network, the wastewater physical and chemical properties must comply with current regulations. There is a third option for already treated industrial wastewater: re-use.

Since water is a natural resource that should not be wasted, the most sustainable alternative is to treat wastewater until its quality is appropriate for re-use in the process. Environmental regulations, which are increasingly demanding, mean that re-use is the most competitive option in many cases.

At Condorchem Envitech, we work to optimize the use of water in industry, promoting its re-use after the production processes via zero discharge technologies, provided that these are economically and environmentally viable.

If zero discharge is not possible, we treat it until it is within the legally established discharge limits to avoid sanctions or other serious financial or social repercussions and loss of image.

In addition to allowing compliance with current environmental legislation, the treatment of industrial wastewater offers great added value for those responsible companies sensitive to the environment.

Condorchem Envitech Offer

Industrial wastewater, if not properly treated before discharge, can contain toxic compounds and compounds that are difficult to break down, and have a pH far from neutral, etc. Depending on the contamination it presents, the processes necessary to treat it correctly vary.

Condorchem Envitech has a long history of wastewater treatment and is an expert in designing and implementing the most competitive wastewater treatment processes that best suit the conditions of each customer.

Due to its extensive experience in industrial water treatment, Condorchem Envitech can offer a wide range of solutions in this area.

Among the techniques that Condorchem Envitech puts into practice to achieve the optimal solution in each case, are the following industrial wastewater treatment methods:

Biological treatment

When the contamination is biodegradable, the removal of organic matter, nitrogen and phosphorus is feasible through this process, which is economical and efficient. Biological treatment can be aerobic or anaerobic, depending on the option of interest in each case.

Condorchem Envitech has the following treatment techniques based on biological processes:

Vacuum evaporation

Condorchem Envitech is very experienced with this technique, which is ideal for treating liquid industrial waste and complex mixtures.

It is a clean, compact, versatile and very effective process. If necessary, it can be used to prevent liquid discharges.

The range of vacuum evaporators are based on three different equipment types of industrial wastewater treatment equipment, each with its own particular use:

Physicochemical treatment

This industrial wastewater treatment process covers a wide variety of techniques that can deal alone or combined with numerous types of contaminants (e.g. oils and fats, particles in suspension, colloidal substances, color, non-biodegradable organic matter, dissolved metals and hydrocarbons).

The most relevant single operations to remove these contaminants are the following:

The proper combination of these processes and their precise sizing are the keys to the success achieved by Condorchem Envitech in the numerous projects carried out.

Industrial wastewater treatment equipment

Processes and technologies

There are three important processes for treating industrial wastewater treatment technologies:

  • Biological treatment

    Biological treatment is preferred due to its low operating costs and can be used only when the pollutants are biodegradable. It may be aerobic (with oxygen) or anaerobic (absence of oxygen). Both techniques have a wide range of configurations and design options that vary the process features.

  • Vacuum evaporation

    This is the simplest, most robust and economical way to treat liquid waste if not possible by conventional means. It is the best alternative in many cases.

  • Physical-chemical purification

    Treatment based on physical-chemical processes can remove most pollutants in wastewater, either via a single operation or in combination.

The 3 process types are available from Condorchem Envitech.

Water types

Industrial wastewater can have a wide variety of physical and chemical properties depending largely on the industrial processes producing them.

Industrial wastewater can be classified into the following main types:

  • Water with biodegradable organic matter
  • Water with non-biodegradable organic matter
  • Water with oils and fats
  • Water with heavy metals
  • Salt water or brines
  • Liquid industrial waste

Sectors and applications

The treatment of industrial wastewater is necessary in all activities producing it, and is across most sectors.

Below is a description of the most relevant sectors producing industrial wastewater or liquid waste, the processes producing it and the most effective techniques in each case:

  • Food industry

    Numerous production processes generate wastewater within the food industry, e.g. slaughterhouses, salting and preserving fish, drying ham and sausages, olives and pickles, fruit juice, potato snacks, vegetable and fruit preserves, dairy products and derivatives, wine and cava producers, oils, fats and derivatives and beverage preparation, among many others.

    The water from these processes generally has a high content of biodegradable matter and salts. This means that normally the most competitive applications for wastewater treatment in food industry are biological processes and vacuum evaporation.

  • Energy generation

    Effluents are produced in desulfurization processes and purges of borated waters and that from turbines, among others. The most indicated treatments are those of a physical-chemical nature.

  • Waste management

    The most typical effluents from waste management plants are acidic, alkaline, contain oils and fats and used solvents and brine, among others. The most effective treatment options are physical-chemical purification and vacuum evaporation.

  • Municipal solid waste dumps

    Municipal solid waste landfill sites produce leachates of very complex composition which are treated by vacuum evaporation to form water and a solid waste.

  • Chemical and pharmaceutical industry

    The chemical industry is notable for producing very different wastewater, due to the variety of chemical processes used (basic chemical products, dyes and pigments, fertilizers, pesticides and agrochemicals, paints, varnishes and coatings, pharmaceutical products, cosmetic products and perfumes, essential oils and soaps, detergents and cleaning products, among many others).

    For the purification of this wide variety of wastewater, practically all available treatments are required, depending on the type of water; with some being more competitive than others, but in the end all are optimal in some cases.

  • Textile industry

    Textile industry wastewater contains organic matter, suspended solids and color. The things that we have to keep in mind with textile industry wastewater treatment is, depending on the textile process, the wastewater may contain high levels of pollutants.

  • Energy production plants and the oil and gas sector

    The main wastewater generated in this sector are drilling fluids, brine, flotation and concentration water and effluents from gas scrubbers.

  • Metal and surface treatment industry

    The metal and surface treatment industry generates a wide variety of industrial wastewater The most common are oily emulsions, exhausted paint pretreatment baths, exhausted electroplating and surface treatment baths, non-destructive water test samples of penetrating, wash and degreasing line liquids, compressor purges, liquid paint booth water and cleaning solvents.

  • Glass and ceramics industry

    Washing water from manufacturing reactors, brine and brackish waters is frequent in this industry.