• Tristar Water Solutions
  • 10/11/2017

5 Things to Consider When Selecting a Wastewater Treatment System

​The Australian mining industry brings in billions of dollars each year. Whether we directly work in the industry or not, it’s important to understand the contribution mining makes to our economy. To promote the highest practices in the industry that encourage the best sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, proper water filtering and water recycling is a core part or any successful operation.

Remote areas in particular and mine sites rely on a heavy amount of water consumption to run projects smoothly. This high amount of water usage consequently leads to a significant amount of mining wastewater being produced. Poor quality mining wastewater can present big problems for the health and safety of mine sites. Safely filtered water needs to be handled with care – by professionals who understand the process and know precisely what needs to be done. This is where effective wastewater treatment systems come into play. Here’s the top considerations for investing in the best wastewater treatment system for your remote site or mining needs.

1. Familiarise Yourself with the Different Treatment Systems

Not all wastewater treatment systems are the same. Like with any major purchase, it’s imperative you do your research before committing to the buy. Arm yourself with information to determine which type of wastewater treatment system will effectively meet the needs for the job. Various treatment systems like MBR, SAF and SBR all come complete with their own set of benefits and features.

MBR (Membrane Bioreactor) treatment plants process wastewater and deliver it in a way that’s suitable for use in human contact areas. Through a combination and adjustment of Biochemical Oxygen and Chemical Oxygen levels, the MBR process completely removes all suspended solids making the water clean, environmentally friendly and most of all – safe for human use.

Other methods like SAF and SBR vary with their screening processes to meet the needs of the job. Pre-treatment units are characterised depending on what the water will be used for but both utilise a downstream filtration process to treat the water. MBR treatment plants however, are the highest quality of water treatment.

2. Determine What Costs Are Involved

Due to the variety of treatment processes and systems, the costs associated can fluctuate. During your research stages, it’s important to not just determine what system is best for the job – but what costs are involved for each process including its design, installation process and ongoing maintenance. Different filtration methods, treatment technologies and how advanced the requirements are will all affect the price.

From a design perspective, more remote sites and mining operations require a wastewater treatment system that’s compact and practical for space and mobility. These units undergo a strict testing before being delivered to ensure they compile with the firm health and safety guidelines, but like any piece of machinery – maintenance on a regular basis is essential. Find out how your chosen system will need to be looked after and what costs are involved.

3. Understand the Mining Industry Challenges

Without understanding the challenges of mining operations and remote sites, it’s impossible to find the right wastewater treatment system for you. Mining wastewater is rich with heavy metals, solids, unhealthy grease and hydrocarbons that can be harmful to our environment. Not to mention human contact. Isolated mining sites in particular are located in very harsh environments. Thus, specialised equipment to ensure the safety and correct filtration and treatment of water is paramount.

To meet the industry challenges, wastewater treatment systems need to be specifically designed for recycling water in these harsh environments, utilise the highest quality mining oil separators for filtering water, be as low maintenance as possible and have remote alarm systems for easy operation. These systems also need to be easily transportable and installed.

4. Consider Tank Features and Water Control Techniques for Wastewater Treatment Systems

As mentioned above, different systems will offer different features. All quality treatment plants will have aeration blowers which are a core component of wastewater treatment. There are four types of these and each are engineered differently depending on the process of its operation. Pumps, flow equalisation tanks and peak flow modulations are all key features to look out for too. Tanks should be tested for water tightness, have access to alternative drainfields and utilise modular, prepacked components to optimise quality control during installation.

The water is careful controlled and managed through techniques to eliminate the release of contaminated water into the environment or human consumption. These control procedures can include, but aren’t limited to, capturing drainage water, diverting surface water from the entering the mine site, recycling water used for processing ore and installing liners on waste rock or ore piles to reduce the potential contact and contamination of groundwater.

5. Keep Your Finger on the Pulse with Environmental Management Strategies

One of the most important features to consider too, is the system’s compliance with water authority and high environmental standards. Before selecting a wastewater treatment system, check with your environmental department for what water quality standards are required for the project.

A company that prides themselves on practicing and green friendly methods for the benefit of our environment will encourage a better project and working space for all. By implementing positive environmental management strategies and being aware of the impacts water usage has in the mining industry, issues can be easily addressed through the use of effective wastewater treatment.


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