• Tristar Water Solutions
  • 10/11/2017

What Are the Best Wastewater Management Systems for Industrial Operations?

​Effective wastewater management systems are critical for Australia’s industries, both to meet the strict regulations safeguarding the country’s sensitive natural resources and to cut the costs of accessing municipal wastewater treatment.

Many of the country’s businesses produce effluents that need treatment, ranging from heavy industries such as mining and iron and steel manufacture to power plants, pulp and paper mills, food production, and even wool processing.

The Best Treatment Options

Fortunately, there’s a wide choice of good treatment options, starting with the extremely robust and reliable Submerged Aerated Filter (SAF). This biological treatment process is often portable and modular, and has a relatively small footprint. These systems also provide other benefits such as low operating and maintenance costs and power use. For all these reasons they have become a popular treatment option for mines, camps, remote communities and caravan parks.

The Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) is also a simple, low cost solution that provides a range of treatments in sequence (hence its name). Because SBRs work through treatment in a series of steps rather than a continuous stream, they are unusually well suited to dealing with low or intermittent flows. They are also able to cope with significant variations in effluent quality, and can be designed to treat a wide range of volumes. Like the SAF, SBRs are easy to manage and have low operation and maintenance requirements.

Another solution well suited to remote communities and industrial sites is the Membrane Bioreactor (MBR). These systems are a highly effective combination of proven biological treatment and a membrane-based process to separate solids from liquids.

The MBR, which is becoming increasingly popular around the world, provides extremely high quality treated water with minimal biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD). The crystal clear effluent is almost entirely free of suspended solids. Because the treated water is of such a high quality it can be used for irrigation, dust suppression and other uses such as toilet flushing and truck cleaning.

Other Possibilities

There are other solutions, both more basic (like the trickle filter, which simply spreads effluent over a bed of stones or other media) and more advanced, such as Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) and electrochemical technologies, which are at the extremes of the spectrum of treatment both in complexity and expense. Determining what a particular business requires to treat its wastewater effectively and economically is therefore a challenging task.

Choosing a Service Provider

This means it’s vital for businesses to choose a good wastewater management service provider to help them from the start. This will save vital time that could be devoted to the core business. Another benefit is that partnering with a specialist provider saves money in the long run – proactive, consistent maintenance minimises the need for costly repairs and replacement parts.

Dedicated service providers can help companies to choose the optimum solution – industrial wastewaters can have very specific and sometimes challenging treatment requirements.

For example, food product processing creates effluents with high levels of BOD, and mine discharges can be highly acidic or polluted with toxic metals such as zinc, copper, and lead. Power stations can produce significant levels of heavy metals such as lead and mercury, pulp and paper mills produce large quantities of wastewater high in COD, and chemical manufacturers can produce very complex and hard-to-treat effluents.

The Vital Need

Industrial sites are nevertheless the lynchpins of Australia’s economy, so getting wastewater treatment right benefits businesses, the environment and the country. Choosing the best location for a wastewater treatment system, ensuring the facility meets the site’s particular needs and is effectively managed, is vital – and requires expert help.


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