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Effluent treatment processes and procedures

effluent treatmentThere are many effluent treatment technologies available.  At HWT, our expertise lies in the design, construction and operation of effluent derived from the production or processing of foods and beverages.  This form of effluent treatment comprises an upstream mechanical separation process followed by some form of biological remediation.

Mechanical separation is relatively straightforward and this includes technologies such as screening, filtration and settling.

The real challenge is removal of dissolved organic material.   Sugar in coffee is an example of an organic compound dissolved in water.  One of the biggest challenges design engineers face is removal of dissolved compounds from water - be they organic or inorganic.

Effluent treatment

The chemistry of water is fascinating.  It's molecular configuration is quite unique and because of this, water has a boiling point way in excess of other liquids of similar molecular structure.  The reason why water is so unique is put down to the nature of the hydrogen bonds.  As any school learner can attest, water is a molecule comprising 2 hydrogen atoms attached to one oxygen atom.  There is more to the chemistry of water than the simple hydrogen/oxygen stoichiometric relationship.  Water has a dipolar charge - positive on the hydrogen side and negative at the oxygen.  Because of this dipolar arrangement, water is, at a molecular level, sticky. Water molecules attach themselves to surrounding compounds.

effluent treatment

To disassociate the compounds from the water molecules, design engineers have to tease the water and polluting molecules apart.  At the moment there are two ways to do this;

  1. ultra-filtration
  2. flocculation
  3. biological methods

Options 1 and 2 are effective, to a point.  The most efficient and cost effective method is the biological option.  Although largely understood, the biological method is still very much a mystery.

Within the realm of biological methods, there too are a multitude of processes and techniques.  The holy grail of effluent treatment is finding the sweet spot, where the sum of capital and operational costs are a minimum.