Manufacturing/industrial operations contribute to a city’s revenue stream when their process wastewater is sent to city treatment plants. Manufacturers need to get rid of their excess water, and cities are the ones that can take it away. This relationship often comes at a cost for the manufacturer. But what if the city’s system is at capacity for flows or nutrients?
When a city’s wastewater treatment facilities are at or near capacity for flows or nutrients, and expansion or replacement of the facility isn’t in the cards, they have to look elsewhere. One place wastewater can be reduced is through a city’s manufacturing/industrial customers. Here are three ways your city can work with your manufacturing/industrial customers to help them reduce their wastewater outputs.
Because process wastewater composition is highly variable, your manufacturing and industrial customers can better understand their process wastewater by gathering data at various times and locations. But how do they get the data? They can install temporary flow meters and selective samplers to collect wastewater from primary points of generation within their facility. They should consider sampling discharge lines from processing machines or waste collection pits to track flow volume and waste strength trends.
They can also review changes in their wastewater composition over time. If the data warrants, your manufacturing/industrial customers should evaluate options to retrofit their system to segregate the highest strength waste for alternate management or disposal. Recent studies completed at beverage bottling operations have shown that approximately 60 percent of the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) can be captured in the first 90 seconds of a system flush. This is important because a relatively small volume of captured wastewater will contain a majority of the waste strength, potentially translating into a reduced, or focused capital investment for wastewater treatment. It can be better for both cities and manufacturers to treat a smaller volume of concentrated wastewater, than to treat a large volume of low strength wastewater.
If your municipality is at capacity for wastewater flows or nutrients, and you can’t build new or retrofit your system, turning to manufacturing/industrial customers could be the key. By working with these customers, you can help them to reduce their wastewater flows. Reduced flows from industries means less wear and tear on your city’s wastewater system, and the longer it’s likely to last.
Steve Peterson oversees SEH’s wastewater practice in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan and is dedicated to helping cities make the most of their wastewater infrastructure. Contact Steve