Wastewater treatment for all industries

15th January 2021

Owing to decades of experience in the water and wastewater treatment industry, and a dedicated portfolio of solutions, instrumentation company Endress+Hauser can help make industrial wastewater treatment safe and efficient, explains water and wastewater industry manager Hennie Pretorius.

“Water is one of our most precious resources and the base of all life. Using it in a responsible way is the precondition for public health and environmental protection, however, it also serves different purposes during industrial production: cooling, cleaning, rinsing and steam production, to name a few,” he says.

Pretorius notes that, depending on the application and the industry, water needs to have different qualities to ensure the quality of finished products and the overall safety of production.

Afterwards, the water must be safely discharged. No matter where the water ends up, in most cases, some form of wastewater treatment is necessary.

“Generally speaking, water treatment in an industrial plant has the same goals as in a municipal treatment plant. The main challenge is to balance out the water quality and the treatment costs. Most of the established applications that are used in municipal plants can also be found in industrial treatment plants,” says Pretorius.

Practical Applications

One example is membrane filtration. Depending on the pore size, membrane filtration can be applied to achieve different treatment targets: from mechanical separation of bacteria or viruses up to single ions for desalination during the preparation of process water.

Further, it can also be used for water reuse by filtering already used water. The main parameters for optimising the membrane filtration are inlet quality and pressure; measuring these can help to prevent damage to the membranes, he notes.

Pretorius mentions that Endress+Hauser has a portfolio of pressure and quality sensors that are ideal for this application.

Another challenge that both municipal and industrial wastewater operators face is sludge handling.

Disposing of sludge is expensive, it is common practice to reduce the amount, either by dewatering it through adding conditioners such as polymers or lime milk, or by anaerobic digestion.

Particularly for wastewater with a high biological load, which is typical for the pulp and paper or food industries, anaerobic digestion is an efficient pretreatment process.

In addition, it generates biogas which can be used as an energy source for other treatment processes.

He highlights that, a basic process control, for example, measurement of the inlet load, level, temperature, pH/Oxidation-reduction potential and biogas production, is needed to monitor the process accurately and optimise it.

One of the toughest measurement challenges is the biogas flow owing to the high water-saturation of the gas and low pressures. Endress+Hauser’s unique ultrasonic flow devices offer a solution to this challenge.

“Working with Endress+Hauser has two main advantages for industrial water operators,” notes Pretorius.

The first is the company has a wide portfolio of measurement instrumentation, automation solutions and services dedicated to the water and wastewater industry, which can be used to optimise industrial water treatment processes.

Secondly, the company has decades of experience in both the water industry and the other industries that need wastewater treatment,” he says.

Leveraging this experience, the company has a deep understanding of the applications of its customers, which enables it to find the ideal solutions for all of their challenges, Pretorius concludes.