Environmental Maintenance Reliability Safety

Single-Step Treatment Cuts Costs

EP Editorial Staff | April 1, 2021

A corrugated manufacturing facility treated wastewater on a daily basis with a rotary vacuum machine that used multiple chemicals. The cumbersome process used three shifts to treat 3,000 gal./day of ink wastewater.

Wastewater treatment system allows corrugated manufacturing facility to save time, materials, and money.

A Wisconsin-based corrugated manufacturing facility treated wastewater on a daily basis with a rotary vacuum machine that used multiple chemicals. The treatment process was cumbersome and the operation used all three shifts to treat 3,000 gal./day of ink wastewater. The manufacturer also wanted to consistently reduce phosphorus limits from the current 2 ppm to less than 0.1 ppm in the event the EPA lowered limits in the future. Other concerns included eliminating the use of diatomaceous earth and lime from the treatment process.

Looking for a more efficient and cost-effective system, the company turned to CETCO, Hoffman Estates, IL (mineralstech.com).

With an extensive background working with corrugated production, CETCO offers solutions to specifically treat contaminants in wastewater generated by corrugated and high-graphic-ink processes. RM-10 flocculants are a comprehensive line of wastewater treatment products that break up oily emulsions and remove inks, oils, metals, and suspended solids from contaminated waste streams. A blend of proprietary components, the flocculants offer manufacturing facilities a single-step treatment process that generates clean water and a non-leaching sludge that passes the TCLP (toxicity characteristic leaching procedure).

RM-10 flocculants simultaneously combine multiple functions of traditional treatment into one step for better precipitation and settling of contaminants. Available in granular, semi-granular, and powdered varieties, the material can be introduced to a waste stream with a dry feeder, making it adaptable to various treatment systems, including batch and continuous flow.

RM-10 flocculants are wastewater treatment products that break up oily emulsions and remove inks, oils, metals, and suspended solids from contaminated waste streams, such as this stream from the Wisconsin plant.

The Process

After obtaining a representative sample of the wastewater, CETCO technicians perform a treatability study at one of the company’s global R&D centers. Coupled with local discharge limits, the optimal RM-10 flocculant blend that balances effectiveness with cost is determined.

Collecting and analyzing samples in an off-site laboratory makes it possible to assess more treatment options. There are approximately 60 versions of RM-10 flocculants. CETCO calculates the cost per gallon and compares it to the customer’s current cost, arriving at an ROI for the purchase of any equipment and chemistry. Once the treatment method is determined, running a larger-scale test generates enough solids to run an in-house TCLP test.

RM-10 flocculants are bentonite-based. The clay platelets encapsulate metals during flocculation. Pozzolonic reactions occur between the bentonite, proprietary ingredients, and the precipitated metal hydroxides, binding the sludge chemically and physically, further reducing how much metal can leach out. Because of this, CETCO is able to reliably pass the TCLP test.

A single-step treatment process generates clean water and a non-leaching sludge that passes the TCLP (toxicity characteristic leaching procedure).

The Solution

Based on the study for the Wisconsin operation, CETCO identified a plan to lower the pH by adding less than a pound of RM-10 flocculants/100 gal. of wastewater. The treatment plan reduced phosphorus, allowing the client to meet their new 0.1- ppm discharge limit. The facility replaced their rotary vacuum system with a CE-400 automatic wastewater treatment machine, which allowed treatment of all 3,000 gal. of wastewater before noon each day with only one part-time operator.

The simple treatment also eliminated diatomaceous earth and lime from the process, saving the company more than $50,000 annually. Additional cost savings were obtained through reduced labor, resulting in an ROI of less than a year.

The time and cost improvement over the previous 24-hour operation and the comprehensive RM-10 treatment using RM-10 flocculants allows the facility to be consistently compliant with all wastewater discharge limits, including phosphorus. EP

For more information, visit mineralstech.com.

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