Concept of Zero Discharge Effluent

The concept of zero discharge effluent aims to eliminate discharges to the aquatic environment, recycle and reuse all possible solid and liquid process wastes, and reduce air emissions to the lowest possible quantity and toxicity. For all practical purposes, the concept of zero discharge necessarily means the following: 1) recovery of reusable water/other materials from waste water; 2) minimization or, no discharge of polluting substances into the environment away from the waste water treatment facility.

i) ii) iii) iv) v) the processes utilized for waste water treatment does not generate any additional pollutants production of waste is minimized by suitable selection of unit processes and adjusting operating parameters as far as possible, pollutants in the wastewater are transfered to solid phase (sludge) sludge is stored in a secured landfill recovery of reusable materials, especially water, is achieved.

Design Considerations for treatment plant
i) ii) iii) iv) v) vi) Treatment To achieve the above mentioned objectives, definition and adoption of suitable primary, secondary and tertiary treatment processes based on the physico-chemical characteristics of the waste water are very much essential. Irrespective of unit processes adopted in each treatment step, the main goal of primary treatment is to make the waste suitable for recovery during secondary treatment. And, the main objective of tertiary treatment is to treat the reject generated secondary treatment. quality of the waste water to be treated efficiency of the treatment system ability of the treatment system to withstand variability in the quality of waste water being treated over short-time (shocks) and long-time basis performance degradation of the machinery over a period of time operation and maintenance issues such as backwash and cleaning operations mass-balance under different perceived operating conditions.

Apart from this. Treating the effluent with two parallel streams of filters and/or automated switching of filters.Primary Treatment The quality of waste water determines the overall design of any zero discharge treatment system. and storing it in a separate tank for equalization and later treatment is another option. Essentially. waste water is subjected to suitable primary vtreatment which is normally meant to equalize influent. Depending on waste water quality. and odour. iii) biological (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD). Some of the design aspects that require attention are: i) ii) Design of PSF and ACF should also consider reducing the frequency of backwash to ensure that the performance of the zero discharge system is not getting affected. Filtration: This is meant for the removal of suspended solids. in the case of a Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP). the effluent from each member unit may be stored in their respective effluent storage tanks for a minimum period determined by the transient period of variability of waste water quality. designing an equalization system to absorb shocks is of paramount importance for successful operation of any zero discharge system. equalization is a very important step in a successful implementation of a zero discharge system for any kind of industry. and provision for additional stand-by filters. there may be sudden changes. are some of the options to ensure better filter performance. iv) colour and odour. Bye passing the influent with significantly higher concentration of the pollutants than that of the design capacity of the treatment system. and to remove/reduce i) suspended solids. it is possible to control the shocks to certain extent. known as shocks. . As process efficiency down the line largely depends on the quality of waste water received for treatment. This ensures that the quality of influent received at the equalization tank of the CETP does not change much. vi) toxic trace elements. Quality of waste water may change slowly over a period of time or. by suitable design of equalization process. Equalization: Controlling variability of influent characteristics is one of the important aspect in the design of a zero discharge system. vii) total dissolved solids (TDS). However. color. are hard to control and may pose significant threat to the treatment system. ii) oil & grease. sudden changes. Pressure Sand Filter (PSF) and Activated Carbon Filter (ACF) are normally utilized. Of these two. Variability in waste water quality over a period of time should also be taken into account during the design phase.

Easily degradable organics takes comparatively lesser time when compared to hardly digestible organic matter present in the waste water. flocculants for precipitation. Consider the case of aeration where incomplete mixing shall reduce oxygen transfer efficiency and increase power consumption. Another requirement of the aeration system is to ensure that at any given moment. Mixers: Mixers mainly play the role of mixing necessary chemicals with waste water viz. especially water recovery in the secondary treatment system. iv) Under situations where colour and odour removal by the filtration equipment is inadequate. anti-fouling agents for prevention of fouling etc. mixing is one of the important steps in a waste water treatment facility. BOD reduction may not be effective. Often it is possible to increase the overall performance of the waste water treatment system just by augmenting mixing efficiency in all the tanks. ozonation prior to filtration may be considered. This is essentially due to differing degree of biodegradability of the chemical constituents in the waste water. zero discharge waste water treatment facilities shall require Oxygen Transfer Efficiency (OTE) tests prior to actual commissioning to ensure that the aeration system is able to meet peak oxygen demand. Incomplete mixing may pose significant threat to process stability. Anaerobic/Aerobic Digester and Biodegradability of Organics: Even when the BOD/COD ratio and their levels are kept relatively constant. Insufficient aeration shall affect the BOD level of the treated waste water and unit processes down the line. For proper maintainance of this system it may be necessary to provide Membrane Bio Reactor to enhance the process.iii) Removal of suspended solids should be achieved gradually (viz. Like equalization. and bring about homogenization.. This also reduces power consumption. Therefore. and in some cases to the equipment. Excess aeration shall enhance dissolved bicarbonate and carbonate species concentration in the waste water due to the dissolution of carbon dioxide from the air. increases treatability of the waste water.. larger particles are removed first and smaller ones in the next stage) by cascaded and suitably designed filters to ensure that shocks do not significantly affect the performance of filters. prolong the life-time of some of the machinery and increases overall treatment system performance. the nature of the chemical constituents that contribute to BOD may affect the performance of the anaerobic and aerobic treatment processes. acid/alkali for pH adjustment. the supplied air should be just enough to oxygenate required quantity of waste water to maintain necessary level of dissolved oxygen concentration. In this case.. . Aeration: Aeration is an energy intensive process and it should be properly designed and actively monitored during operation.

In the absence of volatile organic substances in the feed. As the concentration of dissolved solids in the reject of a reverse osmosis system increases. it becomes increasingly difficult to extract water using reverse osmosis. Further. Provision of additional filtration modules may be necessary to maintain treatment capacity as filtration efficiency decreases with age. the purity of recovered water from an evaporator shall be normally high. fouling potential on the membrane surface increases drastically. vii) The chemical composition of reject from the reverse osmosis system is subject to feed water quality and percentage of recovery achieved. especially with respect to dissolved salts. mixing and partial recirculating techniques to adjust itself to influent characteristics. . Generally reverse osmosis system is used. vi)There may be variations in the feed quality. iii) Waste water resulting from cleaning operations should be disposed to solar pond for evaporation as it may contain lot of impurities. The reverse osmosis system may adopt stage and pass configurations and employ by-passing. v) Permanent fouling of permeable pore spaces and membrane degradation results in decreased recovery and increased salt pass over a period of time. when treating the reject. The following points should be considered i) It should recover as much water as possible to reduce the load on the tertiary treatment system that ensures that zero discharge is always maintainable. iv) The design should consider down time due to cleaning and other maintenance purposes. it is essential to equalize this before treating with an evaporator in the tertiary treatment process. the main purpose of secondary treatment is to recover reusable water and/or other useful materials (from reject). The reject quality and quantity may vary from time to time. Tertiary Treatment The primary objective of tertiary treatment is to recover water and segregate dissolved solids present in the reject obtained from reverse osmosis system.Secondary Treatment System In a zero discharge treatment system. ii) Low fouling membrane should be used to avoid frequent cleaning. Evaporator is an ideal solution for this purpose which can handle much higher total dissolved solids in its feed.

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