Biotifx Market Case Study: Industrial Wastewater

  • MDG
  • November 15, 2016

INTRODUCTION

Industrial wastewater systems are found in the majority of manufacturing facilities that use water in their manufacturing process. This includes food and beverage, pulp and paper, chemical processing, petroleum, textile and steel industries. As a rule, industrial wastewater is relatively high strength and is subject to extreme characteristics.  Industries are being driven to explore and invest in new approaches to treatment. Industries  are finding it difficult to treat the high strength wastewater, are experiencing increasing regulations and pressure to achieve more with less. Bioaugmentation addresses the pains of industrial wastewater operations more directly and less costly than alternative chemical and capital options.

COMMON PROBLEMS

Industrial facilities typically have more extreme pains than municipal wastewater treatment plants. Industrial water is considerably “stronger” than municipal wastewater.  Influent BOD and TSS are commonly in the thousands (mg/l) and are accompanied by extreme (high and low) pH, temperature, and nutrient levels. Toxic substances in the water that inhibit existing biology are also common. Within industrial wastewater plants there is continuous drive to increase production within the same equipment parameters. Changing manufacturing methods and an uncertain regulatory future creates a culture reluctant to commit to a large capital investment in new equipment. Investments need to increase production while decreasing stress on the system and employees.

Common system pains resulting in high surcharges, fines and disposal costs:

  • Sludge yield and disposal
  • Load and flow variations
  • Toxic upset and recovery downtime
  • Foam
  • Odors (air permit limitations)
  • Nutrient removal
  • Fats, oils, and grease build-up
  • Poor sludge volume index (SVI’s)

Perhaps the most significant of these pains is sludge yield and disposal. Sludge handling equipment and  capacity can become a serious bottleneck.  With business reluctant to invest in large equipment and limited effective alternatives, wastewater operations are stuck paying high disposal cost.

COMMON PRACTICES

Using chemicals to address pains at industrial wastewater facilities is somewhat favored as they have lower upfront costs, can be implemented quickly, and require little long-term commitment to use. However, many chemical products used to address pains do not fix the underlying cause. In biological wastewater treatment plants this can have long-term negative impacts on treatment quality and costs.

Examples:

Settling aids (coagulants and flocculants):

  • Forces floc to sink without addressing the cause of poor biological flocculation
  • Settling aids may greatly increase sludge yield and disposal cost (30-50%)

Odor control:

  • Often removes biological odors after they have been generated
  • Oxidants used in odor control can harm system biology

Defoamer:

  • Physically keeps foam from persisting without eliminating the cause of the foam
  • Organic content in product can cause significant (>15%) BOD loading that causes upsets

While unit price and upfront cost of chemical solutions may be low, long-term costs of $100,000 to $1M+ per year is not uncommon. Large dosing requirements for many chemical products (50-1000ppm) results in high volumes of product being used, stored and managed.

While large capital equipment purchases are avoided for industrial wastewater treatment; smaller capital investments are a common solution to address plant pains.

These solutions may include:

  • Digital and automated controllers
  • Tank level
  • Chemical feed
  • Inline meter and sensors
  • Modular equipment/retrofits
  • Rotary screens
  • Filters
  • Variable speed drivers
  • Additional tankage

As a result, system maintenance, component age and design quality at industrial wastewater plants varies significantly between and within plants.  Individually, these investments can be effective at alleviating certain pains. However, investment ROI is typically low (10-30%) and short term (1-5 yrs.) as conditions change.  Total cost for these solutions vary greatly from $10K to $1M plus annual maintenance and operation.

BIOAUGMENTATION SOLUTION

The use of Biotifx™ Products and CATER™ Program offers a strong alternative to common practices as they are able to treat the high strength water while reducing costs of treatment.  Biotifx™ products contain a six or seven strain blend of Bacillus with strains specifically chosen to target common problems within industrial wastewater facilities, such as FOG, ammonia, hydrocarbons, etc. These strains have the ability to perform in a broad range of pH levels and temperatures, making them an effective treatment method in industrial plants experiencing extreme changes. Biotifx™ products have consistently shown:

  • Reduced sludge yield and accumulation
  • Reduced BOD/COD
  • Reduced TSS
  • Reduced energy, chemical, and sludge handling costs
  • Reduced odor
  • Reduced foaming
  • Improved settling (SVI)

CONCLUSION

Biotifx™ products and programs will provide both treatment and capital benefits to industrial customers. Industrial wastewater opportunities are abundant  but they come with challenges. Understanding their current system, treatment methods, and costs associated is essential to supporting the Biotifx™ products and CATER™ programs.