The clean water crisis is one of the most devastating environmental issues we face today. As a result, wastewater treatment has become crucial to supplying the global population’s water needs. Wastewater treatment involves a rigorous and thorough process of cleaning used water, making it safe to be recycled.
Apart from the toilet water you flush, another form of wastewater that’s produced en masse is industrial wastewater. This water is used for the manufacturing process of different types of products — food, drugs, cosmetics, electronics, you name it. Since companies need to keep up with market demand, a whopping amount of industrial wastewater is produced every day.
This water may contain toxic compounds, organic compounds, various debris, and bacteria. That makes it all the more essential that industrial wastewater is treated to prevent a clean water crisis.
Besides the environmental reasons, it’s also relatively cheaper for manufacturing plants to recycle the water they use for manufacturing. This is because water treatment not only reduces the disposal of wastewater but also minimizes the costs of water supply.
The industrial wastewater treatment process
Industrial wastewater contains toxic pollutants that can harm living organisms, which is why it should be taken through the industrial wastewater treatment process.
Wastewater goes through the following treatment process to be reused. This process may be more complex, depending on the nature of the wastewater.
- Mechanical Filtration Systems. This is where physical contaminants are removed from the wastewater. Among those that are removed include heavy metal particles, fine particles, and unwanted trash. Water coming out of the filtration system is clear of these different debris types.
- Settling Chambers. This is where the water settles, allowing pollutants to either sink or float. This segregates the water from the pollutants (e.g., oils, sand, and fecal matter). The segregated water, known as effluent, moves on to the next process.
- Aeration Basins. Organic pollutants are removed in this phase (e.g., amoebas, bacteria, etc.). This is done by processing the water through air bubbles and select bacteria, allowing the organic matter in the water to degrade.
- Clarifier. The clarifier allows the bacteria in the aeration basin process to settle to the ground.
- Disinfection. The water is disinfected to kill off any remaining bacteria and organic compounds in the water. The water can be disinfected with chlorine, UV rays, or with the use of ozone.
However, maintaining the water treatment plant requires close oversight. Throughout this process, there are instruments used to monitor the waste and water. These instruments can help ensure the quality of the treated water.
3 Instruments Used in Industrial Wastewater Treatment
Below are the three instruments used to treat industrial wastewater.
1. Pressure Instruments
Pressure instruments, as the name states, measure the pressure of a given reservoir. These tools are installed on pipes and reservoirs of wastewater treatment facilities.
Specific pipes and containers can only sustain so much pressure, even if they’re created with custom alloys. Knowing the pressure contained in a given vessel allows your maintenance staff to take immediate action, preventing damage to equipment.
In the wastewater treatment process, a pressure sensor can be used to gauge the aeration process. Since air bubbles are essential to breaking down organic compounds, a pressure sensor should see if enough air is being blasted into the effluent.
2. Level Instruments
Monitoring water levels is critical for a variety of reasons. For one, the facility needs to research well to know whether a pipe or reservoir is reaching its water limit.
Level sensors display liquid or gas levels within a container. Since pipes, containers, and reservoirs aren’t transparent, these instruments are essential to know the level of the liquid or gas present in the container.
There are two types of level sensors — point level measurement and continuous level measurement.
Point-level measurement instruments monitor a specific point in the tank, reservoir, or pipe. Once the liquid level hits that point, the instrument may trigger an alarm or action. For the use case of industrial wastewater treatment, this action may be siphoning the water to the next processing stage.
Continuous level measurement provides real-time data on the water level of the container. A familiar example is your car’s gas tank. Your dashboard provides real-time information on your tank’s load. For wastewater treatment, a facility may have a continuous level sensor for their sludge reservoir to assess if it can take in more waste.
3. Flow Instruments
Flow instruments measure the amount of liquid or gas flowing through a specialized vessel. Flow instruments measure the amount of liquid or gas flowing through a vessel. They are essential for monitoring how much liquid goes into a system and out of a system. This helps staff check for pump, valve, and pipe issues.
Some flow instruments also measure suspended solids and debris within a stream. One such example is the Doppler Meter — one that’s particular to the wastewater industry. It assesses the density and amount of suspended particles in the stream, in addition to water volume flow. This makes it useful for effluent treatment.
These instruments can be used on closed full pipes and partially full pipes
Industrial wastewater discharges are harmful to the environment. In addition, the city or state sanitary sewer can only hold so much. To help prevent a water crisis, and also save water sourcing costs, facilities may opt to treat their own wastewater.
Wastewater treatment goes through a mechanical, biological, and chemical process that ensures the treated water is clean and safe to use. First, debris of various sizes is filtered from the wastewater. The water is allowed to settle, segregating it from sinking and floating pollutants.
The segregated water, known as effluent, is blasted with air bubbles and activated bacteria. This biological process rids the water of organic compounds. After that, the water is disinfected to kill off any remaining bacteria in the water.
There are three instrument types involved in this process. Pressure instruments measure the reservoir and pipe pressure. Level instruments monitor a reservoir’s gas or liquid level. Flow instruments assess the flow within vessels. They may also measure the volume of the flow and the particles within it.
These instruments help maintain the water treatment process — whatever type of industry. Some government bodies will require monitoring of specific data. So it’s best to have these installed when possible.