Project Synopsis

Perform a high level process alternatives evaluation for options related to the treatment of wastewater at an aircraft painting facility.

Project Summary


The ultimate client, a world-wide manufacturer of defense, aerospace, and civilian aircraft had completed the preliminary design of a Wastewater Processing Plant (WWPP or WPP) to treat wastewater generated in an aircraft painting facility.  The system design is batch-based and uses conventional chemical metals reduction and precipitation technology. Process Engineering Associates (PROCESS) was subcontracted by the client, a multi-disciplinary engineering firm, to perform a high-level technical and economic alternatives evaluation of competing treatment options for comparison to the as-designed configuration. This evaluation was a value engineering effort to review potential alternatives for treatment of the wastewater prior to moving the WPP project into the next phase of engineering.

Four options were evaluated in this effort:

Base Case (Existing design by others) – Collection and storage of wastewater, batch treatment of wastewater using conventional chemical metals reduction and precipitation technology, treated wastewater is sent to holding tank for two days for analysis prior to being discharged to a publicly owned treatment works (POTW). Discharge to POTW, in all cases, is by way of dedicated sewer/pipe.

Option 1 - Collection and storage of wastewater, wastewater held (two days) for analysis and clearance prior to discharge to POTW.  Non-conforming wastewater to be shipped off-site for treatment.

Option 2 – Collection and storage of wastewater, continuous wastewater treatment using electro-coagulation (ECG) technology, treated wastewater discharged directly to POTW (no inventory hold-up).

Option 3 - Collection and storage of wastewater, continuous wastewater treatment using ECG technology, treated wastewater collected and held (two-days) for analysis prior to discharge to POTW.

The tasks performed for the client on this evaluation include:

  • Produced a Process Evaluation Basis to guide the evaluation effort
  • Review of the existing Base Case design basis
  • Developed simple process material balance suitable for equipment sizing
  • Developed a Process Flow Diagram (PFD) for each of the options
  • Prepared Equipment Lists complete with costs (vendor quote for FRP vessels and ECG technology)
  • Generated preliminary estimate of Total Installed Cost (TIC) for each option
  • Prepared equipment layout in existing building facility
  • Produced a comparative summary matrix of the cost and capability of the four systems.

PROCESS developed a written report that included all of the deliverables summarized above as well as a summary description of the four processes and a list of ECG suppliers. 


Industry Type

  • Aircraft & Aerospace Equipment Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Industrial waste water design
  • Process alternatives evaluation

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