Project Synopsis

Perform a process improvement evaluation study and a preliminary process design for a wastewater treatment (WWT) system at an aluminum manufacturing facility.

Project Summary


The client, a liquid management solutions and equipment company was working with the ultimate client, an aluminum producer, to upgrade the producer’s wastewater system. The primary contaminants from three mills are oil and grease, and the current system uses an inefficient acid-based emulsion breaking process which requires significant energy input. The client proposed an alternative process using electro-coagulation (EC) for emulsion breaking to improve removal efficiencies and increase available throughput. At this point Process Engineering Associates, LLC (PROCESS) was contracted to evaluate and develop a preliminary design for a complete wastewater system.

Tasks completed by PROCESS included:

  • Quantify the current wastewater generated in the mills to determine potential feed rates and required removal efficiencies by comparison with the facility permit requirements
  • Review test results from preliminary dissolved air floatation (DAF) and EC testing, as well as plant discharge wastewater data
  • Develop a preliminary block flow diagram (BFD) of a new wastewater system based around EC technology
  • Perform a preliminary mass balance using CHEMCAD process simulation modeling software
  • Calculate preliminary required throughputs based on the calculated mass balance
  • Investigated the potential of reusing equipment from the existing wastewater system in the redesigned system
  • Documented future testing requirements for both the new and existing equipment to confirm required performance is achievable for the proposed new wastewater system.

Based on the findings in this project, the client was able to propose a new EC-based system to the ultimate client and explain the efforts required for confirming that the design will achieve discharge rates below their permit requirements.

Industry Type

  • Water Treatment Chemicals / Aluminum Manufacturing

Utilized Skills

  • Industrial WWT system evaluation and design

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