July 20, 2021
How to Improve Quality and Flow Accuracy in Industrial Effluent Applications
The Insider Blog / 5 min read
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July 20, 2021
The Insider Blog / 5 min read
Failure to meet permit limits can leave the company paying fines or surcharges, while the company and local utility both risk being out of compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Industrial discharges that exceed permit limits can also significantly disrupt biology at the treatment plant, increasing the likelihood of pipe corrosion and negatively impacting treatment for possible reuse.
To ensure regulatory compliance and protect infrastructure, an increasing number of local wastewater utilities are requiring industrial operations to provide quality and flow monitoring information before the discharge reaches the utility. Industrial companies can be proactive in meeting this obligation by collecting the most accurate data in near real time. This can also drive direct cost savings—as many utilities are charging industrial customers based on measured discharge—and provide the opportunity to improve efficiencies and be greener.
Total suspended solids (TSS), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), electrical conductivity and pH from industrial discharge can have the largest impact on treatment plants. As a result, these factors are the most in demand to be monitored.
Additionally, for operations that treat their effluent with chemicals before releasing it, failure to tightly control dosing will result in either spending too much money (overdosing) or not being as effective as necessary (underdosing). The latter can result in extra fees and fines.
When feedback from accurate water quality monitoring solutions is combined with the proper flow measurement technology, precise dosing eliminates both problems to ensure users are leveraging their resources as efficiently as possible.
Badger Meter now offers a large combination of solutions, flexible platform and variety of options for delivering remotely collected quality and flow data to industrial users and their local water utilities.
Earlier this year, we acquired Analytical Technology, Inc. (ATi), which specializes in manufacturing water quality instruments based on electrochemical sensors. ATi offers modular, configurable and low-power multi-parameter water monitoring solutions that can be used in a variety of applications where periodic or continual monitoring is required. Data can be stored locally or communicated to a central database via almost any protocol.
We also recently acquired s::can, an optical water quality monitoring instruments company that specializes in optical sensors that provide the ability to measure TSS, COD and BOD on a single sensor without reagents.
A wide variety of our flow metering products that offer accuracy and repeatability are available so users can select the most appropriate tool. A common option in industrial settings is the Dynasonics® IS-4000 Open Channel flow meter, which is an economical solution that includes a non-contact ultrasonic level sensor to detect water level and then calculate flow rate and total volume.
This meter is a popular choice for its precise measurements, reliable operation and application flexibility, which includes water treatment plants, storm and sanitary sewer systems and industrial discharge applications. When used with a well-maintained Parshall flume, the IS-4000 flow meter can provide flow rates and totals with a high degree of accuracy.
This is critical as more utilities are requiring industrial users to install these sensors in manholes or Parshall flumes prior to leaving the property.
Dairy processing plants are one example of industrial settings that benefit from accurate quality and flow measurement. United Dairymen of Arizona, an agricultural milk marketing cooperative, sometimes routed product to the drain during cleaning cycles and maintenance. Not only did this result in losses, but it also caused COD spikes in the sewage system, thereby impacting the rate it was charged by the utility.
To improve product retention and reduce effluent COD, it was necessary to understand the contributions of different process streams to the effluent. The s::can spectro::lyser was installed to monitor these various streams in a combined wet well.
This was combined with s::can ana::tool, an advanced event detection system that can alert the user to abnormal changes in the effluent composition. By sampling each of the process trains and reviewing the data, operators determined that there were opportunities in the process for significant improvements. These enhancements would ultimately produce a higher quantity of a sellable product rather than sending the product to the wastewater treatment plant. In monitoring these events within the wastewater stream, the cooperative was able to instantly act on an event alarm to optimize its procedures and generate significant cost savings.
Another example is an oil and gas operator that ran into issues when using its own wastewater in reinjection wells. This stemmed from being on three different discharge fee schedules (potable water, high-salt content water and produced water) with the local utility. Taking grab samples in the field wasn’t working well because the water was coming from multiple sources.
As a result, the operation was inefficient and risked paying more than necessary in fees. Since installing our low-maintenance conductivity sensors, the company is now able to log how much of each type of water is being sent into the ground and pay the lowest amount of fees possible.
Industrial operators have a significant responsibility to measure and monitor their effluent water. Every site is unique, however, so it is important to investigate the level at which accuracy in quality monitoring and flow measurement is needed. The best and most flexible suite of solutions will be able to quantify contaminants, assess potential exposure to the community and maintain necessary compliance with defined standards, thereby allowing for optimal operational efficiency and safety.