In two previous papers we dealt with an overview of environmental engineering and industrial wastewater permits. In this paper, we will discuss environmental engineering required to address industrial wastewater. This is the engineering required to treat the wastewater so it does not pollute the receiving surface water, or so it is within tolerable limits and virtually has no impact. Environmental engineering is required to determine the best reasonably achievable control technology to do so. The environmental engineer must be involved in the design, testing, and adjusting the treatment process. Florida NPDES Industrial Wastewater permit applications must be signed and sealed by a Florida licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.). A P.E. in Florida is only allowed to practice in areas that he or she has the required education, training, and experience. Thus, the P.E. must be an environmental engineer with industrial wastewater knowledge and experience.
Start with the Pollutants
To engineer the treatment, you have to know the waste stream. The environmental engineer must become familiar with the industrial materials and processes generating the wastewater. Following are a few pollutants which may be of concern:
- Heat (thermal)
- Nutrients (phosphorus and nitrogen)
- Biochemical Oxygen Demand (e.g., organic matter)
- Heavy Metals
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Particulates resulting in Turbidity
Each type of pollutant may require a different environmental engineering design to remove or reduce it in the wastewater before discharge.
Clean It Up
The goal is to clean up the wastewater so the pollution is below State standards prior to discharge. Mixing zones can be approved where the concentration is above the standard at the point of discharge but is allowed to mix with the receiving water and must be below the State standards so many feet downstream. Approval of such mixing zones by the FDEP (Florida Department of Environmental Protection, www.floridadep.gov) is possible, but not likely. There has to be a very good reason why the State standard cannot be met at the point of discharge.
The treatment design is selected to address the pollutants. Following are a few examples:
- Cooling of heated (thermal) effluent
- Primary and secondary settling of particulates in pond or tank
- Aeration to encourage biota to degrade organic matter
- Chemical additives to oxidize or coagulate select pollutants
- Percolation to allow filtration in soil column
- Filtration with various types of filters
Role of the Environmental Engineer
First, the environmental engineer reviews the industrial process, including materials and chemicals, generating the industrial wastewater. The engineer then evaluates several treatment design options and runs calculations to determine which one will work best and will be cost-effective. He or she then prepares the permit application; submits it to FDEP and, if required, to the County; provides additional information requested by the FDEP and County; reviews the permit making sure that it meets good engineering practice; and, if requested, monitors the treatment process in light of the permit conditions.
So there is a discussion of industrial wastewater environmental engineering and what the environmental engineer’s role is! If you need any assistance, Environmental Safety Consultants
(www.escflorida.com) is here. We are a Florida licensed environmental engineering company with a P.E. on staff. We have the credentials and experience to help you with your industrial wastewater needs.
We are just a telephone call (800-226-1735) or an e-mail away (firstname.lastname@example.org). Contact us today!