System Integration & Control Systems Design

Safe and efficient water and wastewater treatment

October 2020 System Integration & Control Systems Design

Industrial production accounts for 20% of global water consumption. Every industry needs water in one way or another. For safe and efficient processes this water must be treated and monitored. Thanks to decades of experience in the water and wastewater industry, and a dedicated portfolio of solutions, Endress+Hauser can help make industrial water treatment safe and efficient.

Water is one of our most precious resources and the base of all life. Using it in a responsible way is the precondition for public health and environmental protection, but it also serves different purposes during industrial production: cooling, cleaning, rinsing and steam production, to name a few. Depending on the application and the industry, the water needs to have different qualities to ensure the quality of finished products and the overall safety of production. And afterwards, the water must be safely discharged. No matter where the water ends up, in a natural body of water or in the sewers, in most cases some form of wastewater treatment is necessary.

“Generally speaking, water treatment in an industrial plant has the same goals as in a municipal treatment plant,” explains Hennie Pretorius, industry manager for water and wastewater at Endress+Hauser South Africa. “The main challenge is to balance out the water quality and the treatment costs. Most of the established applications that are used in municipal plants can also be found in industrial treatment plants.”

Practical applications

One example is membrane filtration. Depending on the pore size, membrane filtration can be applied to achieve different treatment targets: from mechanical separation of bacteria or viruses up to single ions for desalination during the preparation of process water. It can also be used for water reuse by filtering already used water. The main parameters for optimising the membrane filtration are inlet quality and pressure; measuring these can help to prevent damage to the membranes. Endress+Hauser has a portfolio of pressure and quality sensors that are ideal for this application.

Another challenge that both municipal and industrial wastewater operators face is sludge handling. Disposing of sludge is expensive, so it is common practice to reduce the amount, either by dewatering it through adding conditioners like polymers or lime milk, or by anaerobic digestion. Particularly for wastewater with a high biological load, which is typical for the pulp and paper or food industries, anaerobic digestion is a very efficient pre-treatment process. Plus, it generates biogas which can be used as an energy source for other treatment processes. A basic process control, e.g. measurement of the inlet load, level, temperature, pH/ORP and biogas production, is needed to monitor the process accurately and optimise it. One of the toughest measurement challenges is the biogas flow because of the high water-saturation of the gas and very low pressures. Endress+Hauser’s unique ultrasonic flow devices offer a solution to this challenge.

“Working with Endress+Hauser has two main advantages for industrial water operators,” concludes Pretorius. “One, we have a wide portfolio of measurement instrumentation, automation solutions and services dedicated to the water and wastewater industry, which can be used to optimise industrial water treatment processes. Two, we have decades of experience in both the water industry and the other industries that need water treatment. By combining this experience, we have a deep understanding of the applications of our customers, which enables us to find the ideal solutions for all of their challenges.”


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