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Different types of effluent water and their water solutions
03 August 2018
Different types of effluent water and their water solutions

In many industries, there is an accumulation of effluent water that is created. The power, mining, manufacturing and construction industries are a few of the main culprits of effluent water. Now, before we continue, what exactly is effluent water? 

Basically, effluent water is any wastewater byproduct of a commercial, industrial or household activity, which is then distributed back into a clean water source, spreading its pollutants. There’s already a shortage of clean water in our country, so we can’t afford to have these industries naively contaminate our fresh water. 

We’re going to look at a few different types of effluent water that you’ll find in these various industries and the types of water solutions that are available to them to do something about it. 


Types of effluent water 

Effluent water will always be discharge water from an industrial or commercial source. But it’s handled in different forms based on where it comes from and what makes it effluent. And that’s important because it will affect which water solution is used to clean it and make it potable again. 

  • Mine water: Large volumes of water are used in the mining industry to extract minerals, recover metals and control dust. But, because of the elements one finds in mining (especially the sulphides in rocks on mining sites), there are various types of mine wastewater that are damaging to the environment and should be treated. Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) is one of the most problematic mining effluents. Then there is heavy metal contamination, processing chemicals pollution and sedimentation that are all types of mine wastewater created in the mining process. 
  • Sewage: Everyone knows that sewage water is not something you want to see, smell or ever drink. But even sewage has the potential to be drinkable water after the necessary physical, biological and chemical water treatment processes. Sounds gross, but treated water usually turns out cleaner than the original water source. 
  • Landfill leachate: Leachate liquid forms when water passes through landfills and picks up solubles and suspended solids along the way. It is one of the toughest effluents to treat but there are water specialist companies which understand the specific requirements that concern the treatment of landfill leachate. It’s a tough effluent as the liquid usually contains high concentrations of ammonia, nitrates, phenol and salt, amongst others. 
  • Feed water: When you look at power plants like the Avon Peaking Power Plant in Durban, they also produce effluent water, usually in the form of oily, boiler feed water. And feed water needs to be of a high-quality in order to maintain the operational functions of the steam boiler and, ultimately, the power station. The Avon power plant has put a water treatment system in place to ensure that their oily effluent water is properly treated before being released into an estuary.  

Regardless of where the effluent water is coming from, it’s important that it’s treated before being released back into the environment or reused within a water system. Otherwise, the effluent water will contaminate our clean water supplies and municipal water will make everyone sick. 


Effluent water solutions 

To avoid all of that and to save water in the process, there are effluent water solutions that can treat effluent water supplies. We’ll only be talking about a few of them, but the idea is that there are, in fact, solutions.  

  • Water recycling: Sending effluent water through an extensive water recycling process can result in it being cleaner than ever and ready to be reused. There are four stages of this recycling process. The first is a screening stage where the effluent is filtered from all large debris. It is then placed into a settlement tank for primary treatment where human waste settles at the bottom of the tank to form a sludge that is frequently scraped off the bottom. The water will move to the secondary treatment and third phase of the cycle where aeration and bacterial microorganisms get rid of the remaining organic waste. And, if need be, the water will then move along for tertiary treatment where disinfection occurs. 
  • Chemical water treatment: Depending on the source of effluent water and repurposing plans for it, there are chemically-based water treatments as well. For example, in the mining industry, it’s not uncommon for brine treatment through a membrane process.   

Water management system: If you were to consult water specialists, they would be able to design and manufacture a water management system specifically tailored to your company, industry and water needs. This is what PROXA did for the Avon Peaking Power Plant. If you know your company or industry requires a lot of water and produces a fair amount of effluent water that you don’t know what to do with, you should consider calling in the professionals to help you out.    

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