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Contents

What is Zero Liquid Discharge?................................................................................................2


Designing a ZLD-system...........................................................................................................2
Pretreatment...............................................................................................................................3
Primary treatment.......................................................................................................................3
Equalization and neutralization..............................................................................................3
Coagulation and flocculation.................................................................................................4
Sedimentation.........................................................................................................................5
Clarifiers.................................................................................................................................5
Secondary treatment...................................................................................................................6
Tertiary treatment.......................................................................................................................7
RO treatment..........................................................................................................................7
Working Operation of MEE...................................................................................................7

What is Zero Liquid Discharge?


Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) is a wastewater treatment process developed to completely
eliminate all liquid discharge from a system. The goal of a zero liquid discharge system is to
reduce the volume of wastewater that requires further treatment, economically process
wastewater and produce a clean stream suitable for reuse. Companies may begin to explore
ZLD because of ever-tightening wastewater disposal regulations, company mandated green
initiatives, public perception of industrial impact on the environment, or concern over the
quality and quantity of the water supply.

Designing a ZLD-system
As mentioned before, characterizing the waste stream is difficult yet essential when
designing a ZLD-system. It is important to start off with a realistic estimate of composition,
feed chemistry and flow rate. The selection of the waste water flow rate typically determines
the size and therefore the initial capital cost of the ZLD-system. Depending on the process,
the feed chemistry may change occasionally, and it is of great importance that one has this in
consideration. The most common measurements today include organics, for example,
chemical oxygen demand (COD), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), total organic carbon
(TOC) and inorganics (anions, cations, silica).
There are 3 streams which have to be treated, namely:
1. Domestic (canteen, dishwashing etc)
2. Non-process (RO reject, regeneration, cooling tower bleed)
3. Process (production, reactor, quality control lab, animal house)
The process streams 2, 3 are routed to a storage sump where they undergo 4 stage treatments,
i.e,

Pre-treatment
Primary
Secondary
Tertiary

Pretreatment
Pretreatment removes all materials that can be easily collected from the raw sewage before
they damage or clog the pumps and sewage lines of primary treatment clarifiers. Objects
commonly removed during pretreatment include trashand other large objects.
The raking action of a mechanical bar screen is typically paced according to the accumulation
on the bar screens and/or flow rate. The solids are collected and later disposed in a landfill, or
incinerated. Bar screens or mesh screens of varying sizes may be used to optimize solids
removal. If gross solids are not removed, they become entrained in pipes and moving parts of
the treatment plant, and can cause substantial damage and inefficiency in the process.

Primary treatment
Equalization and neutralization
The stream is then routed to an equalization tank which is a well - mixed vessel with
fluctuating input flow rates and / or concentration with fairly constant output flow rates
and/or concentrations. Processes for waste treatment work best with uniform conditions.
Shocks to the bioprocesses in the form of sudden changes in concentrations of nutrients can
cause upsets. If the concentrations or flow rates of the waste vary greatly, dosages for
treatment must be constantly be readjusted. Consider sedimentation. If the input flow
increases suddenly, the settling patterns will be upset to lower collection efficiency.
Equalization dampens fluctuations. Flow equalization can improve performance of
subsequent steps significantly. Often the rest of the plant can be designed with smaller
equipment (less capital investment) because of this improvement in performance.
Equalization allows reactions in the equalization tank. There is aeration both to keep the fluid
from becoming anaerobic and smelly and to biodegrade some of the organic compounds
present. More important for pharmaceutical wastes that can have wide swings in pH is the
reaction of acids with bases because otherwise each would have to be neutralized with costs
for equipment and reagents. Early in the process, usually following the initial step of
collecting debris from the input stream from the sewer the effluent is dosed with pH
neutralizing agents.

The goal of an EQ tank is very simple:

Equalize the flow rate,

Equalize or balance the organic concentration,

Dilute or dampen the impact from inhibitory compounds,

Neutralize the pH,

Even out temperature fluctuations, and

Minimize chemical usage (e.g., downstream pH adjustment).

Coagulation and flocculation


One of the first steps in a conventional water purification process is the addition of chemicals
to assist in the removal of particles suspended in water. Particles can be inorganic such as
clay and silt or organic such as algae, bacteria, viruses, protozoa and natural organic matter.
Inorganic and organic particles contribute to the turbidity and colour of water. The addition of
inorganic coagulants such as aluminium sulphate (or alum) or iron (III) salts such as iron (III)
chloride cause several simultaneous chemical and physical interactions on and among the
particles. Within seconds, negative charges on the particles are neutralized by inorganic
coagulants. Also within seconds, metal hydroxide precipitates of the aluminium and iron (III)
ions begin to form. These precipitates combine into larger particles under natural processes
such as Brownian motion and through induced mixing which is sometimes referred to as

flocculation. The term most often used for the amorphous metal hydroxides is floc. Large,
amorphous aluminium and iron (III) hydroxides adsorb and enmesh particles in suspension
and facilitate the removal of particles by subsequent processes of sedimentation and filtration.
Sedimentation
Sedimentation In the process of sedimentation, physical phenomena relating to the settling of
solids by gravity are allowed to operate. Usually this consists of simply holding the water for
a short period of time in a tank under quiescent conditions, allowing the heavier solids to
settle, and removing the "clarified" effluent. Waters exiting the flocculation basin may enter
the sedimentation basin, also called a clarifier or settling basin. It is a large tank with low
water velocities, allowing floc to settle to the bottom. The sedimentation basin is best located
close to the flocculation basin so the transit between the two processes does not permit
settlement or floc break up. Sedimentation basins may be rectangular, where water flows
from end to end or circular where flow is from the centre outward.

Clarifiers
From sedimentation chamber, the supernatant is sent to a primary clarifier. Clarifiers are
typically circular sedimentation basins. They allow further slowing of waste water so that
heavier organics fall to the bottom.
Clarifiers are used throughout the treatment process, both during primary and secondary
process to let solids and particles fall out of waste water.
A mechanical process called skimming takes place in the clarifiers: a skimmer slowly skims
the top of the water surface to remove fats, oils and other organic matter which floats on the
top. These solids from the top of clarifier and bottom of settling tank are then moved to a
filter press which converts these in to cakes and then these cakes are disposed safely.

Secondary treatment
The process involves air or oxygen being introduced into a mixture of screened, and primary
treated effluent combined with organisms to develop a biological floc which reduces
the organic content of the sewage. This material, which in healthy sludge is a brown floc, is
largely composed of saprotrophic bacteria but also has an important protozoan flora mainly
composed of a range of filter feeding species.
The combination of wastewater and biological mass is commonly known as mixed liquor. In
the activated sludge plant, once the wastewater has received sufficient treatment, excess
mixed liquor is discharged into settling tanks and the treated supernatant is run off to undergo
further treatment before discharge. Part of the settled material, the sludge, is returned to the
head of the aeration system to re-seed the new wastewater entering the tank. This fraction of
the floc is called return activated sludge (R.A.S.).

Tertiary treatment
RO treatment
The water from secondary treatment is sent to a series of 3 RO plats, in which the reject of
the first system used as feed for the subsequent system. The reject stream from the last RO is
used as the feed for the MEE plant. The permeate streams from the ROs are sent back for
reuse in the water purification plant. The working of RO system is same as described in the
earlier sections.
Working Operation of MEE
Reject from reverse osmosis system is stored in balance tank and pumped to the falling film
evaporators (first and second effects) through the tubes of the first calendria, where heat is
added. The vapour from first falling film effect is separated and sent to the second falling film
effect in order boil the effluent and so as to third forced circulation effect. Three circulation
pumps keep the crystal slurry in homogeneous suspension throughout the cycle and heat
exchanger is located on the discharge side of the circulating pump. The heated liquid then
flows into the vapour space, where flash evaporation occurs, giving super saturated steam.
The vapour leaving from the last effect is condensed in the condenser and the supersaturated
liquid flows down the down flow tube and goes for further treatment in the water treatment
facility. The water in the third effects heater is allowed to cool and the larger crystals (salts)
settle out and with mother liquid are withdrawn as product from the last effect evaporator.
In short, evaporators are used to convert entire quantity of effluent to zero liquid discharge by
separating water and salt using evaporation.