Complying with local, state or federal regulations sometimes requires a temporary water treatment solution for wastewater filtration or for reducing contaminants in discharge water. But designing the most efficient, effective system possible takes considerable knowledge and expertise. Many factors go into water filtration system design, and choosing a design without adequate analysis and planning can result in time and money wasted.
4 key factors to consider
Choosing the best water treatment technology or process for the project starts with answering these four basic questions.
What contaminants do I need to remove?
What are the maximum contaminant levels allowed?
How much water needs to be treated?
What flow rate do I need?
The answers will point you toward the right type of water treatment technology. Reverse osmosis and other membrane technologies can remove many contaminants and handle various flow rates. Higher contaminant concentrations may require a granular activated carbon system and/or an ion exchange (IX) system.
Depending on the contaminants you’re removing, you may need to use more than one technology or process. For example, if your goal is to remove selenium using an IX filter but the water also contains nitrates or sulphates, you may need to use a biological treatment system first to reduce the concentrations of those compounds, which can decrease the effectiveness of the IX filter. If you’re using a reverse osmosis system, additional pre- and post-treatment may be required for some contaminants.
If you’re not certain what contaminants are present or at what concentrations, taking samples and having them tested by a reputable wastewater analysis lab, or an equipment vendor with water filtration expertise and testing capabilities, is essential. Pilot tests and ongoing sampling will show you how well the system you choose is working.
Other factors that influence system design
industrial water treatment systems aren’t one-size-fits-all, even when the contaminant targets are the same. Here are four more factors, among many others, that may influence the treatment technology choice and system design.
The site footprint
The site footprint can limit the choice of water treatment method and influence the system design. For example, if space is tight, you may not have the luxury of using a clarifier system. A site that’s under a roadway may demand a linear system design.
Some temporary water treatment systems will end up costing more than others when you factor in consumables such as membranes, carbon, resin or chemicals. Calculate these costs head of time so they don’t surprise you and make you regret your choice of treatment system. Also consider the number of workers required to run the system.
If the rental filtration or treatment equipment you want isn’t immediately available due to supply chain issues, or it must be shipped across the country, you’ll need to choose a different solution if time is of the essence. Working with a temporary equipment vendor that has an extensive filtration fleet can increase your chances of getting the equipment you want when you need it.
Operator training and certification
Before you choose a chemical filtration system, check your state and local laws to see ifcertification or training is required to handle the chemicals involved. If it is and your operators don’t have it, you may need to choose a different water treatment method.
Onsite water treatment vs. hauling
If you’re wondering whether trucking the water to a third-party water treatment facility is the smarter way to go, get a quote. Trucking often pays off when you’re dealing with smaller volumes of water, in the range of 1,000 to 10,000 gallons. Beyond those volumes, an onsite water treatment system is generally more cost effective.
When treating 50,000 gallons or more, onsite treatment typically offers a substantially lower cost per gallon, and it may save time as well.
The importance of working with an experienced vendor
Designing a temporary water treatment system can be a complex undertaking. Even after a system is put in place, a host of factors can enter into the equation and change or add to the technologies needed. These factors include unexpected increases in contaminant concentrations, the discovery of new contaminants at lower depths and sizeable rain events that increase the amount of water to be treated.
Working with a temporary equipment vendor that brings extensive experience in designing and installing onsite water treatment systems can help ensure that you arrive at the best system for your requirements, including your space, timeline and budget constraints. It also allows you to react nimbly to changing conditions so you can minimize downtime, remain compliant and move on to other project tasks faster.