Industrial sludge treatment uses appropriate technologies to reduce harmful substances in industrial sludge before being discharged into the environment. This is an important and necessary process in the wastewater treatment system at production, farming, and livestock production facilities because it dramatically affects the environment and human health. So what are the properties of this industrial sludge? What are the types of sludge? Are they all toxic and treated in the same solution? Let’s find specific answers in the following article content.
The importance of industrial sludge treatment and sludge classification
To better understand the current methods and processes of industrial sludge treatment, we first need to understand an overview of the primary issues related to industrial sludge. Each industrial process will produce sludge of different nature and toxicity. The content of this article will describe in detail the types of sludge, the generation sources, and the treatment followed to the basis for requirements to develop sludge collection and treatment plans for the systems.
Industrial sludge treatment definition and source of industrial sludge
Industrial sludge treatment includes the process of collecting and treating sewage sludge – seen as a by-product generated during wastewater treatment or in production and livestock production. Most of these sludge contains high levels of toxic heavy metals such as Cu, Mn, Zn, Ni, Cd, Pb, Hg that need to be treated. The purpose of the process is to reduce the number of harmful substances and the number of pathogenic microorganisms present in the solid before being discharged into the environment, avoiding the affected environment and human health.
Industrial sludge exists in liquid form, as a paste, or as a dry compacted sludge into a solid mass. Depending on the type of sludge, there will be different processes and treatment methods. What types of industrial sludge are there?
Classification of sludge treatment: properties of industrial sludge types
In the process of industrial sludge treatment, the classification of sludge will help us determine the appropriate and regulated treatment method because the properties and characteristics of different types of sludge will not be the same. Specifically, industrial sludge includes three main types as follows:
- Biological sludge: this type of sludge does not contain harmful substances, even contains valuable organic substances and nutrients, but they have unpleasant odours and affect the life and health of people. Therefore, in treating sewage sludge for farms, livestock barns, biological sludge is reused to make organic fertilizers. After collecting, gathering and rough treatment, people use biological products, peat, lime powder… to remove acid and smell of sludge. Although the composition contains up to 70% of industrial sludge, the quality of this organic fertilizer is considered to be not inferior to other fertilizers on the market with a relatively low price.
- Non-toxic industrial sludge: The main component is mud, it does not contain toxic ingredients, so there is no need to carry out sludge treatment. It can be released directly into the environment and is often used for other purposes in many cases.
- Hazardous industrial sludge: this is a type of sludge that needs to be collected and treated according to regulations before being discharged into the environment because toxic industrial sludge often contains high levels of heavy metals such as Se, Cu, Mn, Xn, Hg, Ni,… If not handled properly, it will lead to adverse effects on health and the environment.
What is the importance of sludge treatment? Main effects of industrial sludge
Industrial sludge is usually generated from manufacturing plants, livestock barns, farms. Most of these industrial sludges have a reasonably high toxic content index. However, there are many cases where untreated or poorly treated sludge and wastewater have been discharged directly into the environment in large quantities, causing severe and long-term consequences. Therefore, industrial treatment according to quality, environmental, and health standards is crucial. Specifically, there are two main effects as follows:
- Water and soil environments: When not properly treated but discharged into the environment, toxic substances in industrial sludge will quickly penetrate, changing the natural properties of the source water and soil. At this time, the living environment of humans is polluted, affecting living and farming, and causing ecological imbalance, animals and plants losing their ideal habitat.
- Human health: Industrial sludge is one of the causes of air quality going down. The odour from waste directly affects human life and health. Improper sludge treatment causes contaminated water, and soil will harbour dangerous pathogens and have lasting effects on future generations. In particular, contaminated soil and water used in livestock and farming will bring many unsafe foods and pose many health risks.
As can be seen, the proper treatment of industrial sludge is the responsibility of each individual and organization to the law and an obligation and morality, contributing to protecting the natural environment and human health.
Regulations on industrial sludge treatment: periodical treatment time
Different types of sludge will be produced for each type of production and business, so the regulations and standards on industrial sludge treatment will also vary, including periodic processing time regulations. Sludge accumulation for a long time is easy to cause a foul smell. Worse, it can cause damage to the storage tank and leak water, affecting hygiene and increased maintenance costs. Therefore, the periodic industrial cleaning of industrial sludge according to the plan will ensure the safety and hygiene, the durability of the system, and the beauty of production facilities and factories.
Here are some general standards in sludge treatment:
- Companies, businesses, and small farming establishments should collect and treat sludge and wastewater tanks at least once a year
- For factories, medium-sized enterprises should conduct industrial sludge treatment and tank cleaning with a frequency of about once every six months
- For large-scale production and business establishments, which regularly operate and discharge large amounts of waste, we should treat sludge about once every 1-2 months.
Periodic collection and treatment of industrial sludge also help businesses quickly check the system’s status to promptly detect problems and increase the life of the drainage system and the sludge tank.
For further information about other types of cleaning, find out: HRSG Cleaning: Solutions to improve tubes performance
The above article shows that industrial sludge treatment in production and livestock processes dramatically affects the quality of the environment and human life. To perform their duties well, organizations need to assess the level, classify sewage sludge and select appropriate treatment methods according to environmental standards. Currently, most of these stages are performed by reputable service providers to bring the best efficiency with an optimal solution.