Cost-Effective Wastewater Treatment Helps Reduce Environmental Footprint and Ensure Regulatory Compliance
A leading supplier of wheat, feed grains, food-grade corn, and soybeans to millers and food processors is building a soybean crushing facility in Kansas capable of handling 45 million bushels of soybeans annually to produce soybean meal and refined soybean oil. The plant will generate wastewater that cannot be discharged to publicly owned treatment works (POTW) due to rising service costs or other open surface discharge as part of the regulatory requirements for the facility.
The soybean crushing facility needed a wastewater treatment solution that would comply with strict regulatory requirements while minimizing its water footprint. The solution needed to be sustainable, cost-effective, and capable of treating the wastewater to maximize recovery.
Aquatech proposed a unique solution that combines wastewater treatment with demineralized water production to address these challenges. The solution utilizes minimum liquid discharge (MLD) technology, which minimizes liquid waste discharge and maximizes water recovery. The recovered water will then be utilized to produce demineralized water for boiler feed water.
The MLD system incorporates a combination of treatment technologies, including dissolved air floatation (DAF), ultrafiltration (UF), reverse osmosis (RO), and an off-site regenerable ion exchange (IX) softener. These technologies work together to treat wastewater and produce high-quality demineralized water. The process flow diagram illustrates the MLD system’s operations.
Figure 1: Process Flow MLD System
Implementing Aquatech’s MLD solution offers several significant customer benefits:
- Water Conservation & Efficiency: By operating RO and reject RO at an overall recovery rate of 98%, the MLD system drastically reduces the total wastewater going to the solar evaporation pond to just 10.7 gallons per minute (gpm).
- Reduce Dependence on City Water: The permeate from the RO and reject RO is further treated in an off-site regenerable softener to produce demineralized water for boiler feed water. This process enables the facility to significantly reduce its reliance on city water by approximately 9.6 million gallons annually. This reduction in water consumption contributes to sustainable water management.
- Decrease Water & Environmental Footprint: The MLD system reduces the water footprint. By maximizing water recovery, minimizing wastewater generation, and utilizing advanced treatment technologies, the system effectively reduces the facility's environmental footprint.
Aquatech’s cost-effective solution for this soybean crushing facility reduces the project’s environmental footprint and ensures ongoing compliance with regulatory standards. The innovative system design cuts the overall capital cost by approximately 35% and the operating cost by 25% compared to conventional systems. In addition to reducing costs, Aquatech will provide equipment installation, startup, commissioning and subscription operating services.
The MLD system is scheduled to be installed by the end of 2023, with the overall facility expected to be completed by 2024. The system will not only meet the regulatory requirements but also help minimize the facility’s water footprint. The system will produce high-quality demineralized water, reducing the need for city water and the plant’s operational expenditure.