Many of our customers often require some type of treatability study when they look to us for wastewater treatment solutions. This type of study or testing determines how wastewater might be treated, (whether for reusing in a process or discharging to the local environment) helping ensure proper treatments are considered. These tests can be useful especially when there are several variables in wastewater streams and resolutions and technologies at pinpointing exactly what problem the plant is experiencing and taking out the guesswork enabling to take an informed decision when it comes to finding the ideal solution.

Now a days, Wastewater treatment plant operators often conduct treatability studies (at least to some extent) in their daily routines to ensure their process is running optimally, but sometimes problems exceed the normal day-to-day parameters experienced. Usually this occurs when a facility is unable to pinpoint what exactly is causing wastewater treatment upset, which would call for a wastewater treatability study.

Is it necessary?

Sometimes, the plant management think that they might not need a treatability study if the company conducting this study has dealt with the similar production unit or similar products. In that case we might adapt the previously helpful solutions to fix the issue and move forward but at the same time plant management must understand that every unit has a unique water matrix because of the different raw material used, variable concentrations, variable product lines, different design of their existing treatment scheme. Sometimes the varying processes within the facilities generate different types of wastewaters, and it can be tempting to treat the wastewater contamination issues as they surface. This can lead to more serious issues that cause wastewater treatment sequences to collapse, as one system often affects another. Along these lines, treatability studies are often necessary to get a complete and clear picture of what is causing the process and system upsets and to take out the guesswork in finding the right solution.

By using treatability studies as one of the first steps toward finding a solution, an industrial facility can save valuable time and resources by:

  • eliminating treatment technology guesswork.
  • ensuring proper solutions are implemented.
  • complying with discharge norms.

How does a treatability study work?

Identifying the problem:

Generally there are two types of customers one in which the plant management team knows the problem and also the solution but they are not sure about the solutions feasibility and other scaleup factors and the second is the plant is upset not meeting discharge norms or they are planning to add some new products lines. Once the plant management communicates what they think the problem is? We will conduct a study to determine how to pre-treat whatever your concerns are while also testing for other problematic contaminants. Let’s just say, for example, that a plant processes chemical maybe an API facility and suddenly residual carcinogenic contaminants are present in the wastewater, which are prohibited to be discharged in just about any receiving water body. We would start by taking a sample of the

wastewater, aiming to identify problem through analytical means (called a characterization study). Then continue the study by taking it through a step wise process to narrow down the most effective solutions.

How long does it take to get results?

Depending on the scope and nature of the treatability study, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to approximately 90 days to come up with accurate results. The timeline would likely be:

  • a few days or few weeks in the laboratory,
  • a few days interpreting the data,
  • a week or two for the analytical reports to come in.
  • Sometimes in a more complicated situation, such as having to treat complex organics and other complex materials, it would take around 100days or more.

Treatability study on various Technologies

Biological treatment compatibility

The first step is an on-site meeting where our experts spent a day or longer understanding the facility’s processes and problems.

A sample of the wastewater is submitted for analytical characterization and evaluation of the “substrates of interest.”

Once the scope of the problem is understood, technology screening and stage 2 follow.

If a project can be solved with biological treatment, it is usually best to explore this option. This is a process where a healthy biological culture is added in prescribed ratio by our experts to wastewater, and our inhouse microbiologist will determine the compatibility with the microorganisms. If there is immediate compatibility, then we consider the biological route before pursuing chemical and physical treatment systems. (Biological treatment is typically more economical and self-sustaining.)

If it is determined that the biological culture becomes inhibited or dies off, the wastewater may not be subject to biological treatment without additional pre-treatment, and the study should move on to stage 3 where a chemical treatability study is conducted.

Screening of chemical treatments like advanced oxidation processes, Fenton, Photo Fenton are performed. In other words, this is where the effects of different chemical treatments when mixed with the wastewater are evaluated. At this point in the process, chemicals that show a positive reaction can be categorized as a possible solution, and ones that don’t are screened out.

Now that the possible technologies are selected, it is a good idea to test if they meet the performance goals. If the selected technologies don’t meet the performance goals, jumping to stage 4 should follow, which is a more advanced treatability study on individual problematic compounds or segregation of streams.

What Wastewater Treatability Studies Cost?

When our customers ask, “How Much Does a Water/Wastewater Treatability Study Cost?” it’s difficult to answer this definitively, as several factors go into estimating the cost. Also, the costs will vary depending on the customer’s individual needs. Some of the factors are below:

  • Manpower cost
  • Laboratory costs(analytical) will vary depending on what you’re testing for and to what degree
  • Transportation cost

We see, in many cases, that certain engineering companies go out looking for company to perform treatability studies for their customer, but the companies who perform these studies only offer a single process for treating the customer’s particular contamination issue. This often results in a company trying to sell the customer a system, a salesman trying to sell a piece of equipment that he thinks will work.

Here at TESLA, which is a technology neutral company our USP lies in here, at our wastewater clinic(R&D centre) we have more than 20 technologies on which we can do treatability and pilot studies and offer best technology application for your particular blend of effluents.

Upon completion of these studies, Tesla will provide:
  • Optimal technology selections, combinations, and performance report of proposed unit
  • Pilot report with various alternatives and recommendations
  • Process flow diagram
  • Proposed project layout
  • Budget estimate
  • ROI projection