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The Basics of Wastewater Treatment for Concrete Production Applications

Concrete production applications require ongoing wastewater treatment in order to keep operations running. Not only is wastewater treatment necessary to stay within regulatory guidelines, but excess waste can reduce profits, slow down operations, and can lead to environmental harm/damage.

That’s why you need to treat your wastewater to guarantee that you keep water cleanliness high and costs low. You could choose to pay an outside company to transport and treat the wastewater, but this is costly and inefficient. It also limits your ability to reuse the water.

Instead, it’s best to treat the water on-site with filtration methods. This can lead to a number of benefits, including:

  • Significant cost and efficiency savings
  • Long-term sustainability improvements
  • The ability to reuse the water once treated for a near closed-loop solution

 

The Problem with Concrete Wastewater

With the growing reliance on concrete and ready-mix applications, countless gallons of water are used every day to mix concrete and clean down equipment. Cleaning the inside of a single concrete truck’s drum uses 150-300 gallons of water, equaling 3,000-5,000 gallons per day for a single ready-mix plant. With more than 5,500 of these plants in the United States reported in 2018, that’s a tremendous amount of water that needs attention.

This issue here is that processed and runoff wastewater in concrete production has too high of a pH to be reused or discharged. The pH can easily exceed 12, resulting in its classification as possibly hazardous. The water is also filled with sand, stone, and other aggregate that need to be removed, with many of the chemicals and toxic metals present in the wastewater causing further toxicity.

Treating Your Concrete Wastewater

The main goals of treating concrete wastewater are to restore the water’s pH to normal levels and remove aggregate. Depending on the exact application, you may want to employ other wastewater treatment strategies like using coagulants, flocculants, or corrosion inhibitors, if needed.

Restoring your water’s pH to normal levels requires lowering the basic pH of the water to a value around 7 or 8. You can accomplish this by using pH adjusters to get rid of water alkalinity. At the same time, you’re also causing dissolved aggregate to settle out, which makes it easier to filter aggregate.

Once your water has reached the right pH, mechanical filtration methods are used to remove any suspended solids and aggregate. While a few different types of mechanical filtration equipment exist, the best one for concrete wastewater is the filter press.

Filter presses are key pieces of equipment for liquids/solids separation. With each press designed around the volume and type of slurry that needs to be treated, filter presses separate liquids and solids using pressure filtration.

What Is A Filter Press Used For?

When it comes to filter presses, nothing offers the same water efficiencies and cost benefits of a Matec Filter Press. This system allows you to easily handle, move, and dispose of waste, reclaiming up to 90% of your water.

Using patented technologies, the Matec Filter Press offers superior concrete wastewater treatment through the following:

Automatic Real Washing

Matec filter presses can come equipped with an automatic washing system for both plate and cloth designs. This system is made up of one valve, one piping system on the mud head side of the filter press, and discharging valves on each plate.

Mud Cake Washing

Special mud cakes and aggregate may require washing the mud cakes with clean water to lower the amount of chemicals in the sludge below a certain threshold. The clean water is pumped inside the chambers of the press before discharging.

Membrane Squeezing

Matec filter presses can be equipped with membrane plates when your cakes need to have a very low level of residual moisture. In these installations, membrane squeezing involves pumping water into these special plates, which grow in volume and squeeze the cake to lower the moisture.

Core Blow

Core blow systems clean out the residual liquid mud that remains in the diffusion conduit that goes through the plates. This is done once the filtration cycle has ended, but before the cake is discharged. The filter press can come equipped with a compressed air system that pumps air directly from the mobile plate to remove any residual liquid mud. This blown mud is then discharged into the mud homogenizer tank once more or thrown directly into the wastewater pit.

Cake Dryers

In order to lower the residual moisture of the cakes, you can install cake dryer systems to inject air into the filter press. The air dries the cakes and is then discharged through the drainage system of the press.

Drip Trays

Drip tray systems prevent water from dripping onto the already discharged mud cakes. This works automatically, controlled by the PLC, and moved by a dedicated motor/gearbox system. Drip trays are placed under the filter press during the filtration cycle only, after which they shift away when the filter press opens to discharge the cakes.

The ChemREADY Advantage

As a trusted partner to the concrete production industry, ChemREADY offers a mix of chemical expertise and mechanical filtration experience to solve all of your wastewater problems. After we restore your water’s pH to optimal levels with our industrial line of pH adjusters, we’ll set you up with the right filter press.

ChemREADY works hard to ensure that your Matec filter press is not only customized to meet your unique needs, but that it can also easily integrate into your water treatment process. Our experts ensure that we streamline your wastewater treatment process so that it is minimally invasive to your workflow.