Trattamento Acque per Industria Tessile e Conciaria

Water Treatment for the Textile and Tanning Industry

Wastewater from the textile and tanning industry is rich in organics and surfactants and suspended solids (such as synthetic fibers or even heavy metals). Therefore, biological and pollutant separation treatments by flotation, often in combination, are useful.

Examples of areas:

Examples of areas: processing of synthetic fibers, weaving and spinning, dyeing, production of clothing and technical textiles.

Main requirements:

Main requirements: removal of suspended solids (textile fibers, chemicals), biodegradation of organic substances (such as chlorinated organic compounds), de-oiling.

Industrial wastewater in the textile and tanning industry: characteristics and needs

For industrial wastewater in the textile and tanning sector, as for that in other sectors, only a few examples of wastewater quality can be given: each plant has its own specific needs, which must be tested and evaluated with pilot units before selecting the best technology.

This does not detract from the fact that some recurring critical issues can be noted: organic substances such as tannins and dyes, along with surfactants and pH, often characterize these waters.

In more detail, here are some pollutants that are often detected in waters of the textile and tanning industry.

  • Suspended solids. These are the most common components of wastewater from the textile and tanning industry: textile fibers, chemicals, microorganisms, etc. Sometimes thought metals are also present in considerable quantities as processing waste: zinc, copper, lead, cadmium, etc.
  • High BOD and COD. Biochemical Oxygen Demand and Chemical Oxygen Demand measure the amount of organic matter, present in wastewater, that consumes the oxygen in the water but can also be degraded by bacteria and other microorganisms, or non-biodegradable. Such substances include chlorinated organic compounds, which are produced by the reaction of chlorine with lignin (found in cellulose).
Trattamento Acque per Industria Tessile e Conciaria

Water treatment for the textile and tanning industry: methods and processes

Some peculiar methods and processes can contribute to the treatment of textile wastewater (subject always to a preliminary analysis to be carried out with pilot units).

  • Biological treatments. Here, bacteria and other microorganisms are used to biodegrade organic matter in wastewater. The most common biological treatments are activated sludge and aerobic oxidation treatments.
  • Filtration. Cloth filters, sand filters, membrane filters, or activated carbon filters-all of these technologies separate pollutant components by mechanical process, albeit with different systems and varying degrees of suspended solids removal.
  • Disinfection. Used to eliminate pathogenic microorganisms from wastewater. The most common disinfection processes are those using chlorine, ozone, or UV light.

MITA Water Technologies' solutions for wastewater in the textile and tanning industry

  • Mitadaf dissolved-air flotation units. It has proven to be an effective solution for the treatment of these waters, upstream of any biological and/or chemical/physical processes: this system removes about 80% of the fats and solids contained in the waters, and also performs a partial abatement on the surfactants related to them.
  • Biorulli® rotating biological contactors. These biological oxidation systems have also been used in printing mills, woolen mills, felt mills, etc. especially for the biodegradation of surfactants, particularly nonionic surfactants. Small size, ease of operation and low energy use are good advantages for which they are often preferred to alternative biological purification systems.
  • Free-fiber cloth filters. Although not directly used for disinfection, cloth filters are often useful upstream of reverse osmosis and UV lamp systems: in these cases, they lighten the suspended solids loads entering subsequent technologies, preventing them from inhibiting their action.
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