Treatment using reverse osmosis of an effluent from stainless steel manufacture

Academic Article


  • Reverse osmosis (RO) and physical/chemical technology were evaluated for treatment of neutralized spent acid effluent (seepage) containing high concentration levels of TDS (7500 mg/l), Ca (400 mg/l), Cr(VI) (42 mg/l), nitrate-nitrogen (827 mg/l), ammonia-nitrogen (33 mg/l), fluoride (13 mg/l), phenolics (45 mg/l) and COD (620 mg/l). The calcium concentration level in the seepage could be reduced from approximately 400 to 5 mg/l with soda ash softening. Initial permeate flux (feed and bleed system, 85% water recovery) was 278 l/m d. Permeate flux, however, dropped rapidly in the beginning of the run and then remained approximately constant to the end of the run. However, chemical cleaning of the membranes was necessary to maintain flux. The TDS of the RO feed could be reduced in one case from 34,253 to 1560 mg/l (95.5% removal) at 85% water recovery. Nitrate and ammonia nitrogen were reduced from 2691 and 103 mg/l to 414 (84.6% removal) and 15 mg/l (85.3% removal), respectively. Chromium(VI) and fluoride were reduced from 183 and 90 mg/l to 0.38 (99.8% removal) and 2.8 mg/l (96.9% removal), respectively. COD removals varied between 60 and 80%. No phenolics, however, could be removed from the feed (approximately 32 mg/l) with the cellulose acetate RO membranes. Phenolics, however, could be effectively removed (< 0.2 mg/l) from the RO permeate with hydrogen peroxide oxidation or ion-exchange treatment. Preliminary test work has shown that it should be possible to treat the seepage effectively with RO for pollution control, effluent volume reduction and water recovery. Capital costs for a 600 kl/d plant for lime softening, RO and oxidation equipment are estimated at U.S. $58,000, U.S. $350,000 and U.S. $87,500, respectively. 2
  • Published In

  • Water Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Schoeman JJ; Steyn A; Scurr PJ
  • Start Page

  • 1979
  • End Page

  • 1984
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 9