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Process Water Treatment – Challenges and Solutions

By Peter Cartwright, Cartwright Consulting Co. |

    Depending on their location and on other factors, chemical-process-industries (CPI) plants obtain their process water from a diverse range of sources (see Process Water Supply — the Big Picture, Chem. Eng., May 2005, pp. 32–34.). The water from most, if not all, of these sources requires some, if not a great deal of, contaminant removal onsite in order to make the water suitable for use. A wide array of contaminant-removal technologies is available, so it is important to choose the ones that are most appropriate for the situation at hand. Once the choices are made, certain underlying principles can help get the process design of the treatment unit off to a good start. All water supplies contain contaminants. The type of contaminant can vary greatly, and the contaminant concentration may range from extremely low (as in the case of highly pure water requiring final polishing before use in semiconductor manufacture), to very high (as in a typical wastewater stream that is to be recycled). What constitutes a contaminant depends entirely on the application. For drinking water, for instance, the contaminants are those defined (for the U.S.) by the Safe Drinking Water Act, whereas for semiconductor rinsing, anything…
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