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Algae-based Waste Water Treatment in Tanneries

January 31st, 2014 | No Comments | Posted in Algae, Algae Waste Water Treatment

Industrial-scale production of leather  requires extremely high volumes of process water. The water is not only needed for transportation in the production process but also for various tasks such as removing or soaking the hides. The wastewater problem is correspondingly acute  especially in European producer countries like Italy and Spain but also in China, India, Korea, Brazil and the USA, to name just the most important producers.

Treating waste water in tanneries ( leather industries) is a major issue due to the presence of metals such as Chromium.  Chromium in the effluent is a major concern for tanning industry. Chemical precipitation methods are commonly employed for the removal of chromium but this leads to formation of chrome-bearing solid waste, plus it is uneconomical when the concentration of chromium in the effluent is low. Ion exchange and membrane separation methods are relatively expensive.

As a result of the specific production methods, the wastewater not only has high alkaline levels (pH value 10), but is also contaminated with chemicals such as sulphite and chrome, and has a high level of organic substances. This means that wastewater from tanneries cannot usually be discharged directly into public sewerage systems. To solve the problem, biochemical processing of the wastewater is a standard operation in many installations.

Some algae have proved highly effective in removing chromium from tannery effluent. Treatment of tannery effluent can be achieved through a custom-designed high rate algal ponding process to generate and precipitate metal sulphides. Aerobic lagoons are also used for the treatment of tannery effluent. Aerobic lagoons are large, shallow earthen basins used for treatment of wastewater by natural processes involving both algae and bacteria.

Research studies reveal that algae such as Spirogyra spp and Rhizoclonium have been employed in the leather industry to remove chromium from the tannery effluent.

Read more from Oilgae’s Algae-Based Waste Water Treatment – The one and only such report in the world  Oilgae has published a unique report to assist those keen on understanding the algae-based waste water treatment technology and those wanting to venture into this industry. The Oilgae’s guide to waste water treatment is a comprehensive guide to understanding the algae-based waste water treatment, technolgies, challenges and the players that are involved in this industry. Link –http://www.oilgae.com/ref/report/wastewater_treatment/wastewater_treatment.html   

Read Related Blogs:

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Microalgae and Waste Water Treatment – Why Employ Algae to Clean Up Waste Water?

Issues and Challenges Associated with Cleaning Waste Water Using Algae


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