Detect, Anticipate and Manage toxic effluents in an industrial Wasterwater Treatment Plant (WWTP)

 In Case studies




On an industrial site, the efficient treatment of effluents generated by any production is a real challenge for operators because of significant fluctuations in loads, pH or conductivity. In addition to these constraints, the risk of toxic compounds which could affect the biomass activity is another issue and a major risk for the sustainability of the wastewater treatment plant.

Managing such crises and, at the same time, maintaining the industrial production is a huge challenge, particularly when the treated effluent needs to comply with local regulations. 

On a chemical platform, a wastewater treatment plant operator wishes to identify the effluents responsible for toxic shocks leading to shutdown of the operations (> 50K€ per day), non-conformity and fines (> 5K€). In order to answer the question, three multiparametric NODE Solutions & Services systems (NODE microbial biosensors working with STEI biomass, pH, conductivity, redox potential)  were installed on the plant.

Solutions & Results

A three-month study identified the effluents responsible for toxic shocks. Even if the pH of the effluents from site 1 strongly fluctuate (4-11), they did not impact the biomass activity. On the contrary, the variation of the effluent from site 2 impacted directly the biomass activity leading to a direct decrease in the biosensor signal. Although resilient, the biomass recovers its initial activity level after only a few hours. 

Feedback & Perspectives

The study provided an understanding of the interactions between the effluents from both sites and the impact on the ability of the STEI to cope with these toxicity episodes. Despite a significant dilution effect generated by the flows, it was possible to detect and anticipate toxic shocks. In fact, the operator was able to discuss with manufacturers to alert them on the need to adapt their effluent pre-treatment before release to the Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

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