Industrial Wastewater Treatment

Industrial processes use large volumes of water for production, cooling, cleaning, and more. The resulting wastewater contains contaminants from these processes and requires treatment before it can be safely discharged or reused. Effective industrial wastewater management is crucial for environmental sustainability, regulatory compliance, and cost efficiency.

Specialty Treatment Solutions (STS) provides reliable, automated industrial wastewater treatment systems to enable water recycling and responsible wastewater disposal. Read on to learn about industrial wastewater treatment methods, innovations, customization, and how STS can craft solutions for your facility’s needs.

What Is Industrial Wastewater Treatment?

Industrial wastewater treatment refers to the methods and technologies utilized to remove solids, organics, inorganics, and other pollutants from wastewater generated by industrial processes and activities. This enables water recycling or allows the treated effluent to meet regulatory standards for discharge.

Treatment objectives include:

  • Removing oils, fats, greases, and suspended solids
  • Neutralizing pH and managing temperature
  • Eliminating harmful microorganisms
  • Extracting dissolved metals, inorganic compounds, and organic contaminants

How Does the Treatment Process Work?

Industrial wastewater treatment typically involves three main phases:

  1. Primary Treatment: Removes settleable and floatable solids through screening, skimming tanks, clarifiers, and gravity settling.
  2. Secondary Treatment: Uses biological processes to digest organic matter. This includes activated sludge systems, biological trickling filters, rotating biological contactors, and aerobic/anaerobic digesters.
  3. Tertiary Treatment: Advanced methods like media filtration, reverse osmosis, ion exchange, and advanced oxidation remove specific dissolved contaminants. Disinfection using UV, ozone, or chlorine prepares effluent for reuse or safe discharge.

Systems can be designed based on industry, contaminants present, treatment goals, and water chemistry. The optimal configuration utilizes complementary technologies tailored to the wastewater stream.

What Are Industrial Wastewater Treatment Methods?

Common industrial wastewater treatment processes include:

  • Screening and Gravity Separation: Removes large solids and settleable matter
  • Skimming Tanks: Floatable oils and greases are skimmed off the surface
  • Equalization: Buffers against flow/load variances
  • Biological Digestion: Aerobic/anaerobic processes reduce organics
  • Clarification: Settling tanks clarify liquid
  • Media Filtration: Filters liquid through media like sand, anthracite, or activated carbon
  • Advanced Oxidation: Destroys organics via hydroxyl radicals
  • Reverse Osmosis: Pressurized membrane filtration
  • Ion Exchange: Removes heavy metals and inorganic contaminants
  • Media Adsorption: Targeted contaminant removal
  • Disinfection: UV, ozone, or chlorine inactivation of microbes

The ideal treatment system utilizes multiple complementary technologies tailored to the wastewater composition, treatment goals, and discharge/reuse criteria.

How Is Industrial Wastewater Recycling Possible?

Water recycling begins by ensuring adequate pretreatment and primary/secondary treatment to reduce contaminants. Additional polishing steps like filtration, reverse osmosis, and advanced oxidation can then enable reuse.

Disinfection using UV light, chlorine, or ozone removes pathogens for safe reuse in applications like:

  • Cooling tower make-up
  • Boiler feed water
  • Process water
  • Equipment washing
  • Landscape irrigation

On-site treatment and reuse reduces costs, improves sustainability, and provides process water supply resilience.

Our Offerings and Approach: STS Precision-Engineered Solutions

STS designs specialized industrial wastewater systems optimized for high-loaded effluents. Our solutions enable clients to maintain compliance, reduce environmental impact, and maximize operational efficiency.

Related: Explore our wastewater treatment applications page

The STS Edge

At Specialty Treatment Solutions, we leverage our specialized expertise and drive to innovate to provide high-performance industrial wastewater treatment solutions. Our capabilities and commitment to customization, automation, and ongoing support give STS a unique edge in delivering tailored systems, enabling sustainable water management. Our advantages include:

  • Specialized Expertise: Decades of experience solving complex industrial wastewater challenges
  • Innovative Processes: Cutting-edge treatment technologies
  • Automated Systems: Enhanced monitoring, control, and optimization
  • Remote Access: Real-time system access from any device
  • Ongoing Support: Project collaboration from planning through operation

Our Core Innovations

STS drives treatment innovation by combining established methods with cutting-edge advancements.

  • Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR)
  • Enhanced biofilm carrier media accelerates digestion
  • Compact, efficient, and high-rate organics reduction
  • Integrated Membrane Bioreactor (MBR)
  • Ultrafiltration membrane barriers enable direct effluent reuse
  • More reliable than conventional tertiary polishing
  • Remote Monitoring and Control
  • Automated sensing, data logging, and notifications
  • Real-time operational visibility
  • Instant system control from any location

These patented technologies are integrated using a flexible, modular approach, allowing custom-configuration based on treatment needs and site constraints.

Benefits of Automated Solutions

STS automation provides tangible advantages:

  • Early problem detection protects infrastructure
  • Rapid response prevents permit excursions
  • Tight process control improves performance
  • Reduced operator labor costs
  • Instant access from mobile devices
  • Actionable data analytics and dashboard reporting

By leveraging automation, our solutions simplify central management of decentralized facilities company-wide.

The Benefits of STS Industrial Wastewater Treatment Systems

STS provides specialized industrial wastewater treatment solutions personalized to each client’s needs. Our systems deliver compliance, sustainability, and bottom-line benefits.

Custom Solutions for High-Loaded Effluent Treatment

Our application expertise enables configuring optimal treatment trains based on:

  • Industry type and contaminants present
  • Treatment objectives and effluent criteria
  • Water chemistry and wastewater characterization
  • Discharge or reuse requirements
  • Available space and site layout

Key system elements like biological digestion, clarification, and tertiary polishing are right-sized and sequenced to cost-effectively achieve treatment goals. Prefabricated units enable quick installation and scalability accommodating evolving demands. Remote monitoring allows for adjusting processes for efficiency.

Improving Sustainability

Our treatment systems conserve valuable water resources and reduce environmental impact by enabling wastewater recycling for:

  • Process Water: Treated effluent can often be recycled for use as process makeup water based on the industry and application. This reduces the need for fresh potable water diversion.
  • Equipment Washing: In certain cases, treated wastewater may be suitable for reuse in washing equipment and other plant surfaces after adequate disinfection. This offsets fresh water usage.
  • Irrigation: Disinfected effluent can potentially be used for irrigation of landscaping and agricultural fields, provided the treatment level satisfies health and environmental regulations. This enables reducing reliance on other water sources for irrigation needs.
  • Cooling Towers: Well-treated effluent can effectively replace potable water as make-up for evaporative cooling tower systems after proper conditioning to prevent scaling or biofouling.
  • Boiler Feed Water: High-purity effluent can supplement boiler feed water when preprocessed by technologies like reverse osmosis and ion exchange polishing. This lowers the energy intensity of boilers.

Wastewater recycling conserves potable sources, reduces sewer discharges, and improves water use efficiency. STS maximizes reuse potential through specialized treatment system configuration.

Ongoing automation and remote monitoring enhance opportunities for energy optimization during operation. Data analytics allow for optimizing the usage of pumps, blowers, and other equipment for minimum power demand while still achieving treatment objectives. This provides sustainability benefits over the lifetime of the system.

Maintaining Compliance

Stringent wastewater quality standards govern industrial discharges to protect ecosystems and public health. Violations incur fines, shutdowns, and reputational damages. Our treatment solutions reliably satisfy permitted effluent limits for parameters like:

  • Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
  • Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
  • pH, temperature, and toxicity
  • Oil and grease
  • Heavy metals
  • Priority pollutants

Remote monitoring safeguards against excursions, enabling quick intervention for permit compliance.w

Related: Explore our sanitary wastewater treatment page

The Challenges of Industrial Wastewater Treatment

Each industry faces unique wastewater management hurdles requiring specialized handling. Common issues involve managing variability, space constraints, complex contaminants, and stringent reuse criteria.

Issues Faced by Different Industries

Water-intensive industries contend with wastewater challenges like:

Oil and Gas

  • Large volumes of produced water with dissolved organics, solids, and salts
  • Hydrocarbon-laden water requires emulsion breaking and organics removal
  • Reuse for enhanced oil recovery, irrigation, or discharge


  • Metals, radioactive isotopes, and processing chemicals
  • Acid mine drainage requires pH neutralization
  • Solids settling to enable water recycling

Chemical Manufacturing

  • Highly variable effluent contaminants
  • Strict regulated discharge limits on priority pollutants like VOCs
  • Advanced treatment enabling wastewater recycling

Our Commitment to Reliable, Sustainable, and Cost-Effective Solutions

STS specialized industrial wastewater systems are configured for:

  • Managing highly variable contaminant loads digesting concentrated or toxic organics
  • Achieving stringent treated effluent criteria
  • Enabling water reuse and recycling
  • Maintaining reliable regulatory compliance
  • Simplifying ongoing operation

Our mission is crafting treatment solutions that balance performance, compliance, sustainability, and ownership costs over the system’s lifetime. We tackle complex wastewater challenges that others cannot solve cost-effectively.

Get Started with STS for an Expert, Data-Driven Approach

Specialty Treatment Solutions partners with industrial clients to engineer optimal, scalable wastewater treatment solutions. Our collaborative process includes:

  1. Site Evaluation: Gather water usage data, assess infrastructure constraints, and identify reuse goals
  2. Wastewater Characterization: Detailed contaminant analysis and load profiling
  3. Process Recommendations: Right-size treatment train for objectives and constraints
  4. Treatment System Design and Build
  5. Installation and Testing: With remote monitoring and control integration
  6. Operator Training and Maintenance Planning
  7. Performance Optimization: Use data insights to maximize efficiency

We tailor solutions to balance capability, compliance, and lifecycle costs. No other provider offers STS’s combination of technical expertise, innovative technology, and ongoing operational support.

Interested In an Industrial Wastewater Treatment System? Contact Us Today

Contact us today to learn more about achieving sustainable industrial wastewater treatment with automation-enhanced STS systems. We offer complimentary consultations and wastewater characterization analysis to identify optimization opportunities supporting your business goals. In addition to industrial applications, we also specialize in wineries, breweries, resorts and campgrounds, and remote communities.

Related: See our winery wastewater treatment solutions page
See our brewery wastewater treatment solutions page

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