Treatment of process water at Dense Media Separation (DMS) Powders Industry using selected membrane processes

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Mosia, Mmankaeya Elsie
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There is huge concern in the mining and industries to manage wastewater prior to discharge into the environment. It is generally cheaper and cost reducing for industries to treat its own wastewater before discharging to the local authority sewer. Dense Media Separation (DMS) Powders Company produces milled and atoms ferro-silicon by pyro-metallurgical process. DMS Powders uses municipal water for all processes taking place in the plants. The water used during the processes of milled and atom ferrosilicon powder is discharged into the environment without being treated. By treating this process wastewater before discharging will result in reducing the water consumption by recycling and the penalty costs for polluting the environment. The primary objective of this study is to find suitable method for treatment of DMS Powders’ process water using selected membrane processes. Membrane processes are better choice compared to traditional physical/chemical treatment processes, due to their advantages of approving water quality, no phase change, no chemical addition and simple operation. Two commercial membranes namely; NF-, and SW30HR are used in the treatment of DMS Powders process water. These membranes were purchased from (Dow/Filmtec) Manufacturing Company (Pty) situated in South Africa. Membranes were characterised by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Thermo Gravimetric Analysis (TGA), Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA) and Fourie Transform Infrared (FTIR) instruments. For synthetic water three membranes (NF- , NF90, and SW30HR) are investigated for the study. The fluxibility indicated that NF- membrane has higher flux compared to NF90 and SW30HR membranes. All the three membranes were very good in terms of rejection on single salts. Fouling was studied on DMS Powders process water. Concentration polarization was formed on NF- and SW30HR membranes investigations on selected membranes conclude that NF- membrane will be the suitable membrane for treatment of DMS Powders process water because of its high fluxibility and rejection. Discharged effluent of DMS Powders could comply with the legislature and environmental pollution could be minimised. The study revealed that fouling does occur during treatment of process water. SW30HR showed that M9 Plant had more fouling for M9 samples than other Plants (M8A and M8B). It was because of higher concentrations in suspended solids.or M8A, M8B and M9 process water.
M. Tech., (Faculty of Applied and Computer Science), Vaal University of Technology
Waste water, Dense Media Separation, Pyrometallurgy, Environmental pollution, Ferro-silicon, Water consumption reduction, Membrane processes