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Case Histories : Water Supply

Leather Tanning Plants Recover and Reuse Wastewater
Oct 19, 2005
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WILMINGTON, MA -- Two of India’s largest leather-tanning factories are using Koch Membrane Systems, Inc.’s ultrafiltration and reverse osmosis membrane technologies to increase the amount of wastewater they can reuse during processing.

“Technology supplied by Koch Membrane Systems has played a key role in helping these companies make improvements to their wastewater programs,” said Mr. Ravichandran of the system design company, Polutech Limited. “Benefits of the wastewater recovery are twofold. Wastewater disposal is reduced and concurrently recovered wastewater provides a reliable source of high quality water for process operations.”

Eastern Chrome Tanning Corporation (ECTC) and N. M. Zackriah & Company Limited (NMZ), located in the city of Ambur, have operated wastewater recovery plants using the UF system with hollow fiber membranes and RO with spiral membranes for more than one year.

This region, within Tamil Nadu State, is one of India’s primary leather tanning regions, and chronically faces chronic water shortages, so the availability of process water for the tanning operations is of major concern to the factories.

Leather tanning presents difficult wastewater treatment challenges. Converting raw hides into finished leather suitable for clothing, baggage and other consumer items requires large amounts of chemicals such as lime, sulfite, caustic, enzymes, salt, and acid. The tanning process also produces large amounts of wastewater that must be treated before being reused or discharged in order to protect the environment and the local water supply from contamination.

Commenting on the advantages of using membranes to treat leather tanning wastewater, Samir Chaubal, KMS Regional Sales Manager for India said, “Hollow fiber UF membranes reduce SDI and turbidity and remove suspended solids in the pretreated wastewater, thereby providing an ideal feed water for the downstream spiral RO system that removes most of the dissolved solids and small molecular weight organic components. As a result, the recovered wastewater is of a higher quality than is typically available as tap water for these factories.”

Polutech Limited, an associate company of the Murugappa Group, located in Chennai, India, designed and installed the wastewater recovery system at both of these sites. Polutech provides manufacturing equipment including turnkey projects for water and wastewater treatment systems. Ravichandran, Senior Manager – Marketing and Operations for Polutech said, “UF and RO membranes supplied by KMS for these projects have met all performance expectations and additional wastewater recovery plants of this type will be installed in the future.”

The capacity of the ECTC and NMZ wastewater recovery plants are 250 m3/day (65,000 gpd) and 75 m3/day (20,000 gpd), respectively. The ECTC UF plant uses 7 KMS TARGA® 8-72-35-PMX cartridges on a single cartridge rack and a two-pass RO system (4/2) with a total of 30 KMS 8822XR-365 and KMS 2822SS-360 seawater reverse osmosis membranes. The NMZ UF plant uses 2 KMS TARGA 8-72-35-PMX cartridges on a single cartridge rack and a two-pass RO system (2/1) with a total of 24 KMS 4820 HR and KMS 1820 SS reverse osmosis membranes.

KMS, based on the success of these operations, will also provide systems to another wastewater recovery plant at M. A. Khizar Hussain and Sons, a large tanning factory located in the city of Vellore, also in the state of Tamul Nadu. The capacity of this wastewater recovery plant is 610 m3/day (160,000 gpd). This plant uses biological treatment, coagulation, sand filtration, ultrafiltration consisting of TARGA-10 cartridges and a combination of nanofiltration and reverse osmosis technology.

Several other plants of this type have been sold in India, with more than 20 additional systems being evaluated at this time, and expected to be installed within the next two years.

About Koch Membrane Systems

Koch Membrane Systems, Inc. has been a global leader in separation and filtration products for more than 30 years. A designer and manufacturer of state-of-the-art membrane cartridges and elements, as well as complete membrane systems, KMS has products that treat even the most demanding applications. To enhance membrane performance, KMS offers a line of antiscalants and cleaning chemicals, and provides numerous maintenance and technical service programs. The company has supplied membranes to more than 15,000 systems used around the world, serving the food processing, life sciences, and general manufacturing industries, as well as providing potable water and wastewater treatment technologies for communities of all sizes.

Headquartered in Wilmington, Massachusetts, Koch Membrane Systems is a Koch Chemical Technology Group, LLC company.

For more information on Koch Membrane Systems visit www.kochmembrane.com, call 888-677-5624 or write to info@kochmembrane.com

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