Industrial and mining wastewater, in particular, is some of the harshest and most corrosive material in need of storage. It also poses higher environmental and health risks than many other types of wastewater. This all necessitates the use of a containment strategy that has multiple layers of redundancy. While a simple lined catch basin may be enough for less hazardous materials, industrial wastewater deserves two or more layers of containment to control any leakages or losses. Here’s why industrial wastewater is so difficult to store and contain properly in various settings.
High Levels of Contaminants
First, industrial and mining waste liquids include some of the highest levels of contaminants of all. From excessive salinity, to the inclusion of reactive hydrocarbons and even radioactive materials, industrial wastewater poses a much bigger risk if leaked than other liquids. These contaminants also tend to have value of their own; such as heavy metals that can be reused if they’re filtered out of mining runoff. Some wastewater is actually productive and supplies a profitable amount of minerals or precious metals, despite being technically the waste of another operation.
Limitations are also higher on industrial sources of wastewater due to the increased contamination. It’s harder to get permission to discharge these fluids onto the surface, into waterways, or through public sewage systems than for less intensive materials. This means that most industrial wastewater producers turn to some kind of on-site processing and treatment to get the water clean enough to eventually discharge somewhere. Since these sources also tend to produce some of the highest volumes of wastewater, it’s no wonder that tanks and ponds capable of hold millions of gallons are in high demand.
High Costs and Risks of Fines
Wastewater management and treatment is becoming a major cost for many manufacturing and mining companies as environmental protections increase over time. While a company may have once secured permits to release wastewater elsewhere, most are now handling the waste themselves or paying a high price for another company to provide the service. If mistakes are made, the costs go up due to the addition of fines and remediation costs. There’s plenty of financial incentive to design wastewater containment correctly from the start, since a few problems with it can make or break a business.
Finally, industrial wastewater generally requires much more intensive processing than simpler mixtures. The presence of multiple contaminants and the possible addition of organic material like sewage, means that some industrial wastewater requires 10 or more discreet processing stages. Building a system of interconnected tanks and ponds may cost more than you expected, but it can save you even more than paying for treatment services from another source.
Don’t let these challenges overwhelm you. Reliable geomembranes like ArmorPro from BTL Liners can give you the peace of mind you need for running a successful industrial wastewater management system.