Pinnacle Engineering was hired by an industrial client to design and install a wastewater treatment system for a difficult-to-treat wastewater stream.  The client was having problems achieving compliance with both its oil and grease and zinc permit limits. The most troublesome component of the wastewater was petrolatum, a material with characteristics similar to Vaseline, which does not break down easily in biological treatment systems and coats filters, causing them to bind up. The facility’s existing attached biomedia treatment system had never worked effectively on the types of wastewater generated, and the system was increasingly strained as the facility expanded capacity.

Pinnacle designed and supervised construction of a wastewater treatment system that included an indexing media filtration system and included process controls, a powdered chemical feed, and a mixing tank.  The system used a powdered clay product with coalescing and flocculent additives to absorb the petrolatum and other organics while providing a particle size that provided good filtration. It utilized some of the facility’s existing attached biomedia tanks to provide initial surge control into the system, and it eliminated a number of outdoor surge tanks that had a problem with freeze-up during winter months.  The entire system footprint used less than one third of the space used by the attached biomedia system it replaced.

Initial challenges to the system’s operation were quickly resolved with adjustments to the additive chemistry and the powder delivery system. Since then, the system has run smoothly and well within its permit limits.