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Successful ALAR commissioning in Melbourne, Australia

Feb 12, 2019

In 2017, a latex paint manufacturer in Melbourne, Australia constructed an in-house wastewater treatment facility to offset hauling costs.

The initial design consisted of several storage and reactor tanks to store and chemically treat the water-based paint waste. Then, the treated wastewater would transfer to a large plate-n-frame filter press for dewatering. However, the design engineer, familiar with the shortcomings of a filter press, researched alternative sludge dewatering technologies.

Latex paint wash water contains thick, sticky solids that tend to blind off the filter plate cloth and cause bottlenecks. This blinding effect blocks water from passing through the plate chambers, creating high moisture content in the solids. To avoid wet solids hauling, further drying is often necessary via prolonged “blowdowns” [forcing air through the plate chambers], drying beds [depending on the climate], or sludge dryers. The effluent water quality sometimes requires a polishing filter prior to discharge. The direct contact of the wastewater to filter cloth calls for an operator to scrape down and pressure wash the plates. Any one of these scenarios would increase labor costs, which the Melbourne company wanted to avoid.

The design engineer discovered an article written about a rotary vacuum drum filter [RVDF] being used for latex paint wastewater in the United States. After further investigation, he concluded that the RVDF was a promising solution, and contacted the manufacturer.

ALAR Engineering Corporation builds filter presses, but recommended the Auto-Vac®; a self-cleaning RVDF that uses a precoat filter aid media that prevents blinding and bottlenecks. This system generates a consistent flow of one-micron quality filtrate water and dewatered, dry solids. Samples of the Australian paint waste were sent to ALAR for bench testing, analysis and an in-house test bay demonstration. A representative from Melbourne was dispatched to witness the demonstration and visit a similar sized paint company operating an Auto-Vac®.

Satisfied with the results of their due diligence, the company purchased a custom-built, stainless steel, PLC controlled Auto-Vac® and chemical treatment system to integrate with the existing wastewater facility. The first Auto-Vac® Model AV660 was commissioned in December 2017.

With the unexpected production volume, a second ALAR Auto-Vac® RVDF was installed a year later (Dec-2018) next to its sister unit. This dynamic duo is saving ALAR’s customer over $6000 a day in liquid waste disposal; which equates to a quick ROI. The filtered water meets the environmental effluent discharge regulations, and the dewatered solids are hauled off without the need of further drying.

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