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The iron and steel industry is often thought of as one of the main forces that drive a nation’s economic and technological progress. Historically, it has seen enormous growth driven by globalization and industrialization. Many steel plants are sorely in need of updated water treatment technology. Legacy treatment modes are unable to completely remediate water for reclamation, but GWTs’ newer techniques like membrane separation show great promise.
Typical steel industry waste streams contain hazardous compounds like the complex organic compounds benzene toluene xylene (BTX) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), cyanide, ammonia, thiocyanate, phenols, and cresols. These compounds present challenges for treatment.
Treatment stages can include many different technologies. Physical separation, which might include gravity settling, screening, and oil removal, is commonly used in primary stages, but membrane technology is also now a good alternative to traditional separation.
Coagulation-flocculation is then commonly used. Then, our advanced oxidation processes (APOs) are commonly used for both disinfection and reduction of total dissolved solids (TDS). These include ultraviolet photolysis, hydrogen peroxide oxidation, photo-Fenton’s oxidation, electrochemical oxidation, and ozonation. APOs may sometimes be used for the removal of toxic compounds like PAHs. For the removal of some pollutants such as cyanide, however, phenol-specific adsorption is also used. It is also fairly common for steel plants to include a traditional activated sludge stage in tertiary treatment to reduce the load of organic material.
Water recovery in the steel sector involves cooling and desalinating water to control salt concentration in circulation systems and decreasing consumption and discharge of fresh water while improving steel quality and the service life of the equipment. Combining treatment methods such as membrane separation, chemical treatments, reverse osmosis, and ultrafiltration can produce a high level of contaminant removal and deliver reusable effluents that are easier on equipment, eco-friendly, and more economically feasible than discharging water untreated into the environment.

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