Detergent and Fabric softener producer - case study


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A detergent and fabric softener producer in the Central United States had numerous waste-water disposal issues resulting from the bottling of fabric softeners and detergents.

Wastewater Description
The wastewater contained diluted fabric softener, anionic detergents and wash-down waters from bottling change-overs. The waste stream also contained cardboard, small pebbles, dirt, paper fiber, plastic fragments and bottle caps.

Waste Disposal Goals
The client’s goal was to recover the process waters so they could be discharged into the sewer with no permit and recover the fabric softeners and detergents for possible resale as off-specification products.

Wastewater Treatment Challenge
The client makes frequent product change-overs on their existing bottling lines. Large quantities of potable water are used to rinse the associated piping and plumbing between these product changes. Large volumes of highly diluted fabric softeners and detergents were being delivered to the local landfill. The wastes were often mixed with saw dust and other binding agents before land application.

ThermoEnergy Solution
The client was spending $1,000,000 annually for landfill disposal costs. Our CAST distillation technology allowed for recovery of the fabric softener and the liquid detergents, recovered clean water for use in the cooling tower and opened the door for sewer discharge based solely on flow rate. The client projected a savings of $1,000,000 in annual disposal costs and gained the opportunity to resell the concentrates. Staging the distillation systems reduces the normal operational costs by half and decreased the size of the heat and cooling sources. Cost to treat one gallon of wastewater was approximately $0.10.

To help the client achieve its waste disposal goals, we installed a CAST 12,000 GPD Staged Flash Distillation System constructed of fiber reinforced plastics, CPVC & PVC piping and valves. The CAST system treats 12,000 gallons per day (input) of mixed wastewater. The system was configured so that the segregated fabric softener stream was delivered to one 6000 GPD stage, and the segregated detergent stream was delivered to the second 6000 GPD stage.

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