The Benefits of an Integrated Air and Water Pollution Control Partner

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Although there has been substantial progress during the past several decades in reducing pollution, the EPA, other federal agencies and local governments continue to add and revise requirements and standards, making compliance a challenge for the industrial sector. These companies also face increasing public pressure not just to meet but to exceed pollution control standards, as studies continue to show that air and water pollution can cause environmental damage, and human exposure to them is linked to a variety of illnesses and premature death.

Industrial facilities across chemical, metal manufacturing, mining, food processing and energy sectors create air emissions and water contaminants that decrease with modern abatement technology. However, rapidly changing regulations and the selection of exactly the right abatement technology combine to make improvement challenging.

Since air and water pollution must be treated differently, corporations often create separate efforts to address each, with no link or shared data between the two. For air pollution, thermal or catalytic oxidation technologies provide effective treatment options. Comparatively, for water, a combination of remediation, air stripping and soil vapor extraction (SVE) methodologies may be used.

Recently, an integrated approach is gaining traction, as providers with sufficient expertise in both air and water pollution abatement have begun to offer a single-source strategy.  While an integrated approach offers many benefits to the client, including one point of contact, reduced project administration and a holistic solution, abatement providers must possess not only expertise in both types of pollution, air and water, but also how to best design these systems to function together. These providers have a foundational understanding of industrial air and water pollution sources and an appreciation of the mastery required to offer an integrated pollution abatement approach.

Sources of Industrial Pollution

Industrial Air Contamination

The World Health Organization (WHO), in a March 2014 report, identified polluted air as the single largest environmental risk, estimating that air pollution contributed to the death of seven million people globally in 2012.  Air pollution is the presence of chemicals or compounds that lower air quality with the potential to change the quality of life. Air contamination comes from any industrial source that generates volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are organic chemicals that add to ground-level ozone. It can also result from any of the 187 hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) originating from many different processes, including petroleum refining, automotive manufacturing, can coating, baking and food manufacturing, and printing. Thermal and catalytic oxidizers are vapor combustion devices routinely used for the abatement of emissions from these industrial processes. The systems use time, temperature and turbulence to convert harmful pollutants to carbon dioxide, water vapor and heat.

Industrial Water Contamination

Water pollution is the presence of toxic chemicals or biological agents that exceed what is naturally found in groundwater and can pose a threat to human health and the environment.  Wastewater is attributable to a variety of industrial processes and equipment, including parts washing and facility cleanup; contaminants are typically industry specific. Depending on the water contaminants and concentrations, a combination of treatment systems may be required. Turnkey wastewater treatments systems and support are central to the removal of contaminants from industrial processes. This treatment train could consist of pumps, piping, air/water separators, filters, de-sludging systems, dryers and even air treatment devices. 

For water treatment, the technologies remove or destroy a subset of targeted contaminants. These technologies have windows of operation and can require pre- or post-treatment for effective operation. System elements are often involved that condition aspects of water chemistry, protect equipment and reduce maintenance.

Remediation

In addition to air and water contaminants, groundwater remediation is a common pollution control focus for leaking underground storage tanks, oil spills and brownfield or federal Superfund sites, where chemicals have leaked into the soil and groundwater. Remediation abatement solutions often require both air and water treatment technologies.

Remediation centers on the removal and destruction of hydrocarbons. Oxidizers are a popular remediation treatment technology, but they often require specialty materials of construction and configurations to deal with VOCs and HAPs that are chlorinated or halogenated. Expertise in both air and water pollution is required for effective site cleanup, often involving a variety of companies and consulting firms.  Regulations govern each type of pollutant, adding another layer of complexity to industry’s approach to pollution control.

EPA Mandates

While some may think that the EPA pollution mandates are less stringent today than in the recent past, that is not the case. Instead, a review of the EPA’s mission, laws and process improvements is underway, as is the empowering of individual states to take on a larger regulatory role. Many pollution regulations are now set by state or local regulatory bodies, based on EPA guidance. In some cases, the EPA still maintains set standards for specific product categories. To mitigate human health and environmental impact, the U.S. EPA and individual states mandate various VOC and toxic chemical destruction rates.

Title V permits under the Clean Air Act restrict specific sources of air pollution according to an operating permit that must be compliance-certified annually. These sources have actual or potential emissions above an established threshold for any air pollutant, with a default value of 100 tons annually. HAPs have a threshold of 10 tons per year for a single HAP, or 25 tons per year for any HAPs combination. Applications that fall under Title V span many industry segments and thresholds can vary depending on a facility’s location or potential to emit.

By comparison, the discharge of wastewater involves many possibilities. Water can be sent to the sewer, referred to as publicly owned treatment works (POTW). It can be surface discharged, discharged to other bodies of water or treated for reuse in industrial processes. Local utilities set discharge limits if wastewater is discharged to sewers. Surface discharge is governed by state regulations that are based on the Water Quality Standards Regulation (40 CFR 131), which establishes state and tribal requirements to review, revise and adopt water quality standards. 40 CFR 131 also establishes the procedures for the EPA to review, approve and promulgate water quality standards pursuant to section 303 (c) of the Clean Water Act. Further, 40 CFR contains Categorical Pretreatment Standards, which are industry specific and may or may not be more stringent than local standards.

Given that most domestic companies discharge to sewer, they must react first to local regulations. Increased pretreatment may be necessary due to existing POTW capacity, increased demand or EPA demands of the POTW, such as the reduction of nutrient loading to surface waters.

For wastewater discharge, most companies are reactive. Often POTWs will establish surcharges for water that is above discharge standards before submitting a notice of violation.

Attempts by industry to address air and water pollution individually have not been ideal. Meeting federal and state regulatory requirements, the difficulty of planning, installing and maintaining equipment and distributing responsibility among too many players, results in confusion and mixed outcomes as well as great expense.

The Value of an Integrated Approach

Treatment systems for air and water pollution require a number of technologies. A treatment train, or system, includes a variety of standalone technologies that must be integrated for the system to function and meet requirements

A single-source supplier is empowered to support pollution control efforts from conception through installation, start-up and maintenance. This approach can greatly reduce the time it takes to coordinate efforts between a myriad of technology suppliers and fabricators, reducing administration time and providing a single point of contact that greatly reduces information overload. With one central coordinating effort, risk is substantially reduced, successful projects result and lower total cost of ownership is achieved. Ultimately, using an integrator that is not tied to a specific product line or technology enables systems that are better tailored to meet specific requirements.

Understandably, industrial companies tend to concentrate on their businesses and expertise and deal with pollution control issues as they happen with regulatory requirements, increased manufacturing capacity, or with the addition of new products. Typically, a piecemeal and reactionary approach is taken to solve air pollution control (APC) and wastewater treatment (WWT). Companies, or the consulting firms that they hire, must research each component necessary in the treatment train (air and water) and develop specifications to purchase each piece of treatment technology, including instrumentation, software and such auxiliary components as pumps and tanks.

This approach is ineffective as it creates a greater potential for design and communication errors that impact the performance of the entire system. When different vendors are used, detailed specifications need to be generated for each type of abatement equipment. The generation of these specifications, to allow for bidding from a variety of companies, requires significant up-front engineering time and expense. The end result is often as good as the suppliers selected and may be inconsistent regarding the complete abatement train.

While reliable equipment options to control and mitigate pollution exist, a single-source provider of pollution control equipment with expertise across air and water is optimal. Each area of pollution control presents unique challenges. Replacing a piecemeal approach with a holistic one to tackle complex industrial pollution control requirements across all sectors provides for the most capable, cost-effective and complete solution.

This supplier should  have  the  capability  and  initiative  to perform bench laboratory testing and verification of treatment technology and undertake scaled pilot studies before full-scale equipment is built. Bench and scaled pilot tests allow for two additional layers of verification and design data before incurring significant expenses. Obtaining proper design data and a full understanding of the site and specific constraints enhances the field solution and ensures improved performance.

There are other benefits to using one source with expertise in both air and water pollution control. In some instances, for example, water treatment releases gaseous emissions from VOCs or HAPs that were dissolved in water and consequently stripped from the water. These waste streams can be abated with APC equipment. A combined APC and WWT supplier eliminates communication and design errors between the two environmental solutions.

In comparison, using multiple suppliers for different aspects of an abatement solution necessitates the generation of detailed specifications for each particular solution at a substantial cost. The use of one supplier saves considerable time and expense.

Additional benefits include reduced communication overload from multiple vendors; reduced contracting and legal time; a single party responsible for the entire system; less time   to project completion; greater standardization of parts; improved project management and parts tracking; and better coordination between manufacturer and customer. There is also an elimination of finger-pointing between vendors, incorrectly specified technologies, missed efficiency opportunities and redundancies in maintenance plans. All of these contribute to total cost-of-ownership reduction.

When placed in the hands of one highly skilled organization to create, deliver and maintain pollution control systems, the results are compliance with environmental and safety regulations, cost savings over the life of the system, reduced downtime and one phone call to handle each-and-every challenge.  While an integrated approach is best, it’s a challenge to accomplish due to the expertise needed regarding the complexities of air, water and remediation pollution control. Few companies can offer an effective integrated approach. It is, however, exactly what Anguil brings to its clients and what makes Anguil unique.

Anguil in Action

The ability to draw from multiple abatement technologies ensures that the focus is on obtaining  the right solution for the job. Anguil differentiates itself by offering a wide variety of emission control technologies as well as fully integrated water pollution control systems. This ensures an unbiased equipment selection for each application based on the destruction requirements, efficiency needs and process parameters.

Anguil Environmental has extensive experience incorporating multiple treatment technologies spanning thermal and catalytic oxidizers, rotor concentrators and scrubbers, as well as experience establishing comprehensive pollution control solutions that meet stringent compliance requirements, no matter how complex the air and water pollution application.

For air pollution abatement, widely considered to be the most energy-efficient oxidizer technology, Anguil’s regenerative thermal oxidizer (RTO) uses ceramic media to recover upwards of 97 percent of the thermal energy generated during combustion. The regenerative component makes it capable of fuel-free operation at low concentrations. Anguil not only designs, manufactures, services and installs RTOs, but also direct-fired, catalytic and thermal recuperative systems.

Anguil’s engineering team validates its recommended treatment approach in the laboratory and through scaled pilot-tests. Customers receive an unbiased treatment selection based on the removal requirements, efficiency needs and process parameters. Over forty degreed engineers from all disciplines meet the demands of any project.

At each phase of a project, potential resource savings are evaluated to optimize the treatment train. Anguil creates systems so that clients can achieve performance and effectively manage capital and operational expense. The result is a highly integrated approach to pollution control, with no cost surprises.

Summary

Anguil maintains in-house control of mission-critical aspects that impact the delivery of high-quality integrated pollution control and treatment systems. With a focus on providing maximum performance and system uptime, Anguil assists from the project planning and development stage, all the way through delivery and service for the lifetime of the system. Anguil has the expertise to integrate air and water pollution technologies and serve as a single-source provider. This unique approach is changing the way that many corporations approach environmental pollution efforts, especially important given today’s rapidly changing environmental sustainability landscape.

About Anguil

Anguil maintains in-house control of mission-critical aspects that impact the delivery of high-quality integrated pollution control and treatment systems. With a focus on providing maximum performance and system uptime, Anguil assists from the project planning and development stage, all the way through delivery and service for the lifetime of the system. Anguil has the expertise to integrate air and water pollution technologies and serve as a single-source provider. This unique approach is changing the way that many corporations approach environmental pollution efforts, especially important given today’s rapidly changing environmental sustainability landscape.

For more information on how Anguil’s unique approach can help you with your specific industrial air and water pollution control needs, visit www.anguil.com.

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