Low-temperature carbonization (LTC) of coal generates highly complex wastewater warranting stringent treatment. Developing a techno-economically viable treatment facility for such wastewaters is a challenging task. The paper discusses a case study pertaining to an existing non-performing effluent treatment plant (ETP). The existing ETP comprising an ammonia stripper followed by a single stage biological oxidation was unable to treat 1,050 m3/d of effluent as per the stipulated discharge norms. The treated effluent from the existing ETP was characterized with high concentrations of ammonia (75–345 mg N/l), COD (313–1,422 mg/l) and cyanide (0.5–4 mg/l). Studies were undertaken to facilitate recycling/reuse of the treated effluent within the plant. A second stage biooxidation process was investigated at pilot scale for the treatment of the effluent from the ETP. This was further subjected to tertiary treatment with 0.5% dose of 4% hypochlorite which resulted in effluent with pH: 6.6–6.8, COD: 73–121 mg/l, and BOD5:<10 mg/l. Phenol, cyanide and ammonia were below detectable limits and the colourless effluent was suitable for recycle and reuse. Thus, a modified treatment scheme comprising ammonia pre-stripping followed by two-stage biooxidation process and a chemical oxidation step with hypochlorite at tertiary stage was proposed for recycle/reuse of LTC wastewater.
Keywords: ammonia, coal carbonization, pilot plant, recycle/reuse, two-stage biooxidation process