In June 2020 ESMIL was contracted to develop an innovative system for treatment of the wastewater stream generated from a poppy seed washing process. The factory is located in a water scarce area which means water supply and waste water disposal are problematic. The seed washing process liberates bio-active substances including morphine into the process wastewater further complicating the treatment and disposal process. Regulatory requirements and disposal specifications indicted a unique separation process to be developed, engineered and installed as quickly as possible.
Based on experience and the specifications of the final treated water quality, ESMIL developed a proposal based on special ultrafiltration (UF) and Reverse Osmosis (RO) membrane processes. This allowed for the dual benefit of removal and concentration of contaminants from the waste stream, and also the re-use of the treated water stream (permeate) as process make up water.
The proposed design was initially validated by laboratory scale evaluation at the ESMIL laboratory in High Wycombe. A review of the pilot study results demonstrated a recovery rate of 80-85 % of the initial feed. Based on these outcomes, the contract for the design, engineering, construction and installation of the proposed wash water recovery system design was approved and awarded in October 2020.
Further validation of the proposed process was achieved by conducting large scale pilot plant studies on site using a larger, more representative sample. ESMIL constructed a pilot skid for the UF system, and three types of membrane were evaluated to determine the most appropriate for the process conditions. These extra analyses are useful in order to shorten the eventual plant commissioning and start up schedules.
The supply of equipment, installation and the start-up of the system began in February 2021. In view of the comprehensive preliminary studies of the process, commissioning and start-up is expected to be completed in April 2020. The ESMIL waste water treatment system will allow the client to significantly increase the economic efficiency of the production process and reduce the adverse impact of waste water discharge on the environment.