Zeolite for Waste Water and Effluent Treatment
Natural zeolite is the best natural filter medium available for the filtration of water. It offers superior performance to sand and carbon filters, giving purer water and higher throughput rates with less maintenance required.
Zeolite’s highly porous structure captures particulate contamination down to 4 microns in size. It has a natural negative charge which gives it the capacity to adsorb cations, such as heavy metals and ammonium. It also absorbs some organic contaminants and undesirable odours. Natural zeolite particles also act as seeds to boost bacterial flocs by attracting and increasing bacterial action per unit volume.
Research work done in this field has made the following conclusions :
The replacement of the top 20 cm of a 1 metre thick bed of finely graded silica sand with zeolite gave the following benefits:
- Higher throughput rate of up to 0.75m3/hr/m2 versus 0.15m3/hr/m2 whilst maintaining water quality (measured in turbidity).
- Up to 3 to 5 times more water processed between maintenance scrapings.
- Up to 50% longer runs, even at higher loadings.
Burtica et al., 1997 found :
- The optimum height of a zeolite filter layer is 35% of the height of quartz sand.
- Zeolite reduced turbidity and organic charge (second filtering cycle) by 30% as opposed to 10% with sand.
Natural zeolites are excellent ion exchangers for the removal and recovery of heavy metal cations (Pb, Cu, Cd, Zn, Co, Cr, Mn and Fe; Pb, Cu as high as 97%) from drinking and waste-waters.
In conclusion, Zeolite is an inexpensive, environmentally friendly solution that can improves the effectiveness of wastewater treatment. As a conclusion, adding zeolite to municipal or industrial wastewater treatment plants may:
- provide higher effluent quality by reducing nutrients in the effluent
- reduce odors and gases and improve air quality
- attract dispersed particulates and filaments to increase sediment removal
- reduce chemical costs (i.e. alum & polymers)
- improve sludge dewatering
- generate and increase treatment plant capacity
- reduce or eliminate capital expenditure of new treatment systems
- provide a higher quality sludge for better resale value
- lower the ammonia content of waste streams to acceptable levels
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