Reducing sulfates concentration in the tannery effluent by applying pollution prevention techniques and nanofiltration

Autores UPV


The use of large quantities of sulfuric acid and other sulfur-containing chemicals causes high sulfate concentrations in the wastewater of a tannery. The aim of this work was reducing the sulfate concentration in the final wastewater from a tannery. For that, firstly a study about the main sulfate sources in a tannery was carried out and the total sulfates load in the tannery wastewater was evaluated. Two measures for sulfates reduction were studied: the recycling of unhairing wastewater to the soaking drums and the reuse of the chromium sulfate from the tanning washing wastewater after its separation by nanofiltration (NF). The first measure proposed was studied experimentally in laboratory drums of 5 L of volume. Two series of experiments with different volumes of unhairing wastewater in the soaking bath were carried out. The quality of the final leather was evaluated by means of mechanical tests. NF experiments were carried out in a laboratory pilot plant with a spiral wounded membrane element. Concerning the results, the combination of 50% unhairing wastewater and 50% of fresh water was appropriate in order to obtain leather with an acceptable quality. Besides, it drove to a diminution of approximately 10% in the addition of sulfide in the unhairing. Related to the NF experiments, 97% of the sulfates were rejected by the membrane. The separated ions could be recycled to the tanning drums. The application of the two measures (firstly the recycling of the unhairing wastewater and secondly the NF of the tanning washing wastewater) drove to a reduction of 14.82 kg SO 4 -2 t -1 of raw hide. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.