Continuous color removal from concentrated dye waste discharges using reducing and oxidizing chemicals: a pilot plant study

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Virginia Tech

The purpose of this research was to design, fabricate and test a 1 liter per minute pilot plant with a cascading sequence of continuously stirred tank reactors. The object of the research was to chemically decolorize selected reactive-dye bath concentrates resulting from exhaustive dyeing, and to remove metals and DOC using Fenton's Reagent or the reductive chemicals, thiourea dioxide and sodium hydrosulfite. For the Fenton's Reagent studies, ferrous sulfate was premixed with the dye waste concentrate before overflowing to the first reactor.

A feedback control system based on color remaining in the discharge was used to regulate reactants added. Transmittance was measured at several wavelengths (590, 540, and 438 nm) and the American Dye Manufacturers Institute (ADMI) value calculated. The results demonstrated that ADMI measurements could not be made on dark solutions (over 3000 ADMI) in the pilot plant and, typically, one wavelength was used for control. DOC removal was used as a means of determining the biological activity in aerated reactors following color removal.

The initial pilot plant studies were conducted using Navy 106 jet-dye waste. Reductive pretreatment with thiourea dioxide resulted in 92.2% color removal with color returning upon aeration for an overall color removal of 76.6%. Oxidative pretreatment with Fenton's chemistry resulted in 98.8% color removal with overall color removal after aerobic treatment at 96.8%. Dissolved Organic Carbon (DOC) removal in aerobic treatment improved with oxidative pretreatment relative to reductive pretreatment on Navy 106 jet-dye concentrate.

On site operation of the pilot plant on other dye wastes showed color removals above 95% and DOC removals of 38% and 19% for an azo-based red dye waste concentrate and a copper-phthalocyanine-based dye, Ming Jade, respectively. The soluble copper concentration in the Ming Jade was decreased from 19.2 ppm to 4.5 ppm. This corresponded to a 3-fold increase in suspended solids from 0.575 g/L to 1.505 g/L.

The results showed that continuous oxidative pretreatment with a 15-minute residence time was controllable and more effective than reductive treatment for color removal. Oxidative pretreatment also decreased the soluble copper concentration in a copper containing waste water, and did not hinder biological activity.