Wastwater Treatment – Case Study

Wastewater Treatment Chemicals Case Study – Phosphorus Removal


Many industrial facilities, particularly those involved in food processing and metal finishing, face an ongoing struggle to remove phosphorus from effluent waste streams.  Phosphorus can pose problems internal to the facility in the form of surcharges and rising wastewater treatment costs, but also to the environment.  When high levels of phosphorus are present in a body of water, eutrophication can occur, in which phosphorus (among other nutrients) can promote excessive growth of algae. As the algae die and decay, high levels of organic matter and the decomposing material deplete the water of available oxygen, which can be toxic to aquatic organisms.  As eutrophication increases, municipal wastewater treatment costs rise, which ultimately are passed back to the industrial facilities in the form of higher surcharges.


Phosphorus can be removed through both biological and chemical pathways, but chemical precipitation is generally more prevalent in industrial facilities due to the costs associated with biological treatment.  As such, Advanced Chemical Systems (ACS) has developed treatment systems and wastewater treatment chemicals aimed at making phosphorus removal as efficient and effective as possible without excessive cost or sludge generation.

Though the exact chemical treatment process varies from one industrial facility to the next, ACS typically has two consistent products that are used for phosphorus removal from wastewater.  The coagulant of choice is ACP 157, which is a proprietary blend including ferric chloride, inorganic salts, and cationic polymers.  Compared to other coagulants, this ferric blend has particular advantages.  During precipitation, the ferric iron reacts with the phosphate ion, but also a hydrolysis reaction occurs in which the ferric ion forms a ferric hydroxide floc when added to water. These two reactions are competing, and make the actual iron to phosphorus ratio higher than the theoretical.

ACS also employs lime for phosphate removal, but through means of a specialized chemical blend.  A concern with lime addition is that sludge generation during wastewater treatment will be drastically increased.  ACS’s product, BF90C, is a lime slurry, but the lime is pre-treated and held in solution through other chemical components of the product.  The use of BF90C allows for more efficient use of lime in phosphorus removal, which reduces the amount of sludge produced by the wastewater treatment process.


ACS has successfully improved the phosphorus removal process in multiple facilities.  Recently ACS was tasked to further remove phosphorus from a metal finishing facility.  The phosphorus level was fairly low already, but due to a large volume of water, the facility desired to decrease their phosphorus surcharges.


After implementing a wastewater treatment chemical program that utilized the ACP 157 and BF90C product described above, significantly improved phosphorus removal was observed.


ACS prides itself on using the most efficient and appropriate wastewater treatment chemicals and processes available, which as shown above, produce desired results while mitigating drawbacks.

Contact us today to see how we can improve your process!