From Effluents to Pure Water

From the industrial site to the river – the great water route was observed by journalists of Samara and Togliatti mass media at the treatment complex, one of the most high-security and remote facilities of Togliattiazot. As part of the press tour, representatives of mass media were demonstrated the full cycle of biological treatment of wastewater.

The fact of visiting treatment facilities without feeling the foul smell genuinely inspired our colleague from Samara TV and radio broadcasting company Terra. According to Leonid Koshman, he knows what he is talking about. Over the past few years he has been to similar facilities across the region and here he learnt for the first time that treatment facilities do not have to smell badly.

Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Director for Technical Policy at Togliattiazot Viktor Kazachkov started the press tour around one of the most critical TOAZ facilities with a historical note. The project was designed by a Rostov-based institute, and the onsite treatment facilities were commissioned in three stages: in 1978, 1979 and 1981.

“These facilities receive and treat effluents not only from our industrial site, but also from the enterprises of the Severny Industrial Hub, and domestic wastewater from Komsomolsky District, including Povolzhsky,” noted Viktor Aleksandrovitch. “Currently, the treatment facilities of Togliattiazot actually have around a 50 per cent utilization rate. On average, Workshop No. 15 receives more than 50,000 cubic metres of effluents and has the capacity to receive twice as much.

To turn the foul mass of effluents into nearly pure river water, effluents undergo several treatment stages, such as mechanical (grates, sand traps, preliminary setting tanks), biological (aeration tanks, final setting tanks), post-treatment at sand filters and UV purification (at the UV purifier). During the first stop the press tour participants were introduced to the initial stage of mechanical wastewater treatment, when gross impurities are removed from all the incoming effluents.

It is immediately followed by aeration tanks, giant round tanks where all chemical mixtures from the effluents enter into chemical reaction with activated sludge. The journalists wondered what kind of food the bacteria consume.

“We treat water by thirty different components, including ammonia, water-dissolved urea, methanol, nitrogen and phosphates,” explained Workshop No. 15 Manager Marina Shepilova. “Bacteria absorb dissolved substances, which results in a greater number of microorganisms, and the effluents become clean.” After aeration tanks, water is fed into final setting tanks with daphnia (small crustaceans), which is the best indicator that TOAZ effluents have become safe for discharge into the Volga.

In the filtration package where the UV purifier is accommodated, the journalists were told hoe treated water underwent the final stage, i. e. the stage of ultraviolet purification. Built 11 years ago, the purifier has proven effective and safe, noted Viktor Kazachkov.

The press tour continued in the local laboratory where each stage of wastewater treatment is monitored.

The management of the company told the journalists about the plans for further modernisation of the treatment facilities. The plans envisage large-scale repair of the process equipment, such as aeration tanks, sludge scrapers, setting tanks and sludge lagoons, as well as installation of advanced dynamic equipment.

“The environmental authorities have recently been enhancing requirements to the quality of treated effluents. That is why we at TOAZ are developing a project for recirculating some of the treated water,” commented Viktor Kazachkov. “The price at stake is very high, however the implementation of this development will enable us to achieve almost a 50 per cent decrease in river water consumption at our units in a few years.”

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