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Journal of Cleaner Production 16 (2008) 330e334

Pollution prevention pays off in a board paper mill

Sohair I. Abou-Elela a,*, Fayza A. Nasr a, Hanan S. Ibrahim a,
Nagwa M. Badr a, Abdul Raziq M. Askalany b
Water Pollution Research Department, National Research Center, 33 El-Tahrir Street, Dokki Giza, Egypt
Delta Board Mills, Badr Industrial City, Cairo, Egypt

Received 20 April 2006; accepted 24 July 2006

Available online 12 October 2006


Environmental problems caused by recycling wasted paper at a board paper mill provide the material of this study. Two scenarios have been
investigated: The first being the treatment of the end-of-pipe, and the second being the control and management of pollution problems through
the application of in-plant control and pollution prevention measures. Comparison between the two alternatives, based on a cost-benefit analysis
and compliance with National Environmental Laws was done. From this study it was apparent that the implementation of the pollution preven-
tion measures such as the recovery of fiber, reduction of fresh water consumption, and optimization of white water usage proved to be very cost
effective. All the implemented solutions have short payback periods and resulted in great savings compared with the treatment of the end-
2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Board paper mill; Cleaner production; Pollution prevention; Recovery of fiber; Dissolved air flotation

1. Introduction the volume of effluents discharged, and to minimize solid

waste for disposal [3]. Recently, many mill modernization pro-
The management of wastewater is becoming a major con- grams (with the implementation of cluster rules compliance
cern. Due to increasing environmental awareness associated programs) are being designed to address this area to become
with industrial waste, companies must now incorporate waste more efficient in terms of water usage and volume of effluent
management and prevention strategies into industrial pro- discharged to the treatment plant.
cesses [1]. A wide range of pollution prevention opportunities In recycling wasted paper mills, zero discharge is possible
could be implemented with significant financial advantages for through wastewater reuse after suitable treatment. But due to
factories, as well as reducing environmental pollution [2]. poor or no wastewater treatment and old fiber recovery tech-
In the pulp and paper industries, environmental problems nologies, the industry is unable to recycle the effluent.
vary with both the size and category of the mill. In recent Environmental problems associated with a board paper mill
years, pulp and paper manufacturers have faced additional provide the material of this study. The plant produces 25 ton/
constraints to modernization, namely; raw water availability day board paper from recycling wasted paper. Wastewater dis-
and limitations on wastewater discharge. This, in turn, means charged from the mill amounted to 1000 m3/day was dumped
that the conventional wisdom of the end-of-pipe treatment for into a pond nearby the factory without any treatment. The
pollutant discharge may not be sufficient. Additional in-plant wastewater produced was highly contaminated with suspended
water conservation efforts are becoming necessary to reduce solids and organic pollutants as well. The different processes
in the plant were operated in an open circuit manner. Fig. 1
* Corresponding author. Tel./fax: 20 2 336 7319. shows the manufacturing processes, water usage and wastewa-
E-mail address: (S.I. Abou-Elela). ter discharged.

0959-6526/$ - see front matter 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
S.I. Abou-Elela et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 16 (2008) 330e334 331

Fig. 1. Process, water usage and wastewater discharged from the board paper mill.

The objective of this study was two folds: carried out for almost two months. Composite samples from
the end-of-pipe were collected and analyzed according to
 To technically and economically evaluate the treatment of Standard Methods [6].
the end-of-pipe approaches in order to comply with the
Egyptian Environmental Legislations. 2.3. Treatability studies
 To evaluate the implementation of the pollution prevention
and cleaner production approaches versus the treatment of End-of-pipe was treated via physico-chemical processes
the end-of-pipe. namely; coarse screen, screening followed by sedimentation
for two hours or screening followed by chemical coagula-
2. Materials and methods tion/floatation under pressure. Screening was already available
in the factory. It is a cylindrical in shape with a diameter of
In this study two approaches have been investigated to 1.25 meters, 2.40 meters length and mesh size 20/cm2. The co-
manage and control the industrial effluent produced from agulant used for chemical coagulation was alum aided with
this plant. The first approach was the treatment of the end- cationic polymer. The optimum coagulant doses and the pH,
of-pipe, while the second approach was the implementation were determined.
of any possible pollution prevention measures.
3. Results and discussions
2.1. Pollution prevention measures
3.1. Characteristics of wastewater
In order to determine the opportunities for any pollution
prevention measure, industrial auditing of the plant under Analysis of the end-of-pipe indicated that it carries signifi-
investigation has been carried out. The audit was conducted cant quantities of fiber, fines, filler and other wet-end additives
using a systematic review of the companys processes and that contribute to the total suspended solids (TSS), chemical ox-
operations designed to identify and provide information about ygen demand (COD) and biological oxygen demand (BOD).
opportunities to reduce waste, reuse and recycling of water, re- Their average corresponding values were 242 Kg TSS/ton
covery and reuse of materials, and to improve the operational product, 411 Kg COD/ton product and 124 Kg BOD/ton prod-
efficiency [4]. The industrial auditing guidelines were prepared uct, respectively. It is noteworthy that the concentration of TSS
for application in Egypt as presented in Guidelines for Indus- in the final effluent discharged from any paper mill varies based
trial Audits, prepared by Entec/TCOE [5]. on the first pass retention time, white water system design, clar-
All the improvement measures were documented by a cost/ ification equipment, equipment arrangement and system con-
benefit analysis whenever possible. straints in terms of water reuse [7].

2.2. Collection of samples and analysis 3.2. First approach: treatment of end-of-pipe

Due to the great variation in the quality and quantity of The efficiency of the different treatment processes of the
wastewater produced, a continuous monitoring program was end-of-pipe is shown in (Table 1). It is obvious that utilization
332 S.I. Abou-Elela et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 16 (2008) 330e334

Table 1
Comparison of the efficiency of the different treatment processes
Parameters* Raw wastewater 1 % Removal 2 % Removal 3 % Removal Ministerial
decree 4/2000**
pH range 7.1e7.4 7.1e7.4 e 7.1e7.4 e 6.6e6.3 e 6.0e9.5
COD, mgO2/1 10,265 2591 75 1533 85 712 93 1100
BOD, mgO2/1 3100 1065 65.6 800 74.2 432 86 600
Total suspended 6046 1702 72 610 89.9 19.7 99.7 800
solid, mg/l
*Average of 6 results. **Ministerial decree for discharge into public sewerage system. 1- Screening only. 2- Screening followed by sedimentation. 3- Screening
followed by chemical treatment.

of the available screen in the factory proved to be very effi- The technologies applied for pollution control in the mill
cient in removing most of the particulates and organic matters, were:
as indicated by the percentage removal of TSS (72%), COD
(75%) and BOD (65.6%). The screened effluent was subjected  Recovery of fiber.
then to a plain sedimentation for two hours. Although the  Reuse of clarified/unclarified white water at appropriate
results indicated a great improvement in the quality of the areas.
primary treated effluent, the residual values of TSS, COD  Minimization of fresh water consumption without affect-
and BOD still did not comply with the National regulatory ing runability or quality.
standards for wastewater discharge into the public sewage
network. The proposed solutions were already implemented at the
Screening followed by chemical coagulation/sedimentation factory. The economic return was calculated. Evaluation of
process using the pre-determined optimum doses of alum the quality of the end-of-pipe vs. pollution prevention was
(130 w 150 mg/l), aided with 5 mg/l cationic polymer and at also determined.
the optimum pH of w6.2  0.2 resulted a good quality of
the treated effluent. However, in some cases, some particulates 3.3.1. Recovery of fiber
were floated during the sedimentation process. Accordingly, Wastewater discharged from the factory is almost 1000 m3/
dissolved air flotation using alum and the cationic polymer day. It contains high concentration of suspended solids (fibers)
has been recommended [8]. Fig. 2 shows the schematic dia- and organic materials as indicated by, TSS, COD and BOD
gram of the proposed treatment train. values. Also, the wastewater contains plastic particles and
3.3. Second approach: implementation In order to recover the fiber, it was found necessary to re-
of pollution prevention measures move the plastic particles as well as sand. This was carried
out using a sand filter of 18 m3 capacity and a vibration screen,
Industrial auditing at the factory revealed that all the pro- which separated the plastic particles and other contaminants
cesses are operated in an open circuit. To apply the scenario larger than 3 mm. The recovered fibers amounted to 0.4 mt/
of pollution minimization and waste reduction, most of the mt product and are recycled to stock chest. A great benefit
open circuit processes have been changed to closed circuit was gained out of this solution (L.E. 1,350,000/year) with
type operation. a payback period not exceeding 10 days.

(1) (3) (C)
(2) (2)

1 - Slow down chamber
2 - Approach channel
3 - Coarse screen chamber
Settled solids Treated
(B) A - Alum. Sulfate tank
B - Polymer tank
C - Flash mixing tank
D - Dissolved air floatation unit Thickened
E - Compressed air

Fig. 2. Schematic diagram of the proposed treatment train.

S.I. Abou-Elela et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 16 (2008) 330e334 333

Table 2 Table 4
Fresh water consumption before and after the implementation of in plant con- Quality of the end-of-pipe after implementation of the in-plant control
trol measures measures
Point of use Fresh water usage m3/day Parameters* Raw End-of % Removal Permissible
Before modifications After modifications wastewater pipe limits

Felt conditioning 180 70 pH range 7.1e7.4 6.6e7.2 e 6.0e9.5

COD, mgO2/1 10,265 700 93 1100
Bottom wire cleaning 180 80
Upper wire cleaning 250 120 BOD, mgO2/1 3100 400 87 600
Trim nozzles 10 10 Total suspended 6046 50 99 800
Vacuum pump sealing 80 0 solid, mg/l
Cleaning hoses and filling tanks 30 0 *Average of 3 results.
Thickeners showers 270 70
Polydisk filter 0 50
3.3.3. Minimization of fresh water consumption
Total 1000 400
Fresh water is used to compensate for losses during the
pulping stage, showers, dilution of high-density clarifiers, in
3.3.2. Reuse of clarified/unclarified white water addition to all cleaning processes using water hoses that exist
at appropriate areas around the equipment and the preparation area. The water con-
The white water produced in the plant from the board paper sumption rate is 40 m3/ton of produced board paper. The mill
forming process is almost 350 m3/h. This white water is sub- presently produces around 25 tons/day. This means that the
jected to physico-chemical treatment with alum aided with daily fresh water consumption is amounted to 1000 m3/day
a cationic polymer in an existing Dissolved Air Flotation w42 m3/h. As a result of improving the performance of the
Unit (DAF), Krofta type. The capacity of the unit is only DAF unit due to a reduction in the load to 100 m3/h as well
300 m3/h. Accordingly, the DAF unit is not working efficiently as operating the unit at the optimum pH and chemicals doses,
due to over capacity. the total suspended solids in the treated wastewater reduced to
Experimental trials in the mill indicated that about 250 m3/ 120 mg/l. A polydisc filter of a disco strainer type that already
h of raw white water could be used safely in pulping, some di- exists in the factory was used to remove the remaining flocs.
lution stages such as first stage dilution of low density clari- The maximum total suspended solid in the filtered water
fiers, and silo tank filling water. was 50 mg/l. This water is used for the processes of screen
The only prohibited use of this water is the vacuum sealing showers, cleaning hoses, vacuum pumps sealing, dilution
water. The remaining 100 m3/h can be treated efficiently using and flushing water. The excess clean water was discharged
the existing DAF unit. The clarified water from the DAF is into the public sewage network. Consequently, the fresh water
reused in vacuum pumps sealing water. consumption in the factory was used only in felt showers, wire
This solution alleviated the need of chemicals to treat showers and trimming nozzles with a maximum consumption
250 m3/h of raw white water in the DAF unit, accordingly of 400 m3/d as shown in (Table 2). This solution saved L.E.
a saving of L.E. 30,000/year with a payback period of 270,000/year with a payback period of 3 days.
2 days were achieved.
3.3.4. Cost benefit analysis of the implemented
pollution prevention measures
A summary of the cost benefit analysis of the applied solu-
Table 3
Cost/benefit analysis of applying the pollution control measures
tions is shown in Table 3.
Characteristics of the remaining end-of-pipe (400 m3/d), af-
Improvement Cost Benefits L.E. Payback
L.E. period days
ter applying the previous modification and utilization of the
existing DAF unit followed by the available polydisc filter,
1- Recovery of fiber 44200 1,350,000/year 10
2- Reuse of white water system e e 2
was complying with the National regularity standards for
 Piping rerouting 200 e wastewater discharge into public sewage network (Table 4).
 Saving chemicals e 30,000/year
3- Minimization of fresh 3.33 4. Conclusion
water consumption
 Piping rerouting 2000 e
 Polydisc filter maintenance 1000 e From this study it is apparent that the implementation of the
 Saving in fresh water e 270,000/year pollution prevention measures such as wastewater reuse, re-
4- Price of cleaning the pond e 36,000 e covery of fiber, reduction of fresh water consumption and op-
5- Price of pond area (3000 m2) e 300,000 e timization of white water uses proved to be very efficient in
6- Wastewater treatment unit e 2,500,000 e
reducing the pollution loads and water use in the mill. Cost
7- Operation and maintenance e 750,000/year e benefit analysis for the implemented environmental improve-
of wastewater treatment unit ments proved to be very economic with a short payback period
Total saving in the first year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 L.E. 5,236,000. and resulted in great savings, compared with the treatment of
Total saving in the second Year 1 2 3 4 7 L.E. 2,436,000. the end-of-pipe.
334 S.I. Abou-Elela et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 16 (2008) 330e334

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