278364 Characterization and Assessment of Industrial Wastewaters in Egypt

Thursday, November 1, 2012: 1:45 PM
408 (Convention Center )
Mohamed Mostafa, Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering , University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL and Robert W. Peters, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Poor water quality is one of the biggest problems faced by most countries especially, developing countries such as Egypt. Egypt is the most populous country in the Middle East with a population of more than 80 million people. Egypt's population has grown significantly since the beginning of the 20th century. Per capita water availability is declining in Egypt over time due to rapid population growth. The mismanagement of water resources is one of the main reasons for the depletion of water. The rapid population growth in Egypt also results in a significant increase in the size and number of industries due to increased demand for industrial products. The industrial areas in Egypt suffer from a number of environmental problems including management of sewage and disposal of pollutants from the surrounding factories into surface water pathways in the area. Results have shown that industrial and domestic wastewater samples often contain toxic levels of several heavy metals (Cd, Co, Pb, and Ni), which have adversely impacted surface waterways. Egypt’s 329 major industries discharge as much as 2.5 x 10 6 cubic meters/day of untreated effluent into Egyptian waters, with 50% to 64% of the industrial activity located in Cairo. It has been estimated that 80% of the country’s industrial effluent is discharged untreated into the Nile River, canal, wells, municipal sewage systems, and ultimately the Mediterranean Sea. The analyses of Nile River samples (water and sediment) have shown the presence of high concentrations of Mn and Cr, and low concentrations of Cu and Pb. The Nile River also suffers from the effects of recurring oil spills.

Wastewater samples are being collected from various industrial sectors for analysis. In particular, we are focusing on industries that generate wastewater with high concentrations of contaminants. Among the various industrial sectors, the organic pollutants are mainly generated from food processing, pulp and paper, pharmaceuticals, textile, and tannery industries, while a substantial portion of effluents containing heavy metals are generated from steel, petroleum, textiles, tanneries, and chemical industries. In addition, wastewater generated from these industries typically contains high concentrations of BOD, COD, suspended solids, and nitrogen. The loads of these contaminants contained within sewage are as follows: BOD, COD, oil and grease, TDS, and heavy metals are 235, 423, 168, 296, and 1.65 tons/day, respectively. About 60 percent of the heavy metals discharge comes from the chemical industry and about 50 percent of the BOD load comes from food processing. The wastewater samples are being tested in the laboratory for different physical, chemical and bacteriological parameters. The parameters are pH, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), oil and grease, total suspended solids (TSS), total dissolved solids (TDS), Zn, Cu, Phenol, Cr, and temperature. The most suitable treatment techniques will be identified based on the data collected.

Pollution Prevention (P2) is a positive and crucial step aimed at reducing, avoiding, or eliminating the generation of wastes or any hazardous substance, prior to recycling, disposal or treatment. A corporate policy statement is a very important factor to consider when starting a pollution prevention program. A successful P2 program requires support from all members of a company; especially, the management levels. Many economic and environmental benefits result from the implementation of a pollution prevention project. These benefits include reducing operating costs, reducing regulatory compliance issues, improving employee morale and participation, and reducing liability.

This research aims to improve water quality and the environment in Egypt by exploring ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle industrial wastes; and finding appropriate techniques of treating the Nile River oil spill. Specific objectives of this research are to: (1) develop a comprehensive literature data base of pollution prevention case histories in Egypt; (2) develop preliminary pollution prevention opportunities for the facility based on historical records, process flow diagrams, wastewater analyses, and mass balances; and (3) conduct on-site plant pollution prevention assessments to identify specific opportunities by which waste can be reduced at a specific facility. Results will be presented on the waste characterization and identification of appropriate treatment techniques to minimize disposal of industrial wastes in Egypt.

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