Smarter Way To Reduce pH Imbalance: Rare Earth Chemistry

Traditional wastewater coagulants are highly corrosive. They disrupt the pH balance of wastewater being treated; plant operators must restore that balance before discharge. That adds to the cost, time, and labor resources required by wastewater treatment plants.

A smarter solution is rare earth chemistry, which is more effective and can be as much as 200 times less corrosive than traditional chemical treatments. A highly innovative wastewater treatment product made by Neo Water Treatment — RE300 — minimizes pH upset. It also reduces chemical treatment volumes, cuts transport costs, lessens plant infrastructure erosion, and increases worker safety.

Successfully treating wastewater requires chemicals that serve as coagulants to settle solids and help clarify the water. Traditionally, iron- and aluminum-based coagulants have been the chemicals of choice for these purposes. But these chemicals are highly disruptive to the pH balance of wastewater, which treatment plants must then restore to neutral before the water can be returned to the natural environment. They are highly corrosive to plant infrastructure and they also pose a potential hazard to workers who handle them.

Rare Earth Chemistry is Much Less Acidic

By contrast, Neo Water Treatment’s RE300, which is based on rare earth chemistry, is as much as 200 times less acidic than traditional coagulants. On the pH scale, aluminum sulfate is more than 90,000 times more acidic than neutral, and ferric chloride is at least 100,000 times more acidic than neutral. By contrast, RE300 is typically only 4,000 times more acidic than pH neutral. That makes RE300 a much friendlier chemical solution to maintaining pH balance.

At 77° Fahrenheit, solutions with a pH less than 7 are acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic; a pH of 14 is fully basic. At pH 7, pure water is neutral at 77°F. EPA regulations for wastewater treatment plants prohibit discharges with a pH lower than 5.0 or greater than pH 12.5. Ferric chloride has a pH of less than 2, while aluminum sulfate has a pH of 1.8 to 2.2. That makes them both highly acidic. In contrast, RE300 has a median pH of 3.5, which makes pH counterbalance much easier and less expensive to accomplish.

Less Rare Earth Needed to Get the Job Done

Much less RE300 is needed for wastewater treatment than the more acidic chemicals that often are used today. In fact, a typical plant can successfully use four to five times less RE300 than traditional coagulants. Where wastewater discharge regulations are strict, plant operators could use 1/10th as much RE300 by volume than iron- and aluminum-based coagulants. As we discussed in our previous article on sludge reduction, using less coagulant chemicals in wastewater treatment delivers a range of positive benefits to treatment plants. More effectively managing the pH of treated water is one of those highly valuable benefits.

Lower Your Need for Caustic pH Adjustment Chemicals

Because RE300 is significantly less disruptive to pH balance than traditional chemicals, wastewater treatment plants can reduce their use of the caustic chemicals required to balance pH. The chemicals most often used for pH balancing are sodium hydroxide or magnesium hydroxide, which typically have a pH of about 14 and are thus highly toxic and difficult to handle. These corrosive chemicals also increase the risk of wear and tear to plant infrastructure. Wastewater treatment with RE300 reduces these risks and costs.

Lower Transport Costs, Improve Safety

Because using rare earth chemistry reduces the need for more acidic and caustic chemicals, it naturally reduces the need to transport them. Any reduction in the handling or transporting of corrosive chemicals adds to workplace and transportation safety. According to hazard class ratings, RE300 is a safer alternative to the more acidic iron- and aluminum-based coagulants. Compared to caustic chemicals, which can be highly toxic, rare earth chemistry is dramatically safer. RE300 also offers the opportunity to keep truckloads of hazardous material off the highway.

The advantages of rare earth chemistry are clear. RE300 can improve wastewater plant performance in a broad range of ways; more efficiently managing pH is one of them. It helps keep wastewater pH more in balance and reduces alkalinity consumption. Utilizing RE300 for wastewater treatment reduces the reliance on toxic chemicals, lowers chemical transportation costs, and improves workplace safety. Compared to traditional methods of wastewater treatment, this innovative product is a leap forward. Simply put, rare earth chemistry is a smarter solution.

For more information on how you can improve your wastewater plant’s operation, contact Neo Water Treatment at (303) 843-8065; or email us here.

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