Chemical Engineering Research & Design, Vol.91, No.2, 369-376, 2013
Reducing pollution from the deliming-bating operation in a tannery. Wastewater reuse by microfiltration membranes
This paper presents experimental results from the implementation of two measures aimed at reducing the nitrogen concentration in a tannery wastewater. Specifically, this research has focused on the wastewater from the deliming/bating operations. The proposed measures are the replacement of ammonium salts by carbon dioxide in the deliming process and the reuse of wastewater and chemicals after membrane filtration of the deliming/bating liquor. The experimental study covered different wastewater pretreatment alternatives and experiments with two membranes (with different separation properties): one in the range of microfiltration (MF) and one in the range of the ultrafiltration (UF). Results of the pretreatment study indicated that neither settling nor protein precipitation were feasible. Only a security filtration prior to membrane filtration was recommended. The tested MF membrane was selected due to the higher flux (around 25 L/(m(2) h)) in comparison with the UF membrane. The MF permeate was successfully reused in the deliming/bating process. The delimed leather quality was excellent according to both visual and organoleptic inspection from process technicians and phenolphthalein test, confirming the technical feasibility of the proposal. Globally, the implementation of the above mentioned two measures resulted in 53% total nitrogen reduction. (c) 2012 The Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.