Significance of NKNK treatment facilities noted at Rosprirodnadzor’s session
The petrochemical flagship began developing its fifth environmental programme
Nizhnekamskneftekhim participated in a session of the Volga-Kama interregional office of the state environmental protection watchdog Rosprirodnadzor on 10 February, President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and head of the federal service supervising the use of natural resources Svetlana Radionova were present at the meeting. The petrochemists talked about the measures they took to reduce a negative impact in the region and offered their ideas to solve environmental problems. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report how it became possible to reduce the amount of emissions into the atmosphere in Nizhnekamsk twice, introduce an automatic sewage quality control and what event became a real breakthrough in improving the environment.
It is almost impossible to achieve results without digital solutions
Before the meeting began, Rustam Minnikhanov and Svetlana Radionova got acquainted with an exposition in the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan that exhibited results of work of leading enterprises of the republic including Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC. Director General of NKNK Azat Bikmurzin talked about environmental programmes designed in the enterprise to reduce a negative impact on the environment.
Director of TAIF JSC Ruslan Shigabutdinov gave a speech during the session. In his report, he mentioned environmental security amid a transition to a new rationing system. According to him, the projects of new treatment facilities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim, TAIF-NK were the most significant water protection measures of the environmental programme.
“A huge work at over 3 million rubles was done to reconstruct the biological treatment facilities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim, which are aimed to treat industrial and urban sewage. The work was done in stages, without interruption and a fall in the quality of sewage treatment,” Shigabutdinov said.
Ruslan Shigabutdinov also noted that it was almost impossible to achieve results without digital solutions. For this purpose, the United Sanitary Protection Zone of the Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub was implemented in 2019. It was designed in full accordance with current legislation and was approved by Russia’s environmental protection watchdog.
The investments made in environmental protection by TAIF GC in the last three years have totalled over 19 billion rubles. A lot of tasks have been performed. But, as Director of TAIF Ruslan Shigabutdinov said, it doesn’t mean there is no problem.
“There are a lot of issues and tasks. We raise, analyse them and are obliged to resolve them. All the incidents that arise in the enterprises are subject to detailed analysis to make exhaustive decisions, hold perpetrators accountable and avoid their repetition in the future,” he said.
Foundation for environmentally safe development of the region
Nizhnekamskneftekhim has been notable for its careful attitude to natural resources throughout its activity by annually investing significant sums in environmental protection. The enterprise has already been implementing the fourth environmental programme designed from 2014 to 2020 since 2001. 423 measures have been taken within the programme, the funding totalled about 7,3 billion rubles.
Thanks to the measures taken it has become possible to significantly improve the environmental situation in the region. Emissions into the atmosphere have decreased by 68% since 2011 while commodity output has almost doubled.
Every environmental measure taken at Nizhnekamskneftekhim is designed for modern technologies, rational use of natural resources, emitted gases as fuel, optimisation of process regimes.
A sewage treatment unit was built and put into operation in the isoprene plant, four immersion heaters were replaced in the formaldehyde stabilisation plant, which allowed reducing the pollution load of sewage, the content of formaldehyde in them and maintain the temperature of sewage at 40°С. Replacement of inner cyclone separators in the isoprene plant enabled to decrease the amount of catalyst sludge by 5%. The introduction of a scheme to pump chemically contaminated condensate down in the steam jet ejector installation in the oligomer and glycol plant reduced the annual amount of sewage by 7,500 tonnes. The company’s plants keep replacing pumps with single mechanical seals for double seals. A substitution of heat insulation in pipes for heating water, condensate and steam pipes of the energy supply office will save another 7,826 Gcal a year.
The petrochemists pay special attention to careful river water consumption. The company annually consumes about 65 million cubic metres of fresh water for production. It discharges around 45 million cubic metres of treated sewage into water bodies.
For instance, approximately 567 million rubles were allocated within the fourth environmental programme to reconstruct 11 cooling towers. This enabled to save energy consumption by 15 million kW/y. Fresh river water intake during the fourth programme went down by 2 million 167,000 cubic metres (3,1%).
The buffer ponds No. 1 in the Tunguche River aren’t ignored. They were treated, and sludge was dewatered with a highly effective fabric filter system of a Geotube container in 2019. There have been removed and dewatered 67,400 tonnes of sediment in the last three years. The costs have amounted to 106,5 million rubles.
The concentration of weighed substances, sulfates, oil products, ammonium ion, copper, zinc, aluminium and iron has reduced in the sewage discharged after buffer ponds in the Tunguche River.
Water and air quality under petrochemists’ control
12 years ago Nizhnekamskneftekhim introduced an automatic air control system that allows monitoring the amount of harmful substances on the perimeter of the enterprise, in the sanitary and protection zone and on the territory of biological treatment facilities around the clock. In 2019, Nizhnekamskneftekhim purchased a state-of-the-art mobile environmental station for faster and better air control.
A special car equipped with necessary equipment — air pollution sensor, chromatographs, dust sensors, a meteorological set and automatic information collection and processing system — takes air samples in 19 indicators at any point of the city and district. All results of tests are sent from the control post and mobile laboratory to the environmental monitoring system online. The united service of dispatchers at Nizhnekamskneftekhim is a real analytic centre of the enterprise with up-to-date means of communication.
The current situation regarding emissions into the atmosphere and sewage is demonstrated on a huge screen (a video wall) in real time. In case of anomalies, a signal of alarm pops up on the monitor, and all necessary measures are taken immediately to eliminate violations.
Nizhnekamskneftekhim introduced an automatic sewage control system last year. To prevent aggressive substances from ending up in the chemically contaminated tank, total organic hydrocarbon and pH sensors were installed in three wells of the chemically contaminated tank in autumn. The devices substituting laboratory technicians take sewage samples every 8 minutes. The programme helps detect the source of pollution and quickly take corrective measures.
Nizhnekamskneftekhim demonstrated its care about the environment in every possible way. For instance, reuse of containers transporting butadiene rubber allowed preventing the generation of plastic waste by 200 tonnes a year. The use of reusable wooden pallets to transport black-loaded concentrate saved a whole grove from being cut down. Also, Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s employees are active participants in different environmental campaigns, including tree planting campaigns. In November 2018, NKNK specialists released almost 9,000 young common carps.
Key environmental event in 2019 in petrochemists’ capital
NKNK made a real breakthrough last year in improving the environment. The enterprise completed the second stage of reconstruction of biological treatment facilities (BTF). The reconstruction of the BTF became the most significant environment protection measure of the fourth environmental programme.
The modernisation of the BTF began in 2016. The construction works of the first stage of reconstruction of domestic sewage mechanical treatment unit ended in 2016 too. The domestic sewage reception room, bar screen building, modern aerated sand traps, a faucet for domestic and chemical sewage, a pump house, electrical cable scaffolding were built again, special units designed to dispose of steam and gas mixtures, sand traps and faucets were assembled. This allowed dramatically improving sewage treatment and catching even the smallest residues of 5 mm but conserving their nature.
The second stage of reconstruction of the BTF, which began in 2017, ended in August 2019. The works of the second reconstruction stage included a modernisation of the chemically contaminated sewage mechanical treatment unit. Buildings and facilities of the treatment unit were rebuilt: the reception room, pool for polymer crumb collection with a gas outlet, sand traps, a unit for removing volatile hydrocarbons and gas treatment unit. The latest gas treatment facilities were installed too. Special microorganisms inhabiting block boxes of filters operate around the clock eliminating unpleasant smells.
To prevent air pollution, there were designed gas treatment units with a biological effect to disinfect the gas phase of pre-aerators and retention basins, the efficiency of gas emission treatment reaches 95%.
The modernisation of biological treatment facilities still goes on. The mazut boiler is now being replaced for a gas one. Its launch will allow reducing emissions to the atmosphere by 75% compared to the old boiler. Costs on fuel consumption and delivery to service the boiler will also go down by 44%. The boil can operate autonomously during a shutdown of gas supply.
Construction and assembly works in a new external tank 14 km 789 m long in total ended for failure-free transportation of chemically contaminated sewage from the industrial site to the BTF, unloading the current tank.
The total cost of the BTF’s reconstruction (1st, 2nd stages, tank construction) totalled over 3 billion rubles. The upgraded treatment facilities have proved their effectiveness. Today residents of the city and district breathe clean air. There has been a significant fall in such indicators as chemical oxygen absorption — by 18%, biological oxygen absorption — by 40%, phosphates — by 22%, dry residue — 20%, manganese — 40%, ammonium ion, zinc, chrome, aluminium — by over 60% in the treated sewage. This has been the result of the works done.
This year Nizhnekamskneftekhim has begun elaborating the next, fifth environmental programme. The enterprise’s employees also plan to start a joint work with scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences to solve environmental problems in the region as effective as possible.