95% efficiency: unique methods of urban and chemical wastewater treatment presented on Ecologist's Day

Doors Open Day has been held at the modernised biological treatment facilities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim

95% efficiency: unique methods of urban and chemical wastewater treatment presented on Ecologist's Day
Photo: Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC

World Environment Day (WED) is particularly important for Nizhnekamsk, the petrochemical capital of Tatarstan. The largest industrial enterprises of the republic are located not far from the city. Hundreds of environmental programmes have already been developed and implemented to improve the quality of air, water and land resources. One of the most large-scale and significant projects implemented recently is the reconstruction of the biological treatment facilities (BTF) of Nizhnekamskneftekhim worth 3 billion rubles. A huge amount of work has been done with these funds. On Ecologist's Day, June 5, the BTFs were visited by members of the City Council of Veterans of the Nizhnekamsk Municipal District, school teachers and youth activists of Nizhnekamskneftekhim. The guests witnessed at first hand the high efficiency of wastewater treatment.

BTFs on average cleans 160-170 thousand cubic metres of wastewater a day

Head of the Department of Water Supply, Sewerage and Wastewater Treatment (UVK and OSV) of Nizhnekamskneftekhim Sergey Boyarkin met the guests at the biological treatment facilities.He explained that before the tour excursion, one is briefed on safety measured and body temperature is measured. The delegation fulfilled the necessary requirements and visited the territory of the BTFs.

“Biological treatment facilities were commissioned in 1966. The area is more than 70 hectares. There have been two stages of reconstruction in the history of the building. The first was in the 1980s. The capacity of the BTF was 56,000 cubic metres, and after the first reconstruction it increased to 213,000 cubic metres. Today, the BTFs on average cleans 160-170 thousand cubic metres of wastewater a day. We have a significant margin," said Sergey Boyarkin.

Head of the Department of Water Supply, Sewerage and Wastewater Treatment (UVK and OSV) of Nizhnekamskneftekhim Sergey Boyarkin met the guests at the biological treatment facilities

The next large-scale reconstruction of the BTF began in 2016. The repair and construction works lasted three years. As a result of the modernization, the throughput and reliability of wastewater transportation to the treatment facilities increased, harmful emissions were excluded from the atmosphere, and the ecology and quality of life of Nizhnekamsk residents improved in general.

“After the reconstruction of the BTFs, the mechanical sewage treatment unit became unique. There are only a few such treatment technologies in the world. A special feature is in the treatment of chemical effluents, where the biological treatment of blowouts of harmful volatile gas is applied. Microorganisms absorb volatile gases, and absolutely clean air is released into the atmosphere. The treatment efficiency is 95%," Mikhail Romanov, the head of the 3406 BTF workshop, said during the tour.

The unique bio-filtration method

First of all, the participants of the tour went to the chemical laboratory of the BTF, where laboratory technicians monitor the quality of incoming wastewater and the stages of its treatment around the clock. Every day, ecologists conduct more than 60 analyses and take more than 20 samples of activated sludge, air, water and soil.

“We monitor all indicators. The laboratory has recently been completely renovated, new laboratory furniture and air conditioners have been purchased to maintain the microclimate. We have introduced new research methods and reduced the time of analysis," said Irina Kurudimova, the leading laboratory engineer of the department of industrial and environmental control.

First of all, the participants of the tour went to the chemical laboratory of the BTF, where laboratory technicians monitor the quality of incoming wastewater and the stages of its treatment around the clock

The laboratory staff pays special attention to biofiltration, controlling the vapours at the input and output of biofilters.

“One of the most important analyses is the microscopy of activated sludge. It contains useful bacteria. They reproduce by using harmful pollutants as food. The more such bacteria, the better the water treatment. We can control their growth by improving the degree of purification," the ecologist stressed.

Then the guests went to the chemical node of domestic effluents. It was upgraded in 2016. Here they built a grating building with a receiving chamber, aerated sand traps, a mixer for household and chemical-contaminated sewage, a pumping station for emptying mixers, electric cable trestles, and also installed Yatagans — special installations for neutralisation of vapor-gas mixtures.

Sergey Boyarkin, the head of UVC and OSV, noted that the complex is equipped with modern equipment and is hermetic — smelling emissions are neutralised.

“We can catch suspended substances and waste from drains with a minimum size of 5 mm, while preserving household organic matter as much as possible, which has a positive effect on the concentration of silt in aeration tanks and improves the quality of biological treatment," said Boyarkin.

Then the guests went to the chemical node of domestic effluents. It was upgraded in 2016.

Representatives of the Nizhnekamsk Municipal District's Veterans' Council asked where industrial wastewater is being treated. According to Sergey Boyarkin, the mechanical treatment unit has also undergone major changes. Here they built a receiving chamber, a pool for collecting polymer crumbs with a gas outlet, sand traps, a block for removing volatile hydrocarbons and a gas treatment unit. All objects are completely sealed.

Another feature is the latest gas treatment plants — biofilters. They are block boxes that are populated with special types of bacteria. These microorganisms neutralise unpleasant smells. This technology is one of the best in Europe.

One of the unique methods of cleaning polluted wastewater — biofiltration — the guests saw with their own eyes. The teachers were impressed by how quickly and effectively useful bacteria cope with their task. In just a few minutes, the muddy water that was scooped up in the tank turned into crystal clear.

“Does the water smell of chemical impurities?" one of the teachers asked.

“You smell it," advised Sergey Boyarkin.

“There are no smells, the water is really clean!” said the guests.

3 billion for BTF's reconstruction

The city public was told that Nizhnekamskneftekhim invested 3 billion rubles in the large-scale modernisation of the BTF. Currently, the construction of a new chemical discharge collector is being completed.

Thanks to the new line, the existing collector can be stopped for repairs and, at the same time, continue to transport sewage to the BTF. The 15-kilometre line was stretched at a considerable distance from localities.

“The collector has been put into operation. Currently, work is underway to improve the territory. Within a month and a half, this work is to be fully completed," said the head of the shop 3406 BTF Mikhail Romanov.

The tour around the updated biological facilities lasted more than an hour. After it, the guests shared their impressions with the correspondent of Realnoe Vremya.

“Pensioners are the most active part of the population. They are concerned about the environmental situation in the city. If something goes wrong, they call and ask. Six people came from the Veterans' Council. I must say that we are impressed. We hope that after such a good reconstruction, our environmental situation will also improve. A lot of money has been invested. There is order, well-groomed territory, and this indicates the culture of production. We hope that our leading, city-forming enterprise will continue to set such a goal to minimise emissions. We are very happy," said Grigory Kitanov, the chairman of the Veterans' Council.

The city public was told that Nizhnekamskneftekhim invested 3 billion rubles in the large-scale modernisation of the BTF

“This is my first time on the BTF. The scale and level of the treatment of household and chemical effluents is really impressive. The population of our city often has questions related to the environment, but today we have seen how much has been done by the leadership of Nizhnekamskneftekhim. New methods of treatment have been applied, including air and sewage treatment, and we are confident that it is being carried out at a high level," said Andrey Blikin, the director of the school No. 10, which is located in the 29th district. There have been no unpleasant odors at all recently.

“This confirms the effect that we have received after the large-scale reconstruction of the BTF," summed up the director of the school.

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By Lilia Yegorova. Photo courtesy of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC
Tatarstan