Green management elite: NKNK recognised as Russia’s eco-friendliest enterprise

Nizhnekamskneftekhim received two awards at once in Leader of Environmental Protection 2020 competition

Green management elite: NKNK recognised as Russia’s eco-friendliest enterprise
Photo: Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC

Russia’s leading manufacturer of synthetic rubbers and plastics Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC is a good example of how to run a business and at the same time do not harm the environment. The petrochemical giant annually allocates a huge amount of money for different environmental protection measures. All citizens of Nizhnekamsk whose air quality doesn’t give way to the air of neighbouring cities note the results of this work. The petrochemists’ effort to improve the environmental situation didn’t go unnoticed. In Leader of Environmental Protection in Russia competition, Nizhnekamskneftekhim became the best eco-friendly backbone enterprise.

Eco-leader of business community

The 16th Leader of Environmental Protection in Russia 2020 competition took place in Moscow late last year. It was held during Human Health and Environment 2020 international forum. The petrochemical giant won two awards at once — for Environmental Responsibility and Best Eco-Friendly Backbone Enterprise.

Organisers and the jury of the competition highly praised the introduction of modern technology, rational use of natural resources, upgrade and modernisation of manufacturing equipment, collection of stripping and a transition of gases to the flare system, use of flare discharges as fuel, optimisation of manufacturing processes and other environmental programmes in the enterprise.

“We gradually work to improve the environment. Since 2011, Nizhnekamskneftekhim has been implementing the fourth environmental programme. It became possible to reduce process water consumption by 3,341 million cubic metres (5,3%) and emissions of polluting substances into the atmosphere by 3,319 tonnes (14%) in the fourth programme from 2014 to 2019,” noted head of the enterprise’s Environmental Protection Department Svetlana Yamkova.

Living microorganisms work

The jury of the competition also paid attention to the large-scale reconstruction of biological treatment facilities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC. The company has been an exclusive entity that’s responsible for the maintenance and quality of treatment of household and industrial sewage for more than half a century.

In 1966, the installed capacity of the facility was 56,000 cubic metres a day. After the reconstruction of treatment facilities in 1980, it increased to 213,000 cubic metres a day. Nowadays, the current capacity in the BTF is 154,533 cubic metres a day. Urban sewage accounts for 23%, the other 77% is industrial sewage.

Nowadays, the current capacity in the BTF is 154,533 cubic metres a day. Urban sewage accounts for 23%, the other 77% is industrial sewage

The modernisation of the BTF allowed forgetting unpleasant smells in the atmosphere that had been concerning residents of the city and the district in the last years. The company spent 3bn rubles to upgrade the facilities. The latest technology and equipment were introduced during the reconstruction. A new stormwater sewage tank 15 km long was laid.

New indoor facilities were built in the household sewage mechanical treatment unit. All buildings are equipped with gas purifiers that disintegrate gases and vapour into water and carbon dioxide.

“The new equipment allows catching domestic waste that’s up to 5 mm in size. Unlike the previous scheme, microorganisms remain in sewage, sand is used to remove pollutants, which improves the quality of further biological treatment,” notes head of the Administration of Water Supply, Sewerage and Sewage Treatment of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Sergey Boyarkin.

Emission treatment efficiency is from 87 to 96%

The chemically contaminated sewage mechanical treatment unit also changed dramatically. All facilities that were created are hermetic and equipped with devices to get rid of unpleasant smells.

“To prevent air pollution, gas purifiers were envisaged, they use biofilters, which are considered one of the best in Europe. Emission treatment efficiency is from 87 to 96%,” Sergey Boyarkin says.

During the process of biological treatment, sewage is analytically controlled in all treatment stages. Incoming household sewage is tested for 20 indicators, chemically contaminated sewage gas 32 indicators, treated sewage does 41.

The petrochemists note that after the reconstruction of the BTF, the content of suspended matters decreased by 32%, toluene and ethylbenzene did by 99%, methanol — 94%, sulphides — 36%, phenols — 94%, formaldehyde — 96% compared to 2016.

The treatment efficiency of polluted air in biofilters after stripping in preaerators and primary retention basins complies with design indicators and amount to 87-96%, including 95% for benzene, 96% for styrene, 92% for toluene, 87% for ethylbenzene.

New tank excludes sewage from ending up in soil and water bodies

It became possible to improve environmental indicators thanks to the construction of a new off-site sewage tank at Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC. The management of the company made a decision to lay an additional line of the tank because of the active development of the Nizhnekamsk Industrial Hub and as a consequence of a big load on the current tank (Chemically Contaminated Tank No. 2).

It became possible to improve environmental indicators thanks to the construction of a new off-site sewage tank at Nizhnekamskneftekhim

The new 15-km long off-site industrial and storm water tank increased the throughput and safety of transportation of sewage from the industrial site, operating facilities of the company and those under construction to the biological treatment facilities for their further treatment.

“Environmental indicators and safety improved because the risk that sewage will end up in soil and water bodies and unpleasant smells will be in the atmosphere are excluded. Wells in the tank have biofilters to clean the air,” says vice head of Shop No. 3406 the Administration of Water Supply, Sewerage and Sewage Treatment of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Sergey Nikolayev.

Third stage of BTF reconstruction ahead

But the work on the modernisation of the biological treatment facilities doesn’t stop here. To reduce the amount of polluting substances with treated sewage, the chemists are contemplating a third stage of the reconstruction — in the biological treatment, final treatment and disinfection unit.

“The pilot disk microfiltration unit by Mediana-Filter Research and Production Company has already been tested in Moscow with a fabric filter of Mekan. An open-channel UV system based on highly effective low-pressure Amalgam UV lamps is offered to disinfect treated sewage,” Sergey Boyarkin explains.

Specialists of Atyrau Refinery from the Republic of Kazakhstan and scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences were already interested in the unique sewage treatment methods used in Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s BTF. They arrived in Nizhnekamsk to learn the experience in 2019.

The petrochemists hold Doors Open Days for Nizhnekamsk citizens who want to see everything with their own eyes

The petrochemists hold Doors Open Days for Nizhnekamsk citizens who want to see everything with their own eyes. Workers of the BTF tell them in detail how the industrial and urban sewage transportation system works, what living bacteria are used for.

By the way, the citizens are no less interested in Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s water treatment plant where the latest technology is also used. The WTP-NKNK daily receives around 70,000 cubic metres of water from the Kama River. Here it goes through five treatment stages. Disinfection with ultraviolet rays in units allows eliminating 100% of viruses. Water is treated with highly efficient coagulant and flocculants, passing water through filters full of quartz sand from the Khrustalnaya Mount.

Coal filters improve the smell and taste of the water, prevent the appearance of phenols, oil products and surfactants. Each coal filter costs 13 million rubles. Their own laboratory supervises the quality of water. Tests are done in 77 indicators: from the colour and turbidity to chemical, organoleptic and microbiological indicators.

During such tours, citizens see the way water comes from the Kama to the WTP-NKNK, what treatment stages it goes through before going to the industrial site and Nizhnekamsk, how polluted sewage accumulate in Nizhnekamskneftekhim’s BTF where it undergoes multilevel modern treatment again.

Samples of sewage water in the industrial zone are taken every 7 minutes

The petrochemists not only carefully control the quality of water but also the quality of air. Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC has a licence for hydrometeorology and professionally monitors the environment with the help of certified laboratories.

Five fixed posts, which are a part of the automated control system, supervise the state of the atmosphere. Last year, their own mobile eco-post with the state-of-the-art equipment appeared. The post costs 24 million rubles. The mobile post controls the air quality in 25 places of the district, including the closest settlements and residential districts of the city to the enterprise.

The mobile post controls the air quality in 25 places of the district, including the closest settlements and residential districts of the city to the enterprise

“Also, Nizhnekamskneftekhim ecologists strictly control the quality of sewage on the territory of the industrial zone. Automated analysers were installed in three places at once in 2019. They take samples every 7 minutes and test the sewage for pH and total organic carbon. The software helps to detect the source of contamination quickly and take corrective measures,” says vice chief engineer in Environmental Protection, head of the Environmental Safety Department Oleg Grishakov.

A colossal job has been done by the petrochemists to improve the environmental situation in the area. Tatarstan’s petrochemical flagship Nizhnekamskneftekhim has taken over 480 measures in the last 6 years alone. The company has significantly reduced the amount of harmful emissions into the atmosphere, river water consumption and at the same time increased the production of commodities.

Tatarstan’s petrochemical flagship Nizhnekamskneftekhim has taken over 480 measures in the last 6 years alone

This has become possible thanks to NKNK’s prioritised attention to environmental issues, creation of the enterprise’s environmental protection strategy for many years to come and its gradual implementation. The fourth environmental programme is over. The fifth one will be as big and effective as the previous one, bring new victories in environmental protection and allow establishing itself in Russia’s green management elite.

Affiliate report

By Liliya Yegorova. Photo courtesy of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC
Tatarstan