Automaker turns to zero liquid discharge to save water, money, environment

Located 37 miles north of Mexico City, the highly industrialized city of Toluca is short of water, and the problem is getting worse each year. The region is running out of water. DaimlerChrysler is concerned with the mounting strain on the world's natural resources and continually seeks ways to decrease operational waste, reduce costs and increase process efficiencies. They wanted to find a solution that would minimize the facility's impact on the region's rapidly dropping aquifer...

Dec 11th, 2007

TOLUCA, Mexico -- Located 37 miles north of Mexico City, the highly industrialized city of Toluca is short of water, and the problem is getting worse each year as new industries move in, and the city spreads out across the countryside. The region is running out of water.

DaimlerChrysler is concerned with the mounting strain on the world's natural resources and continually seeks ways to decrease operational waste, reduce costs and increase process efficiencies. They wanted to find a solution that would minimize the facility's impact on the region's rapidly dropping aquifer, yet stay well within the federal government's water quality standards set for manufacturers.

Solution
Siemens provided a state-of-the-art treatment plant with two separate wastewater treatment systems and a water recovery system.

There is a sanitary water system that biologically treats wastewater from the complex's restrooms, showers and other domestic areas using a sequencing batch reactor (SBR).

A manufacturing-process water system that chemically treats wastewater mixed with heavy metals and paint from the assembly plant. It also treats wastewater containing emulsified and soluble oils from the facility's stamping, transmission and engine plants.

The water recovery system consists of several multimedia filters, a two-stage reverse osmosis system, a microfiltration system, and a crystallizer.

Results
By working with one water treatment company for the entire system, DaimlerChrysler saved time and money, getting the facility's system up and running all the faster.

The facility uses approximately 250,000 gallons of water in its daily processing operations, recovering a little more than 95% of its processing water.

The facility now saves approximately $200,168 in chemicals and $380,945 in biological treatment annually.

Using treated water also saves on average $72,734 annually in chemicals for its 18 cooling towers.

Use of the water recovery system decreases the amount of water extracted from the local aquifer; this lowers the facility's impact on the environmental and saves the facility yet another estimated $359,312 per year in water costs.

Recycling the wastewater also decreases environmental pollution and helps conserve the area's resources further minimizing the impact of the automotive facility on the environment.

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