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Carnegie Mellon researchers create new protocol for wastewater plants

Carnegie Mellon Universtity : 30 November, 2001  (Technical Article)
Carnegie Mellon University researchers have created a test protocol that can be applied to help wastewater treatment plants at steel mills nationwide meet discharge regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Carnegie Mellon University researchers have created a test protocol that can be applied to help wastewater treatment plants at steel mills nationwide meet discharge regulations imposed by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The university's Center for Biotechnology and Environmental Processes applied its new process evaluation techniques at a U. S. Steel's wastewater treatment plant in Gary, Ind. The plant, where more than 30 million gallons of water is processed daily, supports the production operations of U. S. Steel's Gary plant, which produces 7.5 million tons of steel a year.

'As a result of contributions made by the Carnegie Mellon team, U. S. Steel has implemented cost-saving, environmentally friendly methods of managing various discharge levels in the river at the Gary Works,' according to Charles G. Carson III, vice president of environmental affairs at U. S. Steel. The Carnegie Mellon team, led by Edwin G. Minkley, Jr., senior fellow and Center director, and Matthew S. Blough, program manager, made a variety of recommendations including increasing the aeration capacity of the wastewater treatment plant and changing the composition of supplemental pollution control mixtures and the locations where they are added.

The recommendations resulted in a savings of approximately $1 million in capital investments that would have been required to meet wastewater treatment parameters for the finishing operations at the steelmaker's Gary Works, located near Lake Michigan. In addition to the Gary Works project, Carnegie Mellon researchers also are involved in environmental projects at U. S. Steel's Clairton Coke Works and the Irvin Works, both located near Pittsburgh.

In the past 25 years, the steel industry has spent more than $8 billion on environmental projects, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. In a typical year, the amount of energy required to produce a ton of steel decreased by almost 45 percent from 1975 to 1998 as a result of technological improvements and energy conservation measures.

The Center for Biotechnology and Environmental Processes at Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering uses engineering principles combined with microbiology, molecular biology, and chemistry to solve problems faced by various commercial clients, including the steel industry.
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