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Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, 11(2), 19-36 (2006)

(Review Paper)


Atomic Energy Research Institute, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology,
P.O Box 6086, Riyadh-11442, Saudi Arabia. E-mail address: sabirsyed2k@yahoo.com

(Received March 2006 and accepted November 2006)

‫ﻳﻤﻜﻦ ﻟﻠﻤﺨﻠﻔﺎت اﻟﺴﺎﺋﻠﺔ واﻟﺼﻠﺒﺔ أن ﺗﻠﻮث ﻣﻴﺎﻩ اﻟﺸﺮب واﻟﺰراﻋﺔ واﻟﻤﻴﺎﻩ اﻟﻤﺴﺘﺨﺪﻣﺔ ﻓﻲ أﻏﺮاض اﻟﺘﺮﻓﻴﺔ وذﻟﻚ ﻓﻲ‬
‫ وﻗﺪ أدى ﻃﺮح‬.‫ وﻗﺪ ﻋﺮﻓﺖ إدارة اﻟﻤﺨﻠﻔﺎت وﻃﺒﻘﺖ ﺧﻼل اﻷرﺑﻌﺔ ﺁﻻف ﺳﻨﺔ اﻟﻤﺎﺿﻴﺔ‬.‫اﻟﻤﻨﺎﻃﻖ اﻟﺮﻳﻔﻴﺔ واﻟﺤﻀﺮﻳﺔ‬
‫ ﺗﻘﺪم هﺬﻩ اﻟﻮرﻗﺔ ﻣﺮاﺟﻌﺔ ﻟﻠﻌﻤﻠﻴﺎت‬.‫اﻟﻤﺨﻠﻔﺎت ﻓﻲ اﻟﻤﺤﻴﻂ اﻟﺤﻴﻮي إﻟﻰ اﻻﺗﺠﺎﻩ إﻟﻰ اﻹدارة اﻟﻤﺘﻜﺎﻣﻠﺔ ﻟﻠﻤﺨﻠﻔﺎت‬
‫ آﻤﺎ ﺗﻘﺪم‬.‫اﻟﻤﺘﻌﻠﻘﺔ ﺑﺎﻟﻤﺨﻠﻔﺎت اﻟﺴﺎﺋﻠﺔ واﻟﺼﻠﺒﺔ وﺗﻠﺨﺺ اﻟﻮﺿﻊ اﻟﺤﺎﻟﻲ ﻟﻠﻤﺮاﻗﺒﺔ اﻟﺒﻴﺌﺔ واﻟﻨﺘﺎﺋﺞ اﻟﻬﺎﻣﺔ اﻟﻤﺘﻌﻠﻘﺔ ﺑﻬﺎ‬
‫اﻟﻮرﻗﺔ ﻣﺸﺎآﻞ اﻟﻤﺨﻠﻔﺎت ﻓﻲ اﻟﻤﺎﺿﻲ واﻟﺤﺎﺿﺮ واﻟﺒﻴﺌﺔ اﻟﺤﻴﻮﻳﺔ وآﺬﻟﻚ ﺗﺘﻌﺮض ﻟﻸﻣﻮر اﻟﻌﺎﻣﺔ اﻟﻤﺘﻌﻠﻘﺔ ﺑﺘﺪوﻳﺮ‬
.‫اﻟﻤﺨﻠﻔﺎت واﺳﺘﻌﺎدة اﻟﻤﻮاد‬
Solid and liquid wastes generated from both animal and domestic sources can significantly impair
drinking, irrigation, recreational water and other water sources in rural and urban areas. Waste as
a management issue has been evident for over four millennia. Disposal of waste to the biosphere
has given way to thinking about, and trying to implement, an integrated waste management
approach. This paper reviews the history of solid and liquid waste operations and summarizes the
current environmental monitoring program and its major findings. Various problems of wastes in
past and present, environmental ecology, general aspect of recycling and materials recovery are
Keywords: Waste management, Waste problem, Environmental ecology, Materials recovery


Environmental degradation-with accompanying PRESENT
threats to health and disruption of ecosystem is not a Man has always generated waste materials which are
new phenomenon. Nevertheless, with the advent of either bye-product of his activities, for which he
industrial revolution and large scale adoption of could not find any use, or products which have
technology, man now diverts vast amount of energy reached the end of useful life. Although this was
and materials flowing through the natural ecosystems going on throughout the ages, it was not a problem
to his own use. until recent times because natures own waste
Industries constitute a formidable source of treatment processes like dispersion, dilution and
pollution with large quantities of waste products in degradation, which took care of these problems.
the form of solids, liquids, gases, heat, noise etc. From the smoke of the caveman's fire till the
Which are discharged into the environment? Many of 'smog' (the word 'smog' is coined in the 20th century)
these pollution problems are inherent in the of the last century, the problem, went unnoticed.
technology and a considerable amount of research Wastes dumped into the rivers were washed away
and developmental efforts are needed to overcome quickly and diluted to the point where no effect on
these drawbacks [1-4]. water purity could have been observed. Wastes left
Industrial research should not be limited only to on land, decayed by spontaneous chemical and
the development of materials, methodologies and degradation process thereby: the balance of nature
their management but it should also include was maintained.
investigation on the effective methods of waste The situation today is not so simple. The problem
disposal, more so, recycling of waste for productive is due to both quantitative and qualitative nature of
purposes. The reasoning is quite simple – recycling the wastes we are producing. The natural degradation
will not only be cost effective, but, also will reduce to processes are slow and can take care of only a limited
a considerable extent contamination to our amounts and specific kinds of wastes. The obnoxious
environment-pollution of air, water and land, three fumes produced today by the so called civilized
modern aspects with which every one is most society are too much for the atmosphere to get
concern. dispersed, especially in urban environment. The
rivers are not able to dilute and degrade sufficiently
the vast amount of industrial effluents dumped every

S. Syed

day into them. And one would have to wait a long proportions that not only our natural environment is
time for heaps of junk metallic material dumped to affected but its vital processes, including the very
blend in with the earth's crust again as ores. This will existence of life on this earth surface is endangered.
not happen because we are dumping wastes faster This is the reason we refer these emissions as
than nature can degrade and absorb them. Further, pollution, and we are most concerned about their
many of the modern waste materials like plastics and effects on nature, it we cannot completely eliminate
detergents are non biodegradable. All these are going pollution, it is our concern to see how can we at least
to cause serious threat to our ecosystem. reduce it, and how can we support nature in
absorbing the part that is unavoidable?.
3. ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY Environmental management must draw upon
many disciplines and professions. For the
Environment is the sum total of everything that consideration of natural balance of our ecosystem it
directly influences the animal's chances of survival or requires a good knowledge of ecology, particularly of
reproduction. The intimately close and immediate systems ecology where the properties of the entire
surroundings of the organism are known as micro- ecosystem are in focus. The knowledge of zoology
environment. The sum total of the physical and biotic and botany including that of general microbiology are
condition existing external to the organism and its of essential prerequisites.
micro environment is called macro-environment. As the emission from human society consists,
Ecology by itself is a multi discipline in nature which besides energy, of various complex chemical
includes subjects like physical and chemical sciences, compounds, chemistry becomes vital for a complete
engineering, law, medicine, demography, energy understanding of environmental management. This
conversion, automation, chemical technology and has given rise to a separate sub discipline called
environmental analysis. It is through the blending of Environmental Chemistry. In this context, we are
chemical technology and environmental analysis that particularly more concerned in what may be called, to
a new area called environmental analytical chemistry use a self explanatory term, biogeochemical
has arisen as a core subject area for the ecologist. reactions. In addition, various physical processes, the
Ecology is the science of interactions among transport of energy and pollutants in the ecosystem
individuals, populations, and communities and it also also demand the application of physics in our study.
involves the interrelations between living (biotic) The pollution problems have originated from the
components with their non-living (abiotic) human societies, and if this dominant species, Homo
counterparts or environment. Thus, ecology may be sapiens, were to disappear from the earth, then all
defined as "A multi disciplinary science which deals pollution problems would also disappear. It is our
with organism and its place to live and which focuses prime necessity to see that human societies are
on ecosystem". In the present context the term maintained on this earth and, to a reasonable extent,
organism refers to an individual unit constituted to keep them an integrated part of nature. These
carry on the activities of life. societies must therefore be properly understood and
must be taken into account in the context of any
4. ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT: A environmental management strategies. This implies
MULTIDISCIPLINARY CHALLENGE that socio-economic factors and legislation will also
Environmental management is the technology that have to be included in environmental management.
aims at eliminating or reducing the harmful effects of When we turn to find solutions to environmental
the emissions generated by human activities. problems, we may come across still further
Environmental management has three ‘legs' on which disciplines which have to be drawn up and include.
to stand. Firstly, it must take into consideration the 4.1 Principles of Ecology and Environmental
environment – that is, the ecosystem – and attempt to Science
provide management which will maintain a
reasonably, close to the natural balance for this The principles underlying ecology and environmental
system; secondly, it most reflect on the best attainable science have been developed during the twentieth
long term conditions for human society, including its century, particularly in the last two decades and the
socio-economic conditions; and finally, it must time is now ripe for the application of these
determine which solutions are technically and principles. Furthermore, tools such as ecological
economically feasible and which are not. modeling have also been developed and with the
The problems of environmental management are advent of high speed computers, such modeling have
related to the emissions of energy and mass from been refined and may offer the possibility of
human systems. Such emissions have been taking quantifying even complex ecosystems, and showing
place ever since the time of the earliest human how they operate as a whole.
settlements. Now, however, they have reached such

20 Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006

Solid and Liquid Waste Management

4.2 Environmental Engineering Industries / Society

The most important tasks of environmental

engineering are how to quantity emissions and their
effects, and how to select appropriate environmental (1) Emissions (2) Environmental Legislation

technology to overcome the problems caused thereby. (4) (6)

Environmental engineering must not be confounded
with sanitary engineering, which exists as an
autonomous technical discipline for the last 60 years (5) Impact (3) Environmental Technology
or so. Sanitary engineering mainly focuses on sewage
systems, water supplies and sewage treatment. On the
other hand, environmental engineering encompasses Ecosystems (7)(7)
I. E
such areas as the treatment of solid wastes and
various other associated air pollution problems. (8) Environmental Modelling

Moreover, it also considers sewage water and water (4)+(6) Environmental Managment
supplies, along with industrial waste water, but on the
other hand the construction and maintenance of Figure 1. Environmental management as related to other fields.
sewage systems are not under the purview of
environmental engineering. Emissions and impact are closely related to each
other (9), and environmental management attempts to
4.3 Eco-Technology determine the permissible limit of emission to ensure
Eco-technology has emerged as a new discipline an acceptable impact (10).
during the 1980s. It had been indeed applied even To avoid or control emissions completely ('Zero
earlier, but only now, it has become acknowledged discharge') is not feasible. However, by the judicious
and accepted as a separate discipline by its own right, amalgamation of environmental technology, eco-
with a full-fledged scientific explanation for its technology and environmental legislation, we may
fundamental concepts and principles. Eco-technology build up the kind of environmental management that
is defined as the design of human society within its will be able to maintain our environment in a very
natural environment, for the benefit of both. As is the near to ecological balance.
case with the older technological disciplines; Obviously, this type of environmental
ecological engineering and eco-technology have been management will become rather complicated. But it
supplied with a basis within the Theory of science. should not come as a surprise that this complexity
concerning a complex system requires a solution,
4.4 Environmental Technology which will be more complex in nature.
Environmental technology is concerned with Good environmental management system must
technical approach for overcoming or reducing the find and apply a wide spectrum of solutions
various harmful effects of emissions. Although it is simultaneously. One of the reasons for this is that all
mainly based on chemical engineering, but still also ecosystems are different and perform differently, and
requires as do almost all technological disciplines – this is true even for different ecosystems representing
assistance from process regulation, mechanical and the same types of lakes, forests, savannahs, etc.
electrical engineering and, of late from computer In addition, wide spectrums of environmental
engineering also. While striving towards pollution technologies are needed. There is no one universal
abatement during the 'Seventies and 'Eighties it has technology for all problems: each pollution situation
clearly shown that environmental technology and is different from the other. The chemical composition
legislation, even when they are at their best alone of the emission is different, the environmental
cannot by themselves solve the pollution problems. It condition is different, the associated emission are
is necessary to integrate what is termed eco- different, therefore we need specific individual
technology in the management strategy. solutions which will most often be different from
each other too, and will differ from case to case.
4.5 Relation to Other Fields The fortunate thing is that environmental
The relation between environmental management and technology and eco-technology have by now reached
the various areas (Fig.1)[5]. Environmental legislation such a high standard that we do have a wide spectrum
(2) may primarily assist environmental technology of choices at our disposal. It is a challenge to find a
(3) to regulate emissions (1), or with eco-technology good environmental management solution to a
to reduce the impact (5). Combinations results from complex environmental problem. But as resources
environmental management, (4) and (6). Impact is available to solve environmental problem are usually
assessed by means of environmental impact limited, it is of prime necessity to examine the
assessment (EIA) and/or modeling, see (7) and (8) in complexity of the problem carefully and consider
Fig. 1. various solutions available at our disposal before a
final management decision is taken. In addition, this

Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006 21

S. Syed

practice may ensure economy is considering the Analysis

solution of other problems.
As mentioned earlier by its very nature a 'zero
discharge' situation is unrealistic. There being more
than five billion people inhabiting this earth, we Environmental
cannot think of an environment without being Management
affected. But we have to differentiate between Evaluation Control
damaging the ecological balance and only influencing
it slightly.
It is important in this context to emphasize that
certain ecosystems are crucial and must at all costs be
maintained totally undisturbed, or almost in un-
disturbed condition, whereas there are certain other Figure 2. Dynamics of three components of environmental
ecosystems which may be influenced by human management.
activity to a greater extent.
Such a distinction between the ecosystems leads
to a management approach which requires proper 4.6 The Dimensions
planning. A planning of all human activities under Environmental management has three dimensions:
consideration, thereby keeping their effect on our first, it takes into consideration the environment itself
environment under control, is a key to a more that is, the ecosystem and attempts to provide
comprehensive solution of the environmental crises management to maintain a reasonable, close to the
that we are facing towards the end of the 20th century. natural balance for this system, second, it reflects on
Unfortunately, there are numerous examples of poor the best attainable long-term conditions for human
planning of management which have damaged the society, including its socio-economic conditions; and
environment severely, even without any profit being third, it determines the solutions which are
realized by anybody. And there are several examples technically and economically feasible. In brief,
of poor environmental planning that have led to a Environmental management is the art and science of
short term profit but a long term economic disaster. preparing, organizing and directing human efforts to
As this review has tried to explain, environmental analyze, evaluate and control the factors responsible
management is a multifaceted problem which must for environmental degradation and utilize the
play on many strings: manmade and naturally occurring materials for the
• Planning of all human activities with respect to benefit of mankind with least disruption to the
their effects on the environment. ecosystem. A model is shown in Fig. 2 [6]. The
• Formulation of an unambiguous and compre- consideration of the natural balance of ecosystem
hendsive environmental legislation, and equally requires a good knowledge of ecology.
important are the measures for the enforcement
of this legislation.
• Use of a wide spectrum of already existing
environmental technologies and ecotechnologies, Wastes are numerous in kind and defy easy
and the combination thereof. definition. It is difficult to evolve a universal
• Development of 'new and alternative techno- classification for 'waste'. However, roughly there are
logies; which most often implies technologies three basic classification methods, which are
with little or no pollution involved. Ecological combined to form a waste classification system [7].
agricultural and integrated agriculture are They are:
examples of such technologies. • Physical classification,
• Recycling of raw materials and waste materials • Chemical classification and
to the greatest possible extent. Recycling is a • Thermal classification.
very useful method of solving pollution
The last one is directly related to thermal
problems: what is recycled is not emitted, and at
processing requirements and focuses on the
the same time resources are saved.
information needed to select, design, and operate a
• Knowledge about the interdependency between
thermal processing system.
society and the ecosystem, and about how all
parts of the system interfere with each other is 5.1 Physical Classification
important because a solution to one problem may
lead to greater problems somewhere else in our This classification identifies the physical state of
society or in the environment. This adds to the waste. It is needed for the selection and design of
difficulty of environmental management and waste handling systems and the choice of processing
prompts the manager to apply a macroscopic equipment. Based on physical characteristics, typical
view. waste materials are classified as: gaseous, liquid,
slurry, sludge, solid and containerized waste. In the

22 Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006

Solid and Liquid Waste Management

present context, solid and liquid wastes will be classification, the waste materials are broadly
discussed in the succeeding section. Nevertheless the classified as clean waste and hazardous waste.
classification of liquid waste demands separate
5.2.1 Clean Waste
treatment which will be dealt in detail in sections 10
to 11.3. This group covers hydrocarbons which contain only
carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. The oxidation
5.1.1 Solid Waste
products are considered clean and can be discharged
Solid wastes are those which arise from human and into the environment.
animal activities that are normally solid and are
5.2.2 Hazardous Waste
usually discarded as useless or unwanted. The term as
used in this context is all inclusive, and it The problem with hazardous wastes is that there is
encompasses the heterogeneous mass of throwaways still no internationally accepted definition of a
from the urban community as well as the more hazardous waste. However, technical criteria such as
homogeneous accumulations of agricultural, toxicity, flammability, corrosivity, ignitability and
industrial and mineral wastes [8]. reactivity have been proposed and used to some
In discussing solid waste, generally and tradition- extent to identify and designate the waste as
ally certain categories of wastes are well recognized hazardous.
as they are very common. For example, solid wastes Though the hazardous wastes account for only a
include domestic, commercial, industrial, (due to small proportion of all wastes generated by the
construction and demolition) agricultural, institution- industries, their impact can be disastrous as they not
al and miscellaneous. Many times domestic and only affect the physical environment but also the
commercial wastes cannot be differentiated and are biotic components.
considered together as urban wastes. Included in this The United States alone generates about 60
category are the garbage materials which result from million tones of hazardous waste every year, and the
food preparation both in the homes and restaurants, European Economic Community about half of that
and also the rubbish which is produced in residences quantity. Roughly 10 to 20 per cent of the total waste
and commercial establishments. Generally, the produced can be considered as potentially hazardous.
garbage consists of rapidly decomposable materials In general, there are industries like metallurgical,
while the rubbish is either slowly decomposable or iron and steel, fertilizers, thermal power production,
non-degradable. etc. generating large quantities of solid and liquid
A second major category of waste is industrial, wastes containing low concentration that is at the
the refuse produced by industrial processes. trace level of hazardous constituents. On the other
Generally the character of the refuse produced in any hand, there is another group of industries such as
manufacturing or processing operation will depend chlor-alkali, pesticides, dyestuffs, electroplating,
very much on the type, amount, or the character of photographic chemicals, fine chemicals, etc. which
wastes produced by the industry. Obviously, the generate comparatively small quantity of wastes, but
wastes produced by steel manufacturers will differ they are highly toxic and hazardous.
considerably from those produced in the chemical Approximately one million tonne of solid waste is
industry. Usually the wastes produced by any food generated annually by the 131 industrial units
processing operation, the paper and plastics industries surveyed. Nearly 22% of wastes from these industries
are almost similar to the paper and plastic packaging are hazardous. It has been estimated that about 94%
materials found in domestic rubbish. On the other of these wastes are generated by process oriented
hand, the metal processing industry will obviously (generating during the processing of raw materials to
generate metallic wastes, but in addition will also get the finished products) industries and 6% of it is
produce large quantities of slags, processing pollution control oriented (generated from the
chemicals, and other residues, many of which are treatment of gaseous and liquid effluents) industries.
used in air pollution control and water pollution Maximum amount of hazardous waste is
control activities. The wastes produced by chemical generates by chlor-alkali, dyes and pigment, organic
industries or other more specialized industries will in chemicals, pesticide and plating industrial sectors.
general depend upon the specific nature of the end The inorganic chemical sector on the other hand,
product of the manufacturing process. generated low volume-high toxic wastes. The
synthetic drug manufacturing units in drugs and
5.2 Chemical Classification
pharma sector generate maximum quantity of
It is the key to selection of proper process design hazardous wastes.
parameters, selection of materials of construction, Thus, hazardous waste may be further classified
choice of concentration equipment, design of into waste generating gaseous contaminants, waste
incinerator hardware, the possibility of bye-product containing alkali and alkaline earth metals and waste
recovery, and the requirement of fuel gas and containing heavy metals.
discharge water treatment systems. Based on this

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S. Syed

Raw materials Residual Debris

5.3 Thermal Classification
This is used in the determination of energy require- Manufacturing Residual waste material
ments for processing and in the selection of system
configuration. Based on the thermal properties, Processing and recovery Secondary Manufacturing
typical waste materials are classified as follows:
• Combustible wastes: This group includes Consumer
wastes which will sustain oxidation reaction
without additional energy requirements. Final disposal
• Noncombustible wastes: This group represents
low-Btu value wastes, which will not sustain Waste materials
oxidation reaction without additional energy
supply. These wastes may be further classified Raw material product and recovered materials

into following two categories.

ƒ noncombustible wastes with no low The Figure 3. Materials flow and the generation of solid wastes in a
volatiles (the organics in the wastes contain no low technological society.
volatiles which, when heated, will evaporate) and
ƒ noncombustible waste with low volatiles (the It is apparent from Fig. 3 that one of the best
organics in the waste are heat sensitive and readily ways to reduce the amount of solid wastes that must
vaporized when heated). be disposed of is to limit the consumption of raw
materials and to increase the rate of recovery and
Table 1. Basic data on waste
reuse of waste materials. Although, the concept is
Parameter Species simple, effecting this change in a modem
Ultimate analysis C, H, O, N, H2O, S and ash technological society has proved extremely difficult.
Metals Na, K, Ca, Mg, Cu, Au, Ag, Ni, Pb, Sn, Cd,
Hg, V, Bi, etc.,
Others P, B, etc
Heating value Btu/lb It is obvious from the previous sections that
Solids Size, form and quantity significant savings in costs for solid and liquid waste
Liquids Viscosity, specific gravity management can be achieved if reductions in
Gases Density collection requirements are made. Additionally,
Organic composition % compound
Special data Corrosiveness, reactivity, flammability, compositional analyses have shown that significant
decomposition, polymerization amounts of highly valuable materials such as gold,
Disposable rate Peak, average, normal, minimum silver and other metals from the solid and liquid
Water content % water waste stream could be recovered. Therefore, the
separation from the stream and reuse of such
These two categories provide important materials would also yield significant salvage and
information for the designing of evaporation and income by resale. Thus "recycling" seems to be a one
steam stripping systems. They are also important word solution to a large part of the current solid and
factors in the selection of pre-concentration liquid waste problem.
equipment of wastes. For the successful application In discussing the reuse and recycling of materials
of thermal processing systems accurate and reliable which now appear in the solid and liquid waste
information about the composition and characteristics stream several facts are to be considered:
of any waste to be processed is essential. Such data • The predominant material in recyclable solid and
are necessary to understand the process and for the liquid waste is paper.
selection of process equipment. The basic data • Of the materials in the solid and liquid waste
needed about waste are presented in Table 1. stream a large portion of the materials is
6. MATERIALS FLOW AND WASTE • Vast potential exists for enhancing the current
GENERATION resource recovery rate.
• The amount of solid and liquid waste produced
An indication on how and where solid wastes are
has increased phenomenally during the 1980s
generated in our technological society is shown in the
and 1990s and will continue to show this trend.
simplified materials flow diagram presented in Fig. 3.
• There is no simple solution or simple way to
Solid wastes (debris) are generated even at the start
recycle and reuse solid and liquid waste
of the process, beginning with the mining of raw
material. The debris left from strip mining operations,
for example, is well known. Thereafter, solid wastes 8. POTENTIAL FOR RECYCLING
are generated at every step in the process where raw
materials are converted to finished produces for Undoubtedly recycling seems to be the most
consumption. constructive approach at present to alleviate the solid

24 Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006

Solid and Liquid Waste Management

waste problem. Solid waste will always be produced Waste generation

as long as man inhabits this planet, however, it can be
qualitatively controlled so that recycling would be
much feasible. Recycling and reuse are not magic Storage

actions to get rid of the problem. Recycling must be

an economical venture which must be a part of the Collection
total system of the industry. In other words, recycling
Transfer and transport Processing and recovery
is not merely collecting materials for reuse, but also
finding a market for the outlet of the recycled Disposal

Figure 4. Simplified diagram showing the interrelationships of the
9. SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT functional elements in a solid waste management
Solid waste management is a separate discipline
dealing with the control of generation, storage,
collection, transfer and transport, processing, and 9.2 Functional Elements
disposal of solid wastes in a manner that is in The problems associated with the management of
accordance with the best principles of public health, solid wastes in today's society are complex because
economics, engineering, conservation, aesthetics, and of the magnitude and diverse nature of the wastes
other environmental considerations, and that also is coupled with the development of sprawling urban
responsive to public attitudes. In its scope, solid areas, the funding limitations for public services in
waste management includes all administrative, many large cities, the impact of technology, and the
financial, legal, planning, and engineering functions emerging limitations in both energy and raw
involved in the whole spectrum of solutions to materials. As a consequence, if solid waste
problems of solid wastes thrust upon the community management is to be accomplished in an efficiently
by its inhabitants. The solutions may involve and orderly manner, the fundamental aspects and
complex interdisciplinary relationships among such relationships involved must be identified and
fields as political science, city and regional planning, understood clearly.
geography, economics, public health, sociology, The activities involved in the management of
demography, communications, and conservation, as solid wastes from the point of generation to final
well as engineering and materials science[8]. disposal have been divided into six functional
The field of solid waste management is to serve as elements namely, waste generation, storage,
a basis for understanding the interrelationships of the collection, transfer and transport, processing and
engineering fundamentals and the management recovery and disposal. In general, each functional
aspects. These include: element involves a physical activity. By considering
• brief history of the evolution and development of each functional element separately, it is possible, first
this discipline, to identify the fundamental aspects and relationships
• description of the functional elements of solid involved in each element and second to develop,
waste management system, where possible, quantifiable relationships for the
• solid waste management planning and purposes of making engineering comparisons,
• brief discussion on various aspects of solid waste analyses, and evaluation (Fig. 4). Separation of
management system. functional elements is necessary as it allows the
development of a frame work within which to
9.1 Evolution of Solid Waste Management evaluate the impact of proposed changes and future
The beginning of solid waste management can be technological advancements.
traced to antiquity that is the practice of recycling
9.3 Solid Waste Management Planning
human wastes. One of the early attempts to manage
solid wastes in the United States took place at the In solid waste management planning workable
turn of the century when New York City built a alternative programs are planned and developed to
wooden-crib bulkhead around Rikers Island in the solve solid waste problems. In most situations the
East River and filled in the area behind the marshes alternative programs and plans must be presented to
with ashes, rubbish, and street sweeping. The wastes the public and to decision makers for consideration,
were transferred from wagons to scow (barges) in selection, and adoption. At present the
New York City, towed to the island, unloaded by interrelationships between technical, economical,
clamshell dredges onto a conveyor or into rail cars, environmental, social and political factors involved in
and dumped. Clearly some sort of management plan these problems are not well understood.
was followed to accomplish this large operation. Here
again, it is evident that solid waste management
planning is not new.

Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006 25

S. Syed


Waste may be characterized as follows: Origin,
Primary recycle
destination and content. The later is further classified
as: It is important to appreciate the limitations under
each heading, as it is unlikely that any one method Recycle Secondary recycle

will be sufficient to characterize a liquid waste

adequately. Reuse

Source of waste
Liquid Waste Storage

Origin Destination Content Treatment Value Dumping Land

Phase Physical nature Chemical nature Quantity and Destruction Sea
of Liquid of pollutant of pollutant concentratio
of pollutant
Figure 5. Classification of liquid waste by destination
10.1 Origin
This allows for a multi-effluent industry, but
To classify wastes by origin may appear superfluous, requires additional information in order to be useful.
since the producer should know where his waste Geographical location of the source of waste is also
comes from, and the disposal contractor should know important when considering costs and disposal Vs
where he collects it. However, neither producer nor recycling. Transportation, sometimes can even
contractor may be aware of the alternatives available contribute up to 90% or more of the total cost of
for treatment or disposal, or of the potential value of waste disposal.
the waste if recycled or reused. Classification by
source or origin itself is not very helpful unless it is 10.2 Destination
related to other methods of classification. It can then
The destination or handling of waste is much easier
be a useful starting point for a characterization
to examine and classify than its source (Fig. 5).
scheme and for a discussion of properties, effects or
treatment method [9-15]. 10.2.1 Recycling of Liquid Waste
• The Water Treatment Handbook [10] provides an
Recycling may give the primary material for the
extensive classification by source, including
waste producer to reuse, such as electroplating salts
identification of the multiplicity of waste
from plating wastes, or a secondary material which is
streams that can arise from each industry and
related, such as metal or metal oxides for smelting to
also indication of the contents and requirements
metal again from plating wastes. A waste may be
for treatment. However, a wide range of wastes
reused, rather than recycled, when it is employed for
can arise from one industry, each of which
a different purpose, for example, the burning of waste
requires individual consideration. To be
lubricating oils or solvents for their heat content.
effective, classification either has to become
Further subclassification of primary and secondary
very detailed, and hence unwieldy, or it should
recycle and reuse could be by industrial source as
be simplified[15-17]. The following is a
under (10.1) above, but it requires an exhaustive
comprehensive but simple and effective list of
analysis of sequential material flows through related
main sources based on type of industry: Sewage
industries and knowledge of marketing factors. Such
Metal production (including mining) Metal
an exercise is only useful for highly specific materials
such as non-ferrous metals.
• Animal processing
• Vegetable processing 10.2.2 Disposal of Liquid Waste
• Food processing (if excluded from the above)
Disposal of liquid waste includes dumping on land;
Organic chemical Inorganic chemical
underground to rivers or to the sea, some pretreat-
• Agricultural Water
ment of waste may be necessary before disposal in
When it is related to type of treatment this list
order to comply with the legislation. Destruction, for
can conveniently be split into wastes normally
example by incineration is also included. Dumping
processed by a biological system (starred) and others.
for short term for future recovery is employed for
This leads to a simpler classification:
liquid wastes such as solvents which are accumulated
• Natural organic wastes (usually water-based)
until the process of recovery is practical and viable.
• ‘Synthetic’ organic wastes (usually non-water
But long term storage has been seriously proposed
only for solid wastes [18] with the exception for
• Inorganic wastes (usually water-based)
radioactive liquid wastes which are a special case.

26 Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006

Solid and Liquid Waste Management

Discharge water 10.3 Content

Recycle water
Recycle pollutant
10.3.1 Phase of Liquid
Aqueous treatment
Aqueous Waste is most often characterised by its content and
Aqueous the plethora of literature on liquid waste is invariably
related to treatment of a specific waste, often by a
Non- specific method. The simplest and most obvious
aqueous Separation
classification is by phase of liquid, which derives
Destroy directly from (10.1) above. Essentially, two liquid
phases may be considered-aqueous and non-aqueous.
These may occur together and hence form a third, for
Non-aqueous treatment
example emulsions and oily waste water from
petroleum refining. This is a particularly helpful
Figure 6. Classification of liquid waste by phase. initial screening test as it differentiates between those
wastes where the major constituent, water, may be
There are, however a number of examples where safely discharged (for example, to rivers), usually
a dumped waste being reworked as a result of after separation of the pollutant, and those wastes
technological progress and rising raw material costs. which must be totally recycled or disposed off in
The alternatives available for disposal can be some other way. This differentiation indicated in the
evaluated only after getting complete information on Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act [21] and in the
liquid waste composition and costs. Provisional Code of Practice [22].
Recent studies on recycling Vs disposal include Subdivisions may be readily formed from any of
an investigation into the economics of recycling the other classification on content, such as
pickle liquor as opposed to nautralisation and identification of the specific pollutants, or origin of
disposal[19], and incineration of pig manure compared waste, as discussed earlier, or destination as shown in
with reuse as fertiliser [20]. Fig. 6. This classification must be combined into one
or more other methods in order to characterize a
waste completely.


Gas Liquid Solid

Dissolved Suspended Miscible Solid / liquid Dissolved

Immiscible (e.g. paint spray Suspended
(e.g. ammonia) (e.g. foam) (e.g. methanol) (e.g. metal salts)

Stable emulsion Discrete phases Coarse Fine / colloidal

(e.g. soluble (e.g. oily (e. g. mining (e.g. aluminium
cutting oil) refinery waste wastes) hydroxide gel)

Physical mixture

Figure 7. Classification of liquid waste by physical nature of pollutant.

Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006 27

S. Syed

10.3.2 Physical Nature of Pollutant Table 2. Physical properties of liquid wastes

Classification by phase differentiates between those Aqueous Non-aqueous

effluents which are totally noxious (non-aqueous or Biological oxygen Ash
‘synthetic’ organic wastes), and those effluents from demand (BOD)
Color Boiling point
which the pollutant has to be removed or changed to
Conductivity Calorific value
leave an aqueous liquid that is acceptable for Density Chemical oxygen demand (COD)
discharge. Non-aqueous and mixed wastes that are PH Density
disposed off need little identification other than that Suspended solids Distillation range
required for safe handling and disposal. Classification Temperature Explosive limits
in this case is therefore only of academic interest. Total dissolved solids Flashpoint
Further information is necessary, however, for Viscosity Odor, Temperature, Viscosity, Volatility
recycling, and sometimes physical characteristics are All the above mentioned properties apply to mixed wastes as well.
sufficient. For non-aqueous materials, the physical Biodegradable wastes
In addition to the above properties of aqueous waste, the following
nature may be classified in two ways-nature of
are also considered: Ash, COD, Nitrogen content, Odor,
pollutant(s) and conventional physical properties. Permanganate value, Taste, Turbidity
The pollutant(s) in either aqueous or non-
aqueous wastes may exist in several forms such as: Sewage consists of natural organics (such as
• Dissolved gas protein, fats, and carbohydrates) in either solution or
• Suspended gas suspended, ‘synthetic’ organics [30] (such as
• Miscible liquid detergents and disinfectants) and various life forms
• Immiscible liquid [28]
. Painter [31] has reported extensively on the
• Solution of a solid chemical composition of sewage, and other authors
• Suspended solid have also attempted to give a definition by
Subdivisions may be formed by consideration of composition [32]. Apart from sewage, any waste
multiple-phase contamination and morphology of the containing organic materials may be treated
contaminative phase, to give the classification shown biologically, although this is usually reserved for
in Fig. 7. An alternative, complementary classificat- ‘natural’ organic wastes which may be conveniently
ion is by conventional physical properties. A suggest- termed biodegradable.
ed list is given in Table 2 for aqueous and non- An initial chemical classification of liquid waste
aqueous wastes. Information on properties of specific that appears to cover all possibilities may be as
chemicals and mixtures is available in literature[23, 24]. follows:
All the above-mentioned properties apply to
mixed wastes as well Biodegradable wastes. In Insoluble ‘volatile’ organics hexane
addition to the above properties of aqueous waste, the Insoluble nonvolatile organics tars
following are also considered: Soluble organics acetone
• Ash Acids sulphuric acid
• COD Alkalis caustic soda
• Nitrogen content Metals in solution iron chloride
• Odor Metals, suspended nickel hydroxide
• Permanganate value Cyanide copper cyanide solution
Neutral inorganic chemicals ammonium sulphate
• Taste
Natural biodegradable substances potato-processing waste
• Turbidity
10.3.3 Chemical Nature of Pollutant These classes are not mutually exclusive, a waste
may have several of these constituents, for example
Although a full chemical analysis, is the ultimate and
alkaline cyanide, or may consist of a mixture, for
complete classification of waste, but it is insufficient
example suspended metal compounds, alkali and
by itself to characterise waste adequately. For
cyanide. Classification may be further expanded
example, trace quantities of highly toxic materials
taking into consideration individual chemicals.
may be more significant than larger quantities of
Chemical analysis will usually give the proportion of
relatively inert materials. A range of classification
each chemical present, except that of organics which
based on general chemical action has been employed
[25-29] may be characterized by one or more physical
, but none of these appears to cover all types of
properties as listed in Table 2. To indicate the extent
wastes. This may be explained by the tendency to
of identification of individual compounds,
differentiate liquid wastes into sewage and other
publication of United Nations [29] lists 111 inorganic
wastes, probably because identification of pollutants
and 328 organic chemicals as examples of products
in chemical wastes in easy, whereas among the
of the basic chemical manufacturing industry. A
biodegradable wastes sewage is particularly difficult
comprehensive list of chemicals that might be found
to define chemically.
on waste would be many times larger.

28 Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006

Solid and Liquid Waste Management

Alternatively the description may be limited to waste and to notify the appropriate authority of this
synthetic organic materials, natural organic materials, , this includes classification by phase, content,
and inorganic materials and this characteristic proportion of pollutants and such other information
corresponds to classification by origin, as in (10.1) as will adequately define the hazards involved in the
above. chosen method of disposal.
Finally, waste is usually wastes because it consists
of unusable and often unpleasant mixture of Table 3. ‘Toxic’ wastes described to the key committee
chemicals. Wastes ‘chemical’ slurry Highly acid organic residues
10.3.4 Quantity and Concentration of Pollutant Tarry liquids Sludge from tar distillation
Waste paint Phenol-formaldehyde sludge
Data are required on flow rates of waste and Solid tarry matter Nicotine waste
concentration of pollutants, together with their Oil-impregnated rubbish Kier liquor
variation with time both throughout the day and over Arsenic waste Spent sheep dip
the year. This information is necessary for the design Wastes containing cyanide Sulphides
of treatment plant and setting up of storage facilities, Beryllium wastes Mercaptans
Waste oil Acid tars
making arrangements for disposal and also for
Residues from pesticide Alkaloid wastes
budgeting. These data are also valuable in order to formulation
evaluate the possibility of recycling, either by the Photographic waste Silver thiosulphate
producer or by any outside organization. The Carbides Fluorides
information by itself may not very helpful, but it Sludges containing copper, zinc Plating sludges
definitely complements the other aspects of Cadmium, nickel, etc. Pickling sludges
classification of content of waste. It is, however, compounds
possible to estimate the capital cost of a number of Aromatic hydrocarbons Spent acids
processes, including effluent treatment plant, on the Noxious organic solvents Sludge from leaded petrol
basis of capacity only. White spirit Waste alcohols
Lacquer Beta-naphthylamine sulphate
10.3.5 Toxicity and Hazard Lubricants Diaminodiphenylmethane
Chrome acid Propyl isocyanate
Indiscriminate dumping of toxic waste led to the Complex cyanides Sodium acetylide
formulation and adoption of Deposit of Poisonous Water-kerosene mixtures Chlorphenols
Waste Act 1972 [21] and this aspect has been Trichloroethylene Chlorcresols
extensively discussed [22,27,33,40]. The Key Report [27] Oily slops from petroleum
which preceded the Act listed a wide range of industry
chemicals and waste liquids reported to the
committee as toxic (Table 3). It is of limited value as Classification of a waste by toxicity and /or
complex and vaguely defined wastes, such as kier hazard is important for safety and also to comply
liquor and alkaloid wastes are included alongside with legislation [34-40]. In practice, it is better to use
specific chemicals such as chrome acid and propyl the characterization ‘hazardous’ and ‘non’ hazardous’
isocyanate. Perhaps an easier approach will be the list having regard to both toxicity and the environmental
of exempted materials (Table 4) [34, 41] provided. implications of the waste on disposal.
It is not clear as to what proportion of industrial Therefore the Control of Pollution Act
waste can be considered deleterious or toxic; the distinguishes waste as poisonous, noxious or
World Health Organization has estimated 15 % polluting and whose presence on land is likely to give
which, equivalent to about 20 kg per head per year rise to an environmental hazard. It also encompasses
. The actual figure in the UK was between 2 and 5 highly flammable or explosive materials which may
tonnes per year [43], but even there is some confusion have little toxicological significance.
with regard to terminology. Thus, ‘toxic’ has been 10.4 Treatment
considered synonymous with ‘poisonous’ without
specifying toxic concentration. This is the most common system of classification of
Hazards are more difficult to define. The Key waste. A list of treatment methods is given in Table
Report[27] simply classified wastes as flammable, acid 1.5 together with some examples. The list includes
or caustic, and indisputably toxic. The Provisional only those operations known to be used in effluent
Code of Practice[22] suggests the adoption of the Blue treatment, and has been divided under three main
Book classification [44]. Which is simplified into the categories-chemicals, physical and biological.
following broad groups; Explosive, Flammable, Practically all the listed methods are accepted
Oxidising, Infections, Corrosive and Radioactive chemical engineering unit operations or unit
processes. Treatment of a waste for recycling, or
Information on hazards and precautions to be taken in prior to disposal, may be subjected to a sequence of
handling hazardous materials is given in the Yellow operations.
Book[45]. The Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act 1972
requires the producer to know the ‘nature’ of his

Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006 29

S. Syed

Table 4. Exempted waste A thorough exploration of all the possibilities for

Any waste normally arising in the use of premises as an office for any
a specific problem might use a morphological
purpose, or as a retail shop (that is to say, a building used for the approach which considers all possible operations,
carrying on of any retail trade or retail business wherein the primary permutes them to give all possible processes, then by
purpose is the selling of goods or services by retail). application of a number of predetermined criteria,
Any waste produced in the course of: and reduces the multiplicity of alternative to a few
• construction, repair, maintenance or demolition of plant or of that may be explored in depth [46].
Most of the essential treatment operations done
• laundering or dry cleaning of articles; prior to disposal have been well documented.
• working mines and quarries, or washing mined or quarried material; Recycling processes are either well established and
• construction or maintenance of highways, whether or not repairable documented, or not at all practiced for a number of
at the public expense; valid or superficial reasons. A well designed recovery
• dry cutting, grinding or shaping of metals, or the subjection thereof process can, not only virtually eliminate the disposal
to other physical or mechanical process;
problem but can also significantly reduce the disposal
• softening, treatment or other processing of water for the purpose of coats and some times even the cost may become
rendering it suitable for (i) human consumption, (ii) the preparation
of foods or drinks, (iii) any manufacturing or cooling process, or (iv) negative, i.e., the waste may produce income. There
boiler feeds; are many areas of waste disposal that would benefit
• treatment of sewage; from a careful and thorough examination with this
• breeding, rearing or keeping of livestock; point in view.
• brewing; 10.5 Value
• any other fermentation process; or
The value of waste material may arrived at by
• cleansing of intercepting devices design to prevent the release of oil
or grease.
multiplying the quantity by the concentration and
multiplying again by the value of each recoverable
Any waste (not being waste in any of the foregoing classes) consisting of component in the waste. Quantity and concentration
one or more of the following items whether mixed with water or not: are discussed under (10.3) above.
• paper, cellulose, wood (including sawdust and sanderdust); oiled Cost of chemicals used as materials are published
paper, tarred paper, plasterboard regularly in a number of journals in the form of price
• plastics, including thermoplastics in both the finished and raw states, list [47-49]. However, prevailing market price may bear
and thermosetting plastics in the finished state; no relation to the published list price and hence a
• clays, pottery, china, glass, enamels, ceramics, mica, abrasives; market survey is necessary before embarking on
• iron, steel, aluminium, brass, copper, tin, zinc; recovery programme.
• coal, coke, carbon, graphite, ash, clinker; Recoverable components identified by analysis
• slags produced in the manufacture of iron, steel, copper or tin of may exist in the waste in a different form: metal
mixtures of any of these metals; compounds, for example, are often reported as metal
• rubber (whether natural or synthetic); or metal oxide whereas actually they may exist in the
• electrical fittings, fixtures and appliances; waste as acid solutions of metal salts, recovery may
be through another metal compound by precipitation,
• cosmetics;
or of the metal itself.
• sands (including foundry and moulding sands), silica;
In summary, the complete characterization
• shot blasting residues, boiler scale, iron oxides, iron hydroxides;
scheme for liquid waste comprises of the following
• cement, concrete, calcium hydroxide, calcium carbonate, calcium information.
sulphate, calcium chloride, magnesium carbonate, magnesium
oxide, zinc oxide, aluminium oxide, titanium oxide, copper oxide, Origin Where does it come from (type of industry
sodium chloride; or specific industry)?
• cork, ebonite, kapok, kieselghur, diatomaceous earth; Destination Is it going for disposal, reuse or recycle?
• wool, cotton, linen, hemp, sisal, any other natural fibre, hessain, Content What phases (s) are present in the waste?
leather, any man-made fibre, string, rope; In what form is the pollutant?
• soap and other strearates; What chemicals form the pollutant?
What are the physical properties?
• food, or any waste produced in the course of the preparations,
processing or distribution of food;
How much is there?
What is the concentration of the pollutant?
• vegetable matter;
Is it toxic? If so, to what extent?
• animal carcases, or parts thereof; Is it hazardous in any way (e.g. flammable,
• excavated material in its natural state; explosive)? If so, to what extent?
• any other substance which is hard solid and is insoluble in water Treatment How will it be treated, whether for disposal
and in any acid. or recycle?
Value Is it worth anything?

30 Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006

Solid and Liquid Waste Management

Table 5. Treatment methods for liquid effluent To illustrate the application of this scheme, a
range of example is presented in Table 6, based on
Chemical treatment methods Example
extracts from the records of a disposal contractor.
Absorption Solvent recovers
Cementation Gold recovery
Chlorination Cyanide oxidation Table 6. Examples of characterization of liquid waste
Coagulation-see Flocculation
Origin Inorganic, metal treatment
Demulsification Soluble oil recovery Destination Disposal
Electrolytic processes Metal recovery Phase Aqueous
Flocculation Sewage treatment Physical nature Dissolved gases and solid pH2
Total solids 11.57%
Hydrolysis Cellulose waste Chemical nature Acidity as HCl 5.81%
Incineration Waste oil Composition Iron 1.72%
Ion exchange Metal recovery Zinc 0.112%
Leaching Metal-bearing sludges Lead 0.024%
Cadmium Present
Neutralisation Waste oil Chromium Present
Oxidation Phenol removal Nickel Present
Ozonisation Cyanide oxidation Quantity 6.8 m3 (1500 gal)
Precipitation Metals Toxicity and hazards Poisonous, Corrosive
Reduction Hexavalent chromium Method of treatment None
Value None, value of potentially
Thermal decomposition Recycling hydrochloric acid Recoverable materials may be Calculated. [18]
Physical treatment methods Origin Natural organic, cess
Absorption Removal of volatile organics Destination Disposal
Cooling Water reuse Content : Phase Aqueous
Physical nature Solution of solids, suspended solid, pH 8.65
Crystallisation Recovery of inorganic salts Total Solids 0.23%
Desoption-see Absorption Suspended matter 0.07%
Dewatering-see Filtration Ash 0.678%
Dialysis Desalination lashpoint 110oC
Distillation Solvent recovery Electrical conductivity 4085µm hos/cm3
Drying Pig manure Chemical nature Ether extract 0.31% Composition
Electrodialysis Desalination Quantity 6.8 m3 (1500 gal)
Evaporation Sulphuric acid recovery Toxicity and hazards Bacterial infection
Method of treatment None
Filtration Sewage sludge Value None
Flotation Dairy wastes Origin Inorganic, metal treatment
Foam fractionation Metal separation Destination Disposal
Fractionation-see Distillation Content : Phase Aqueous
Physical nature Dissolved solids, miscible liquids, pH 0.7
Freezing Desalination
Electrical conductivity 178 000 µmhos/ cm3
Heating Demulsification
Total solid 19.1%
Phase separation Oily wastes Chemical nature Acidity as H SO 14.5%
Reverse osmosis Desalination 2 4
Composition Chromium 6.2%
Screening Sewage
Copper 0.46%
Sedimentation Suspended solids removal Zinc 0.26%
Solvent extraction Metal recovery Iron 0.51%
Stripping Ammonia removal Quantity 4 m3 (800 gal)
Ultrafiltration-see Dialysis, Toxicity and hazards Oxidising, Poisonous, Corrosive
Method of treatment None
Reverse osmosis
Value None, value of potentially recoverable materials
Biological treatment methods may be calculated. [18]
Activated sludge Sewage Origin Synthetic organic, organic chemical
Anaerobic digestion Food wastes Destination Disposal
Content : Phase Mixed aqueous-nonaqueous
Chemical production Ethanol
Physical nature Suspended solids, immiscible, liquid, pH 6.0
Disinfection Sewage plant effluent Total solids 37.6%
High rate filtration Phenol removal Ash 0.62%
Oxidation-see Activated sludge, - Flashpoint 110oC
High rate filtration, - Chemical nature Phenol 0.48%
Trickling filter - Quantity 5.6 m3 (1250 gal)
Toxicity and hazards -
Reduction-see Anaerobic digestion -
Method of treatment Demulsification and oil separation
Single-cell protein production Organic waste Value Small heat content oil from burning
Trickling filter Sewage

Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006 31

S. Syed

Table 7. Examples of materials recovered from solid and liquid 11. MATERIALS RECOVERY:
Chemical Example of source
Acetic acid Paper Material recovery has only recently been proposed,
Acetone Petrochemicals including special examples where ‘one man’s waste’
Ammonia Coke ovens can be turned into ‘another man’s profit’ by virtue of
Ammonium sulphate Coke ovens circumstances, special knowledge or economy of
Anthracene Coal tar scale. The diversity of recyclable materials from solid
Anthranilic acid Dyestuffs and liquid waste is shown in Table 7.
Aromatic organics Coke ovens
Aromatics Naphtha pyrolysis quench 11.1 Hydrometallurgical Processing
Benzene Styrene manufacture All methods of metal recovery are based on
Bromine Potash hydrometallurgy [50-66]. There is a rapidly growing
Calcium sulphate Phosphates interest in hydrometallurgical extraction of metal
Carboxylic acids Petrochemicals which generally involves three stages - pretreatment,
Casein Milk recovery and refining of metals from aqueous
Chromic acid Electroplating
solution. The technology, principles and practice are
Copper salts Secondary copper
equally applicable to all waste metals and alloys. A
Copper Sulphate Secondary copper number of problems related to metal scrap have been
Creosote Coal tar recently investigated and reported. Some of which
Cresol Coal tar whose separation and recovery are reported include
Elthanol Cellulose nickel/cobalt, cadmium/zinc alloy and bearing
Ethylbenzene Styrene manufacture metal[73,67,68]. Other examples where leaching,
Ethylene dichloride Oxychlorination waste-water purification and reduction processes adopted are:
Fluorides Phosphate • Leaching, preferably selected to reduce
Gold cyanide Electroplating subsequent purification. Examples include acid
Hydrochloric acid Pickle liquor leaching, ammoniacal leaching (gold, silver) and
Hydrofluoric acid Aluminium caustic leaching (aluminium, zinc and tin).
Hydroulic oil Engineering • Purification, remove impurities. Examples include
Hydrogen Refineries most chemical engineering operations, such as ion
Hydrogen peroxide Spent photographic solution exchange, solvent extraction and precipitation.
Iodine Saltpetre • Reduction, to produce an acceptable metallic
Iron oxides Titanium product. This final step is unnecessary if metal
Iron sulphates Pickle liquor salts are being produced. Selective reduction is
Lubricating oil Vehicle maintenance also possible to overcome impurities. Examples
Magnesium chloride Sea water include electrolysis and hydrogen reduction.
Methanol General purpose solvent
11.2 Gold Recovery
Methylaniline Dyestuffs
Naphthalene Coke ovens Because of relatively high value and ease of recovery
Nickel salts Electroplating of metals, there have been many proposals for the
Paint Automotive reclamation of metals like gold, silver and other
Phenols Petroleum refineries precious metals from specific waste solutions like
Potassium hydroxide Dyestuffs spent electroplating solution, spent photographic
Protein Fermentation solution, spent mirror solution and drag-out. Gold is a
Quench oil Metal treatment precious metal. Liquid of solid waste containing even
Sodium chloride Desalination one ppm of gold is of considerable interest as an
Sodium cyanide Gold containing broken porcelain economic source. In recent years, many industries are
Sodium hydroxide Dyestuffs making use of gold as metal and its salts.
Sulphuric acid Silverbearing materials Consequently, the scrap and the industrial effluent
Sulphur Desulphurisation processes contain substantial concentrations of gold the
Sulphuric acid Pickling liquor recovery of which may be paramount interest to the
Sulphur oxides Ore smelting entrepreneurs and technocrats. The materials which
Tar Coke ovens contain substantial amount of gold include electronic
Toluene Benzole from coke ovens scraps, electric scrap, gold containing broken
Trichlorobenzene Pigments porcelain spent electroplating solutions, spent gold
Trichloroethylene Degreasing mirror solutions, etc. The precipitation and metallic
White spirit General purpose solvent replacement processes for the recovery of gold from
Xylene Benzole from coke ovens gold containing broken porcelain and drag-out/ spent
Yeast Brewing electroplating solutions is represented in Figs. 8 and
Zinc slats Rayon 9[69,70].

32 Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006

Solid and Liquid Waste Management

There are, however, probably a few such Attempts have been made to recover some of the
reclaimable wastes remain unexploited. There are valuable constituents such as silver by
about 70 such instances where byproduct recovery hydrometallurgical techniques. A flowsheet diagram
including many metals and metal compounds from is shown in Fig. 10 and 11 [72,78] of acidic recovery of
aqueous effluents were reported several years ago [71]. metal silver from spent photographic solution.
Warren Spring Laboratory has applied a range of
11.3 Silver Recovery
adaptations of the basic principles in a variety of
Considerable quantities of metals are lost annually in situations [72-76]. It is, however, exceptional for such
aqueous effluent. India is ranked as the third largest recovery processes to be justified economically. A
country in the world for the use of silver. There is survey conducted in Egypt showed that the solutions
little information on the geographic distribution and produced are nearly 2160 m3 containing about 16.2
environmental effects of silver discharges in India. tons of pure metal silver. The price of this pure metal
However, recent worldwide studies show that the silver is nearly $3 million. Hence it is desirable to
toxicity of silver depends on its chemical form, recover the silver form spent solutions[77]. Recent
concentration, salinity, recox-potential and pH of the proposal for the recovery of silver has been made and
receiving water. Recovery of silver is of paramount the flow diagram for the recovery of silver from spent
importance, as it happens to be a highly priced metal. photographic solution is given in Fig. 12 and Fig. 13.

Gold containing
Broken porcelain

Water Sodium
Dissolution of gold layer
Cyanide O2H2

Solution Leached porcelain

Filteration of Water
gold containing solution st wash step1

Aluminium Gold precipitation Leached porcelain

Water Washing nd wash step 2 Water

Gold free

Gold 99.5%

Figure 8. Flow sheet of gold recovery from gold containing broken porcelain.

Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006 33

S. Syed

Drag-out / spent Silver bearing

electroplating solution materials

NaOH PH>13 Water

Silver dissolution

Filtration residue for
Al Precipitation recovery of
Water Ag2 SO4 precipitation

Filtration Filteration for
recovery of
Sludge 2H
Ag2 SO4 dissolution

Washing Water Water

Hydrogen reduction (NH4)2 SO4

Dissolve in aquaregia

Silver %99.5

Na2So4 Reduction Figure 10. Flow sheet of silver recovery from silver bearing

Gold precipitate Stock solution

Acidic or alkaline
HNO3 Boiling reagent
Adjust pH to 3.6

Gentle warming at = 500 C


Ag sludge precipitation
Washing Water
Filtration of the sludge and

Precipitation with
Dissolution in boiling HNO3

Borax + Pinch Melting Filtration and

of KNO3 Ag NO3 salt Evaporation till dryness
washing of the AgOH

Thermal decomposition =
% 99.5 Gold 9800C

Figure 9. Precipitation process for gold recovery from drag-out /
spent electroplating solutions Figure 11. Flow sheet diagram of acidic recovery of metal silver
from spent photographic solutions.
last century, when the practice of public health grew
The management of waste is one of the earliest of up to ameliorate, in particular, the housing and living
man’s branches of knowledge. In some ways it can conditions of the working poor in British cities. The
also be considered as one of the latest. The reason for public health movement later on spread rapidly to
this seeming paradox is the success which rewarded Europe and to the United States, where the need for
the efforts of public health specialists and sanitary improvement was not as strong as in Europe, but
engineers in overcoming the abysmally unhygienic where danger signs were visible in the increasingly
conditions into which man has allowed his crowded conditions of the eastern cities. It was only
habitations to degenerate at different times in his during the last three decades that Indian community
history. This could be particularly seen during the and planners started taking a serious view of the
later part of the waste management.

34 Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006

Solid and Liquid Waste Management

Stock solution
Stock solution

Evaporating till dryness


Thermal decomposition at = 9800C

Cooling H2O2 stock

Grinding of solids
Filtration of Ag sludge

Washing and drying Dissolution in HNO3 Ag separation by water

Ag salts Ag washing and drying

Thermal decomposition
e.g. AgNO3

Silver Silver

Figure 12. Flow sheet diagram of recovery of metallic silver from Figure 13. Flow sheet diagram of recovery of metallic silver form
spent photographic solutions with H2O2 spent photographic solutions by thermal process

The improvements which were brought about had Our previous complacency resulted in being
such strikingly good impact, noticeable mainly in the caught virtually unawares by these new problems.
reduction in disease rates and in the cleanliness of the During the last two decades we have witnessed an
cities, that codes of good practice were established unprecedented rapid growth in first concern and later
handbooks were written, school of public health were action, which transformed the entire field of waste
opened and the general population relaxed under the management. It was the transformation which
belief that the problems associated with our waste necessitated undertaking this study.
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36 Emirates Journal for Engineering Research, Vol. 11, No.2, 2006