WASTE liquids are an unavoidable result of many manufacturing processes, such as steel production, machining, and automobile assembly. While these wastes were significantly reduced over the past 30 or so years, it has been impossible to fully eliminate them.
A byproduct of cleaning, degreasing, and other activities in the manufacturing process, these waste liquids must be removed for proper processing under Environmental Protection Agency guidelines. When that time comes, many manufacturers call on a specialist such as Ecological Systems Inc (ESI) and its transportation arm, Central Systems Inc (CSI).
“We benefit from steady growth in industrial liquid non-hazardous wastes, which have increased even as hazardous waste volumes have decreased,” says Catherine M Zellner, ESI vice-president of sales and marketing. “We believe our company has a great future, and we provide state-of-the-art waste processing services.”
From its centrally located liquid waste processing facility in Indianapolis, Indiana, ESI serves factories across the eastern half of the United States, throughout the Midwest, and as far away as Washington state. The processing facility has a design capacity of three million gallons of industrial non-hazardous wastewater daily. More than 5,000 waste streams currently are profiled and approved for shipment to ESI.
The processing facility can receive wastewater shipments via truck and rail. A high percentage of the shipments arrive at the Indianapolis facility on CSI tank transports. The carrier operates 53 power units, 11 vacuum trailers, seven vacuum trucks, 12 aluminum trailers, and seven rubber-lined acid trailers.
“In addition to operating as our dedicated in-house carrier, CSI offers for-hire waste hauling services,” says Greg Totten, ESI risk manager. “Our truck fleet enables us to be very competitive in serving waste generators within a day's drive of Indianapolis. In contrast, the rail capabilities make us competitive across a broad section of the United States.”
Several rail tankcar waste shipments are currently processed through the ESI plant each day, and the company's dedicated rail spur can store up to 10 rail cars. ESI also handles waste shipments that are moved through more than 70 CSX TransFlo rail transfer facilities east of the Mississippi River.
“We operate our own fleet of rail tankcars and believe that this is an important factor in holding down liquid waste transportation costs,” Totten says. “Rail service is most cost-effective in excess of 1,000 miles from our Indianapolis plant.”
ESI was established as an industrial waste handling specialist in 1993, and CSI began hauling liquid wastes in 1995. The two operations, which had common ownership, were combined in 1999. The Indianapolis waste processing plant was acquired from Marathon Oil in 1998. It had been the wastewater treatment plant for Marathon's Indianapolis refinery, which is now closed.
Following a $13-million investment in state-of-the-art liquid waste treatment and recycling technologies, the Indianapolis facility opened for business in July 2000. ESI claims it is one of the largest commercial wastewater treatment facilities in the United States.
The facility handles recycling of petroleum-based liquid wastes, and it processes alternative fuels. The focus is on non-RCRA (Resource Conservation Recovery Act) liquids, sludges, and slurries.
“We emphasize the sort of oily wastewaters that typically result from heavy manufacturing operations,” Zellner says. “These are lubricants or cutting and quenching oils. In most cases, the waste stream contains more water (80% to 85%) than oil.
“Our treatment plant also can take ammonia waters and non-hazardous wastewater from tank cleaning operations. We handle liquid wastes such as ferric chloride, spent sulfuric acid, and sodium hydroxide for beneficial reuse.”
The process of handling a liquid waste starts when the customer contacts ESI. Each waste stream goes through a detailed approval process that starts with a waste profile. Customers must supply a sample of the waste stream for laboratory analysis and all relevant material safety data sheets.
The sample is analyzed, and a treatability study is performed. A treatability protocol is developed for particularly difficult waste streams. Treatment costs are discussed with the customer, and a determination is made on the best means of transportation.
Although a wide range of liquid wastes are accepted, ESI rejects waste streams with PCBs, dioxins, listed RCRA materials, RCRA characteristic codes, explosive materials, radioactive waste, and biomedical wastes. Other waste components — such as heavy metals, halogens, and phenols — must fall within strict limits.
For waste generators throughout much of the Midwest, truck transportation will be the preferred mode to transport the waste liquid to the processing plant. In most cases, the CSI truck fleet will handle the over-the-road shipments. The fleet is dispersed among terminals in Indianapolis and Mishawaka, Indiana.
The equipment used in the CSI operation is designed to meet the specialized needs of waste hauling. Vacuum trailers and truck-mounted vacuum tanks are built to DOT407/412 code. Trailers have capacities ranging from 5,000 to 6,500 gallons, and truck tanks hold 2,700 to 4,000 gallons.
Presvac Systems and Ibex have been the primary suppliers of vacuum tanks in the CSI fleet. Hardware includes Betts valves and vacuum pumps from Presvac and National Vacuum Equipment. All of the tanks have hydraulic lifts and full-opening rear heads.
Rubber-lined, carbon steel acid trailers are from Brenner Tank Inc. Non-code aluminum tank trailers have capacities up to 9,500 gallons.
Some of the more specialized equipment in the fleet includes a Powervac 5300 from Presvac and a Cusco MasterVac. The Powervac 5300 is a wet-dry vacuum loader that CSI uses to transfer waste shipments from tankcars at ESI's rail siding into the Indianapolis processing plant.
Rail tankcars used by ESI have an average capacity of 23,000 gallons. A typical rail shipment will contain 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of sludge, but the amount can be as high as 10,000 gallons. Removing that sludge is one reason for the vacuum loader.
The MasterVac is used at customer sites to transfer waste liquids into vacuum roll-off boxes. CSI has a number of these roll-off boxes from May Fabricating and Modern Manufacturing. Capacities range from 2,200 to 3,000 gallons. They can be transported on two Benlee roll-off trailers.
CSI owns the trailers, but about half of the power units are leased. Equipment on lease is provided through PacLease outlet Palmer Leasing Group in Indianapolis. “We've begun leasing tractors because it gives us better control over fixed operating costs,” Totten says.
He adds that PacLease offered a good combination of rates and equipment. “Paccar products have an excellent reputation, and the company offers a wide range of products,” Totten says. “We worked closely with the Palmer Leasing people to specify vehicles that deliver fuel efficiency and maximum payload capacity.”
The fleet runs daycab and sleeper tractors. The newest units from PacLease are T800 conventionals with 410-horsepower Caterpillar C-12 engines, Fuller 10-speed Concept 2000 transmissions, and Dana Spicer DS404 tandem-drive axles rated at 40,000 pounds. The sleeper units have a 62-inch Aerocab sleeper. Running gear includes Kenworth's Airglide 200 air suspension, aluminum disc wheels, and Michelin tires.
For tank truck chassis, CSI is specifying Kenworth T800s for vacuum applications. The newest T800 trucks have Caterpillar C-12 engines, Fuller 10-speed transmissions, 46,000-lb Dana Spicer drive axle with pusher axle, and Hendrickson RS463 suspension. Mounted on the chassis is a 3,500-gallon Presvac vacuum tank and Demag RFW 200 vacuum pump.
Most of the equipment, leased or owned, is relatively new, and all of it is kept in top shape. “We want our fleet to present a good image,” Totten says. “We want customers to know that there will be no problems when we haul their wastes. It's important to show that we are in charge, and that we provide safe and reliable service.”
Control, reliability, and safety are just as apparent when a shipment reaches the Indianapolis processing facility. Rigorous arrival procedures are followed. The waste profile and analytical results are reverified, and all paperwork is reviewed to ensure accuracy.
Tanker rigs proceed to the receiving area, which has fully-enclosed bays for tank unloading and cleanout. Currently, three bays are in use, but the receiving building was designed for expansion.
Waste liquids are pumped off to the oil processing unit and other appropriate treatment units. With its oxidation, dissolved-air-filtration, and API separation capabilities, the ESI waste processing plant reportedly meets Indianapolis POTW permit requirements.
Processing equipment includes two one-million-gallon storage tanks for incoming waste, a million-gallon insulated tank for processed oil, four 10,000-gallon and four 30,000-gallon tanks for bulk chemicals, four each of 20,000- and 30,000-gallon tanks for cracking oil, two 100,000-gallon tanks for equalization of incoming wastewater, and 15 additional tanks in various sizes for chemical storage.
In everything they do, the CSI and ESI teams work hard to ensure that their operations live up to the corporate objective to be “The Waste Water Treatment Specialists” through the principles of safety, compliance, and innovation.