Today, one of the most polluting businesses is the leather industry!
The processing of leather has a negative influence on the environment. The global production of leather is estimated to be around 24 billion, posing a significant challenge to the leather industry. Salt, lime sludge, sulphides, and acids are among the contaminants found in tannery wastewater. The tanning process stabilizes the collagen or protein fibers in the skin, causing them to cease deteriorating. Animal skin trims, animal hairs, flesh wastes, buffing dust, and keratin wastes are among the solid wastes generated in the leather business. Protein is the major component of all of these wastes. If this protein is not correctly exploited, it will cause serious pollution problems in the environment.
Goal of tannery wastewater treatment
Tannery effluent treatment is currently a well-established technology, with modular common effluent treatment plants serving historic tannery clusters or newly developed leather industrial zones being a commonly accepted technique.
The major goal of wastewater treatment is to remove particles and some potentially dangerous compounds from the wastewater. Effluent treatment plants produce treated, "cleaned" effluent and sludge. Biologically degradable organic compounds are also transformed into bacterial cells, which are then eliminated from wastewater.
What are the contaminants present in tannery wastewater?
Tannery effluents contain high levels of pollution due to the abundance of brightly coloured chemicals, sodium chloride and sulphate, numerous organic and inorganic pollutants, poisonous metallic compounds, biologically oxidizable tanning ingredients, and large amounts of putrefying suspended detritus. The tannery effluent has a negative impact on the health of receiving water bodies and land surfaces.
The sludge from the tanning industry's wastewater treatment contains 60-70 percent organic matter and 3-5 percent nitrogen, with a potassium concentration of zero.
Which gas is formed while collecting sludge in a tannery industry?
Odours linked with wastewater are difficult to quantify since they are created by a wide range of substances and are more qualitative than quantitative nuisances.
The main source of foul odour is the removal of hydrogen sulphide.
Hydrogen sulphide (H2S), a highly deadly gas, is still the leading cause of death in tannery accidents, which typically occur in poorly ventilated places, such as pits and channels. Faced with increasing legal and social constraints, no tanner can afford to be uninformed about the most important issues and principles of occupational, safety, and health protection in tannery operations. Many times, employees exposed to hydrogen sulphide gas found in tanneries and effluent treatment plants have died.
Hydrogen sulphide is a highly poisonous and unpleasant gas. It has a distinct rotten egg odour, although only at low quantities is it detectable. This explains why, despite its recognized toxicity, there have been so many mishaps.
Owners and managers of tanneries and wastewater treatment plants must thus be well aware of the dangers presented by this deadly gas and take all required preventive and precautionary steps to safeguard their employees from exposure. In the case that a worker is accidentally exposed, they should know how to handle the situation.
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