OPUS Achieves Zero Wastewater Discharge

The Client's Needs

The client revived, expanded and modernized its operations in order to produce rare earth materials in high volumes and in an environmentally responsible manner. As part of the expansion, the client contracted Veolia to design and build a new water treatment plant for their state-of-the-art rare earth facility. The plant must treat a combination of well water and process wastewater. The clean water produced will be reused for rare earth processing and power generation. The concentrated reject stream will be further treated and then processed in the rare earth facility’s chlor-alkali plant to be put into the principal chemical reagents needed to conduct rare earth separation. This production assists in achieving a goal of zero wastewater discharge at the facility.

The Solution

The wastewater treatment plant incorporates Veolia’s OPUS® technology, which uses a reverse osmosis process operated at an elevated pH to maximize water recovery. By combining Veolia’s proprietary high-rate chemical softening process known as MULTIFLO™ with filtration, ion exchange and reverse osmosis, this unique technology generates high-quality water with a low waste volume.

The system was designed to treat 1,000 gallons per minute of well water and wastewater, which would enable the client to increase production to approximately 20,000 metric tons per year.

The project’s unique sustainability aspects include reuse of constituents in the water for reduction of chemical costs. After removing salts through the OPUS® technology, the reject stream is sent to salt recovery units and used a feed for the onsite chlor-alkali facility.

Veolia provided a long-term performance guarantee to ensure that water quality, system availability, and water treatment production rates at the plant would meet the needs of the client.

Process Description

The OPUS® technology installed at the client consists of multiple treatment processes, involving chemical softening, media filtration, ion exchange softening and reverse osmosis (RO) technologies.

Typical Performance

Project Delivery

The project was delivered through a Design-Build-Operate-Guarantee (DBOG) contract under which Veolia operates and continuously optimizes the system under a performance guarantee for the life of the operations agreement.