Analysis of the environmental benefits of wastewater recovery in the sand washing process
The restricted availability of water and the increasingly stringent standards for the discharge of wastewater has fostered an awareness of the importance of a comprehensive management of water resources in productive systems. Therefore, in this research the potential environmental benefits of the recovery of wastewater that is poured in the sand washing process are analyzed taking as a case study the “El Canal” plant, located in the municipality of Cumanayagua of the Cienfuegos province. For its preparation, a controlled operation test was carried out that served as the basis for a material flow analysis and a life cycle analysis. It is remarkable that with the implementation of the technologies of centrifugal classification (hydrocyclones) and water recovery (sedimentation-filtration) the water consumption can be reduced from 2,205 3 to 0,108 8 m3/t of sand produced and the electricity consumption from 0,996 6 to 0,385 9 kWh/t of sand produced conditioning an improvement in all the categories of impact according to ReciPe Midpoint method. Then, it is suggested to consider a possible investment in order to modernize the system highlighting that due to environmental benefits support the proposal criteria of different nature, beyond the traditional economical ones, should be analyzed.