This paper describes wastewater treatment optimization studies performed on an industrial wastewater generated in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The manufacturing plant generates hexavalent chromium [Cr(VI)] wastewater as a result of chromating brass, bronze and copper parts produced in the manufacturing operations. The facility utilizes a continuous flow treatment train, involving segregated Cr(VI) reduction with sodium metabisulfite (Na2S2O5) under acidic conditions, followed by combined wastestream two-stage pH adjustment, metals precipitation, and clarification before discharge to the municipal sewer.

The objectives of the studies were to define and evaluate critical parameters, such as pH and oxidation reduction potential (ORP) for hexavalent and total chromium control and to perform treatability studies to optimize the performance of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The treatability studies included Cr(VI) reduction versus Na2S2O5 dosage evaluations and corresponding chromium reduction kinetic studies, and trivalent chromium hydroxide precipitation. The Cr(VI) reduction experiments and chromic hydroxide precipitation studies were performed for three different wastewaters collected from within the manufacturing process; a high, typical, and dilute strength wastewater.