A New Indicator to Measure the Waste Valourization Potential of Industrial Wastewaters of Chemical Industries

IJEP 42(2): 131-141 : Vol. 42 Issue. 2 (February 2022)

Sandra D’Sa and Debasis Patnaik*

Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, K K Birla, Goa Campus, Department of Economics and Management, Zuarinagar – 403 726, Goa, India


The commonly used combined physico-chemical parameters of industrial wastewaters, like COD, TDS and pH are found insufficient to devise a waste management strategy of recovery, recycle/reuse and even reduce and as a result, is more focused on treatment and disposal. Primary data were collected using a questionnaire and personal interviews of senior representatives of the Indian chemical industry over the period 2015-2018. The data were used to devise a waste valourization potential score based on the level of knowledge of the chemical composition of the wastewater stream. The findings also revealed that there is an association between the waste valourization potential score (WVPS) and the technologies used to manage wastewaters, that are higher up on the waste hierarchy. Segregation of individual wastewater streams and the chemical characterization of the effluent stream becomes the bedrock upon which pollution prevention, abatement and wastewater management solutions can be devised. The study highlights the need for increased knowledge of the chemical composition of wastewaters to ascend the waste hierarchy through clean technologies to reduce water pollution. Based on WVPS, recovery and reuse or sale of valuable raw materials extracted from wastewaters can be valourized.


Industrial water pollution, Chemical oxygen demand, Total dissolved solids, Wastewater characterization, Waste valourization, Waste hierarchy


  1. Voulvoulis, N. 2018. Water reuse from a circular economy perspective and potential risks from an unregulated approach. Curr. Opin. Env. Sci. Health. 2:32–45.
  2. Xiao-jun, W., et al. 2012. Catastrophe theory to assess water security and adaptation strategy in the context of environmental change. Mitigation Adaptation Strategies global Change. 19(4): 463–477.
  3. Luo,T., R. Young and P. Reig. 2015. Aqueduct projected water stress country rankings. Technical note. World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
  4. WWAP. 2015. Water for a sustainable world. The United Nations world water development report. United Nations World Water Assessment Programme, Paris.
  5. USEPA. 1998. Development document for final effluent limitations guidelines and standards for the pharmaceutical manufacturing point source category (EPA 821-B-98-009). Engineering and Analysis Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  6. Breida, M., et al. 2019. Pollution of water sources from agricultural and industrial effluents: Special attention to NO3-, Cr(VI) and Cu(II). In Water Chemistry. Ed Murat Eyvaz and Ebubekir Yüksel.
  7. Dwivedi, A. K. 2017. Researches in water pollution: A review. Int. Res. J. Natural Appl. Sci., 4(1):118-142.
  8. CPCB. 2018. River stretches for restoration of water quality, statewise and priority. Central Pollution Control Board, New Delhi.
  9. Knapp, J. S. and K.C.A. Bromley-Challoner. 2003. Recalcitrant organic compounds. In Handbook of water and wastewater microbiology. Ed D. Mara and N. Horan. Academic Press, United Kingdom. pp 559–595.
  10. Lele, S., et al. 2013. Water management in Arkavathy basin: A situation analysis. Environment and development, Discussion paper no.1. Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment, Bengaluru.
  11. Times of India. 2018. 17 polluted rivers: Karnataka to make them fit for bathing. Avalable at : www. timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/17-polluted-rivers-karnataka-to-make-them-fit-for-bathing/articleshow/66875369.cms.
  12. Moran, S. 2018. Industrial effluent characterization and treatment objectives. In An applied guide to water and effluent treatment plant design. Heinemann, Butterworth. pp 221-229.
  13. Cifrian, E., et al. 2006. Set of indicators on waste needed to support environmental information management. Chemistry and sustainable development-abstracts book 2.
  14. Atkinson, G. and K. Hamilton. Accounting for progress: Indicators for sustainable development. Env. Sci. Policy Sustain. Develop., 38(7):16–44.
  15. Mickwitz, P., et al. 2006. Regional eco-efficiency indicators – a participatory approach. J. Cleaner Prod., 14 (18):1603-1611.
  16. Sikdar, S.K. 2003. Sustainable development and sustainability metrics. AIChE J., 49(8):1928–1932.
  17. EEA. 2005. EEA core set of indicators-Guide (EEA technical report no 1/2005). European Environmental Agency.
  18. Jesinghaus, J. 1997. Indicators for decision-making. European Commision, JRC/ISIS/MIA, TP 361, I-21020 Ispra (VA).
  19. Fatta, D. and S. Mol. 2003. Assessment of information related to waste and materials flows- A catalogue of methods and tools. European Environmental Agency.
  20. Cifrian, E., et al. 2010. Indicators for valourization of municipal solid waste and special waste. Waste Biomass Valourization. 1(4):479–486. 
  21. Donnelly, A., et al. 2007. Selecting environmental indicator for use in strategic environmental assessment. Env. Impact Assess. Rev., 27(2):161–175.
  22. Bossel, H. 2001. Assessing viability and sustain-ability: a systems-based approach for deriving comprehensive indicator sets. Conser. Ecol., 5(2):12.
  23. Saisana, M. and A. Saltelli. 2011. Rankings and ratings: Instructions for use. Hague J. Rule Law. 3:247-268.
  24. Weidema, B. P., et al. 2008. Carbon footprint. J. Ind. Ecol., 12(1): 3–6. 
  25. Ridoutt, B. G. and S. Pfister. 2012. A new water footprint calculation method integrating consumptive and degradative water use into a single stand-alone weighted indicator. the Int. J. Life Cycle Assess., 18(1):204–207. 
  26. Sheldon, R. A. 2017. The E-factor 25 years on: The rise of green chemistry and sustainability. Green Chem.,19:18-43.
  27. Henderson, R. K., J. Kindervater and J. B. Manley. 2007. Lessons learned through measuring green chemistry performance – The pharmaceutical experience. ACS Green Chemistry Institute Pharmaceutical Roundtable.
  28. Jimenez-Gonzalez, C., et al. 2011. Using the right green yardstick: Why process mass intensity is used in the pharmaceutical industry to drive more sustainable processes. Organic Process Res. Develop., 15(4):912–917. 
  29. Soni, N., R. Christian and N. Jariwala. 2016. Pollution potential ranking of industries using classical TODIM method. J. Env. Prot., 7:1645-1656.
  30. Roschangar, F., R. A. Sheldon and C. H. Senanayake. 2015. Overcoming barriers to green chemistry in the pharmaceutical industry – the green aspiration level™ concept. Green Chem., 17(2):752–768. 
  31. Tobiszewski, M., et al. 2015. Green chemistry metrics with special reference to green analytical chemistry. Molecules. 20(6):10928–10946. 
  32. Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Towards the circular economy economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition. Available at : www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/assets/downloads/publications /Ellen-MacArthur-Foundation-Towards-the-Circular-Economy-vol.1.pdf.
  33. Down to Earth. 2015. Effluent treatment plants have not proved effective, July 4. Available at : www.down toearth.org.in/interviews/effluent-treatment-plants-have-not-proved-effective-20303.
  34. Gadipelly, C., et al. 2014. Pharmaceutical industry wastewater: Review of the technologies for water treatment and reuse. Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 53(29):11571–11592.
  35. Sengupta, B. 2007. Advanced methods for treatment of textile industry effluents. Resource recycling series ReRes/7/2007. Central Pollution Control Board.
  36. Speight, J. G. 2017. Chemical transformations in the environment. In Environmental organic chemistry for engineers. pp 305–353.
  37. Trivedy, R. K. and P. K. Goel. 1986. Chemical and biological method for water pollution studies (vol 6). Environmental publication, Karad. pp 10-12.
  38. Namieœnik, J. and A. Rabajczyk. 2010. The speciation and physico-chemical forms of metals in surface waters and sediments. Chem. Speciation Bioavailability. 22:1-24.
  39. Faust, M., et al. 2001. Predicting the joint algal toxicity of multi-component s-triazine mixtures at low-effect concentrations of individual toxicants. Aquat. Toxicol., 56(1):13–32.
  40. Fent, K., A. A. Weston and D. Caminada. 2006. Ecotoxicology of human pharmaceuticals. Aquat. Toxicol.,76:122-159.
  41. Sutherland, K. 2007. Back to basics: Industrial waste liquid treatment. Filtration Sep., 44(9) : 25–27.
  42. Hughes, R., G. Ho and K. Mathew. 2006. Setting effluent quality standards. In Municipal wastewater management in developing countries (chapter 2). Ed Z. Ujang and M. Henze. IWA Publishing.
  43. Nielsen, P.H., et al. 1992. Transformation of wastewater in sewer systems-a review. Water Sci. Tech., 25(6):17-31.
  44. Raunkjaer, K., T. H. Jacobsen and P.H. Nielsen. 1994. Measurement of pools of protein, carbohydrate and lipid in domestic wastewater. Water Res., 28(2):251-262.
  45. Chapman, D. 1992. Water quality assessments – A guide to use of biota, sediments and water in environmental monitoring (2nd edn).
  46. Keith, L. H. 1987. Chemical characterization of industrial wastewaters by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Sci. Total Env., 3(1):87-102.
  47. Dsikowitzky, L. and J. Schwarzbauer. 2014. Industrial organic contaminants: identification, toxicity and fate in the environment. Env. Chem. Letters.12:371-386.
  48. European Commission Directive 2008/98/EC on Waste (Waste Framework Directive). 2016. Available at : http://ec.europa. eu/environment/waste/framework/.
  49. Veleva, V. R., et al. 2018. Benchmarking green chemistry adoption by the Indian pharmaceutical supply chain. Green Chem. Letters Reviews. 11(4): 439-456.
  50. Muralikrishna, I. V. and V. Manickam. 2017. Industrial wastewater treatment technologies, recycling and reuse. In Environmental management, science and engineering for industry (chapter 13). pp 295-336.
  51. Quist-Jensen, et al. 2016. Reclamation of sodium sulphate from industrial wastewater by using mem brane distillation and membrane crystallization. Desalination. 401:112–119.
  52. Bieber, S., et al. 2018. Management strategies for trace organic chemicals in water – A review of international approaches. Chemosphere. 195: 410–426.
  53. Kim, H. Y. 2017. Statistical notes for clinical researchers: Chi-squared test and Fisher’s exact test. Resto-rative Dentistry Endodontics. 42(2): 152-155.
  54. D’Sa, S. and D. Patnaik. 2020. The impact of the pharmaceutical industry of Hyderabad. In Water management in South Asia: Socio-economic, infrastructural, environmental and institutional aspects. Ed H. Magsi, S. Sen and T.P. Dentinho. Springer, Belgium. pp. 23-51.