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Zero Effluent Discharge Solution implemented at Isagro-Asia Agrochemicals, Ankleshwar, Gujarat

The Company:

The Isagro Group, headquartered in Italy, is today an international and integrated developer and producer of plant protection products for the world market. It is a global company both in terms of its worldwide presence, with a commercial network built up over the years through strategic alliances and more recently integrated with a series of acquisitions, and in terms of its product portfolio and research capacity, which span the whole sector of crop protection and include biological pesticides.

The decision to opt for growth was prompted by an analysis of the attractive opportunities for a relatively small but dynamic and flexible operator in the world crop protection market. And acquisitions followed in rapid succession: early in 2001 Isagro bought a majority stake in the Milan-based biopesticides producer Biochem (then fully acquired at the end of 2002), and in the summer of that year signed agreements to take over the agrochemical branch of Caffaro and the agrochemical business of the Indian company RPG Life Sciences and renamed it as Isagro Asia Agrochemicals.

These moves tripled the Group’s turnover to €160 million, but in strategic terms the implications were far-reaching. Isagro now had significant production capacity both in Italy and abroad, had acquired valuable research and commercial know-how in key development markets, and had integrated its product offering, notably in the cupric fungicides sector. The Isagro Asia plant is located at Panoli, in the western Indian State of Gujarat. This plant is equipped with multi-purpose facilities for the manufacturing of technicals and formulations, together with packaging lines. Its activities also includes synthesis and formulation of pyrethroids. On a site of more than 130,000 square metres, the annual production capacity is 600 tons of pyrethroids and 5,000 tons of formulations.

The Problem:

The effluent generated from the production of the agro-chemicals has very high levels of COD, BOD and TDS. This effluent when sent to the conventional ETP would disturb it and treatment would not take place. The effluent was so complex that even when treated by the ETP, it could not achieve the parameters as required to discharge to the CETP or for agriculture. They then had to incinerate the entire quantity of effluent, the cost of which were very prohibitive. Because of the effluent treatment related problems production as hampered on a regular basis.

For its effluent treatment, Mr. S. K. Kothari, General Manager, Manufacturing at Isagro Asia Agrochemicals Pvt. Ltd., approached Chem Process Systems Pvt. Ltd., Ahmedabad, a name in the Vacuum & Evaporation Technology, for a comprehensive solution for Effluent Evaporation.

The Solution:

The technical team at Chem Process Systems, after a thorough analysis, concluded that the following were to be addressed simultaneously:

  • Stream Segregation
  • Volatiles Removal
  • Selection of Materials of Construction
  • Water Recovery
  • Salt/Solids Generation from concentrate
  • Incineration of residual sludge

Chem Process suggested the segregation of streams, after which the simpler streams would be sent to the ETP for treatment, the treated water from which would be used for gardening purposes.

The characteristics of the complex effluent streams were analyzed and it was found that they were high in chlorides and various other mixed components having salting properties. Also the behaviour of the effluent duringvarious tests determined the application of a Multiple Effect Evaporation Plant consisting of a Single Effect Falling Film followed by Double Effect Forced Circulation.

Since the effluent contains mainly chlorides, the choice for the material of construction was narrowed down to either Titanium or Cupronickel. As Austenitic Stainless Steels are also corroded by the chlorides at high temperatures, Chem did not advise the same to handle effluent containing largely chlorides. Cupronickel was selected as presence of free ammonia was not detected.

Before sending the effluent to the Evaporator, it was sent through a stripper, operating under low vacuum, to remove the low volatiles with high COD’s. The resultant effluent is then fed into the Multiple Effect Evaporation Plant. More than 80% of the water is recovered, while the 20% concentrated effluent is sent to the settler for the salt recovery. The salt is decanted and the bleed is sent to the incinerator. The salt recovered is of a mixed type and is sent to solid waste disposal sites.

Analysis of the Inlet to the Evaporation Plant

Sr. No




1 Total Qty KL/day 60
2 TDS Mg/ltr 210000 – 235000
3 COD Mg/ltr 45000 – 50000

Analysis of the Condensate Recovered

Sr. No




1 Total Qty KL/day 56
2 TDS Mg/ltr 300 – 325
3 COD Mg/ltr 800 – 1200
4 pH 7 – 8


The Benefits:

  • Effluent free agrochemicals manufacturing unit
  • Environmental Problems avoided
  • Avoidance of liability costs
  • Compliance to governmental norms due to achievement of
    Zero Effluent Discharge
  • Expansion of facilities possible
  • Un-interrupted production
  • Enhancement in profits due to increase in production
  • Improved corporate image and brand equity

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