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Emerging Technologies…

…and Approaches to Minimize Discharges into Lake Michigan
A collaborative project of the Purdue University Calumet Water Institute and Argonne National Laboratory


As industries advance important expansion/developmental initiatives, they face a technological challenge of balancing growth with environmental responsibility and compliance with regulatory legislation aimed at protecting the Great Lakes. Pollution control technologies that are sustainable over the long term need to be identified to ensure both economic viability of industry investment and environmental protection.

Energy company BP is planning a $3.8 billion expansion and modernization of its Whiting, Ind., refinery to process more Canadian heavy crude oil. Determining ways to reduce pollutant discharges from the treatment of this new crude oil below future regulatory limits requires the exploration and assessment of emerging technologies that go beyond currently adopted technological options. Thus, BP has provided the impetus and funding for this study.


Working collaboratively, the Purdue Calumet Water Institute and Argonne National Laboratory seek to identify emerging technologies that may be used to control discharges from refinery processes. Specifically, technologies are sought that allow:

  • increased removal of ammonia and total suspended solids (TSS) from refinery wastewater derived in processing more Canadian crude, and
  • advanced reduction/removal of mercury, vanadium and other heavy metals from industrial wastewater to meet future, stringent regulatory limits.
  • This project requires not only screening and identifying technologies for this purpose, but also conducting a comparative analysis of related discharge issues that may help policymakers better understand and address environmental concerns. This project also will help technology developers better identify the most pressing needs for new technologies.

    Ultimately, satisfactory completion of this project will provide greater understanding about the applicability, reliability and sustainability of emerging technologies to address relevant wastewater treatment needs.

    Short Term Tasks

  • Screen emerging technologies in response to immediate desires of the BP Whiting Refinery to reduce discharges of ammonia and total suspended solids after refinery modernization.
  • Develop a database that includes discharge sources for the lower portion of the Lake Michigan basin.

    Longer Term Tasks
  • Identify emerging technologies for use in helping BP’s Whiting Refinery meet limits specified by its new discharge permit being implemented in 2012. Specifically, technologies are needed for use in the removal of such contaminants as mercury to meet the new permit limit of 1.3 ppt monthly average.
  • Expand the discharge database to cover the entire Lake Michigan basin.

    To view our project scope in more detail, please click here.
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