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Project Briefs

Major Photographic Film and Chemical Manufacturing Facility Efficiently Recovers Silver and Purifies Wastewater

Project Overview

At a leading photographic film and chemical manufacturing facility in Southeast US, valuable metal resources were lost to the plant’s highly complex and variable wastewater streams. SAMCO helped the client develop a state-of-the-art silver recovery wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) to capture these resources despite the challenging environment.

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Treat variable wastewater streams
for purification and to recover
valuable metal waste.

  • Reduce grease to < 30 ppm
  • Reduce total suspended solids
    (TSS) to < 30 ppm
  • Reduce Chemical Oxygen Demand < 500ppm
  • Reduce Silver to < 1ppm

Scope of Service

The client collaborated with SAMCO to create a comprehensive fast- track solution that comprised a treatability study, detailed design/ engineering, system fabrication, controls integration, field construction, commission, and startup.


  • Stringent discharge limits
  • Highly complex contaminants and varied flow
  • Loss of valuable silver resources
  • Minimal operator availability


To manage complex contaminants and varied flow, the client worked with SAMCO to utilize batch equalization and homogenization strategies, which greatly reduced chemical feed and sludge waste. To optimize investment return with a one-year payback, the design included a dissolved air flotation (DAF) system and clarifier to remove suspended solids, recover silver, and reduce sludge waste and chemical feed, while a screw press facilitated lower moisture and higher silver recovery. A prepackaged system was utilized to implement a fast-track solution, which included a modular design with future expansion capabilities. Due to limited operator availability, the system included programmable logic controllers (PLC) featuring remote telemetry capabilities, automating the monitoring of flow, temperature, pressure, resistivity, and pH.


Project deliverables and equipment included:

  • Influent pumps
  • Equalization tanks
  • Chemical feeds
  • Reaction tank units
  • DAF system
  • Multimedia filters
  • Conventional clarifier
  • Sludge handling/screw press
  • Biological system
  • Piping racks, stairs, platforms
  • PLC Controls/SCADA