Industrial Heavy Metals

Oil refineries and coal-fired power plants incur heavy fines for discharging water having selenium levels greater than the EPA’s 50 parts-per-billion (ppb) limit.   Sludge lagoon water is treated repeatedly until the selenium levels are acceptable.  An issue is the monitoring.  Traditional lab-based, batch, contaminant monitoring is inefficient, expensive and it misses contamination spikes.

The monitoring issues with the metal finishers are (a) environmental compliance and (b) process optimization.  Currently, they employ on-line monitoring for pH, temperature and sometimes total dissolved solids.  All their monitoring for metals is done by batch methods – taking samples to labs for analysis.  The feedback occurs too late to prevent or report excursions.

These companies must treat their water discharges, removing metals before they are discharged into the environment.  For some, the frequency of incidents and their potential for excessive fines or even closure is a real risk.  For others they over-treat resulting in excessive costs and providing another sales target profile.  Most accidental discharges occur due to the facilities’ inability to respond to incidents because of the lack of real- time monitoring.

The use of real-time detection is twofold; they can adjust their processes upstream of primary treatment and then monitor their discharges post-treatment.  The sales expectation for this segment is one-half of these companies and those will need multiple detectors.

 US Market  NY  PA  Total US  NAICS  Sources
 Coal-fired generating units – 2013  48  78  1,522  2
 Oil refineries -2013  0  4  143  3
 Metal finishers – 2006  2,946  4
 Metal Casting  2,336
 Fabricated Metal Products – 2007  19,298  12,433  60,897  332  5
 Primary Metal Mfg – 2007  331  385  4,720
 Chemical Manufacturers – 2007  577  624  13,789  325  6
 Plastics & Rubber Products – 2007  62  662  14,347  326
 US Industrial Market  20,856  14,186  100,700



These companies need and want the monitor product.  Price point is not a factor.  The price for a single metal monitor will be $3,500 before sales commissions; multiple targets will cost more.


For all these, the product will be a custom monitor, requiring calibration at Quansor using a customer-supplied challenge water, as many will involve multiple target metals in a single monitor.  Quansor will charge a calibration fee; about $1,875 which will cover cost.  This has the effect of lengthening the sales cycle and impacting cash flow.  Quansor charge a down payment to offset that issue.