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Alkali Safety: A Comprehensive Explanation in Wastewater Treatment

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

Working in wastewater treatment can be dangerous due to the risk of slips, falls, exposure to harmful gases, and the need to work in and around large bodies of water. While some risks are inevitable, others can be mitigated by selecting safer chemicals during treatment.

WWTP operator showing potential risks in the workplace

Plant managers are responsible for managing these risks and complying with state and federal regulations while being monitored by safety and environmental protection agencies.

As an industry-leading magnesium hydroxide (MgOH2) and magnesium oxide (MgO) manufacturer, we are committed to product safety and efficiency to lessen the burden on our end users.

This post compares three common alkalis for wastewater treatment and explains why Garrison Minerals' magnesium products are the safest on the market today.

  • Sodium hydroxide, also known as "caustic" or "caustic soda."

  • Calcium hydroxide, which is commonly referred to as "lime" or "hydrated lime."

  • Magnesium hydroxide, cleverly shortened to "mag."


TOXIC Caustic Soda Tank



Regarding wastewater treatment, caustic soda or sodium hydroxide has historically been popular for boosting alkalinity and neutralizing acids mainly because of its solubility.

However, the substance is highly concentrated and can seriously threaten those handling it. Operators must take proper precautions to ensure safety. Caustic soda exposure can cause various issues, including allergic reactions, eye, skin, and lung burns, and temporary hair loss. Handling the substance with precision, care, and proper training is essential to avoid any negative consequences to the plant or operator.

Hazards of Sodium Hydroxide


Calcium Hydroxide Sample



It's a highly effective substance used in wastewater treatment due to its multiple benefits, including pH regulation and metal precipitation.

That said, it can be extremely hazardous if it comes into contact with certain materials. For instance, lime slurry should never mix with acidic substances or flammable materials, which can lead to dangerous outcomes. Additionally, it's essential to take proper precautions when working with lime slurry, as prolonged or repeated exposure to the skin can cause irritant dermatitis or alkaline burns. If lime dust or slurry gets into the eyes, it can cause permanent damage due to the severity of the alkaline burns.

Hazards of Calcium Hydroxide


Sample of magnesium hydroxide
Magnesium Hydroxide



In recent years, Mag has emerged as a highly effective and reliable alternative to traditional pH control agents like caustic soda and lime. This is due to its exceptional ability to stabilize pH levels and provide consistent neutralization without causing harm to microorganisms.

Treatment plant operators have embraced this cost-effective and safe solution, which offers numerous benefits over its counterparts. One of the most advantageous features of magnesium hydroxide is its solubility only in acidic conditions, which significantly enhances handling safety and reduces operating costs. In light of these impressive characteristics, it's no wonder that magnesium hydroxide has become such a popular choice in wastewater treatment.

Non Hazardous Magnesium Hydroxide


A Commitment to Wastewater Treatment Safety

At Garrison Minerals, our top priority is to ensure that our manufacturing processes promote environmental responsibility and plant safety. We achieve this through our innovative production techniques, which enable us to manufacture nontoxic magnesium-based products that are safe for the environment and treatment plant operators.

fifty pound bag of alkapHix® magnesium hydroxide

Our flagship product, AlkapHix® Magnesium Hydroxide, is a prime example of our commitment to safety and environmental responsibility. By choosing AlkapHix®, you are not only adopting a safer treatment plan for your needs but also supporting a company committed to positively impacting the environment.

Join us today in our mission to promote safety and sustainability through responsible manufacturing practices.


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