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Waste from microelectronics processing can be a major source of environmental pollution. We help reach higher standards of wastewater treatment for environmental discharge.

Semiconductor wastewaters are inherently difficult to treat. They are usually characterized by strong color, high chemical oxygen demand (COD), high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) and heavy metals, resulting in potential contamination of the environment. Conventionally, chemical coagulation and biological treatment are used to treat wastewater before discharge.

The industrial standard method for removing contaminating metal ions from a wastewater stream is by raising the pH to a level that causes the formation of insoluble metal hydroxide precipitates.

Besides is a graph showing the solubility of common heavy metal ions versus pH.

This can be complex and dangerous process.  As we can see in the graph some metal ions need the pH adjusted to fairly high pH’s to achieve the formation of insoluble metal hydroxide precipitates.


AMALGAM is a safe, cost-effective and earth-friendly treatment alternative, that offers a multitude of benefits:

More alkalinity than caustic soda

When an alkaline compound dissolves in water, it produces hydroxide ions, OH. These ions are responsible for the alkalinity of the solution.

Because magnesium hydroxide (Mg(OH)2) provides two (2) hydroxides for alkalinity compared to one (1) with NaOH (caustic soda), the usage rate for Mg(OH)2 is much less than that required for NaOH.

Lower cost-per-pound ≠ cheaper

While AMALGAM-60 is typically more expensive then 50% NaOH on a “price per unit” basis, it is significantly less expensive in use – because every 1.0 lb of 50% NaOH can be replaced by 0.6 lbs of 60% Mg(OH)2 to provide the same number of moles of hydroxide (OH) for pH neutralization.

Magnesium hydroxide unequally aids metal ion precipitation.

Magnesium Hydroxide provides two different pH environments within the same solution matrix. Most obviously, as Mg(OH)2 dissolves in water it releases free hydroxide ions (OH) that neutralize any acidity in the water, driving an increase in the bulk water pH.

Less obviously, any micron-sized particles of Mg(OH)2 that have yet to dissolve possess a pH within their micro-environment that will be in the range of 9 to 11, providing a nucleation site for those metal ions that form insoluble hydroxides at higher pH values.

Safer and greener means more savings

Unlike caustic soda, AMALGAM is non-hazardous and non-corrosive, which makes it easier and safer to handle. Spill is not reportable.

Because magnesium is a macronutrient – it is the core element of chlorophyll (makes everything green!) – it is also beneficial to the environment while sodium is a salinity hazard.

Magnesium also has coagulation properties that sodium does not. This can result in reduced sludge volume and reduced sludge hauling fees.

Customer Stories

Improving the Sustainability of Water Treatment \ Food & Beverage
Replacing caustic soda with magnesium hydroxide for metal ion precipitation

A microelectronics manufacturer in the Pacific Northwest was using a complex system of chemical additions in order to effectively remove

IER is a supplier of environmentally friendly water and wastewater treatment chemicals and equipment.

IER offers Magnesium Hydroxide-based products as safe, earth-friendly alternatives to the use of caustic soda for pH neutralization, along with proprietary polymer solids removal technologies.

Owned by Calix, an Australian company with global operations, IER brings 20 years of experience working with plant engineers and operators to offer the most cost-effective solutions for their specific needs.

Find out more about us

High quality products | Proactive customer service

We take pride in providing high-quality products, technical credibility in the applications of water, process water, and wastewater treatment, dedicated delivery specialists and equipment, and proactive on-site technical service.


Because we truly care about sanitation

Almost 2 billion people do not have a decent toilet or access to basic and safely managed sanitation. In many cases, faeces and urine end up untreated in the environment, contaminating it and threatening people’s health.

This is why IER supports WaterAid programs, to facilitate access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene in the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities.

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Relevant articles

December 17, 2020 \ Calix Global Challenges
pH & Alkalinity – How are they related?

The relationship between pH & alkalinity is intimately connected with the chemistry of the aqueous bicarbonate equilibrium system. 

September 02, 2020 \ Improving the Sustainability of Water Treatment
Webinar – Mine and mineral processing water neutralisation and metal precipitation using ACTI-Mag

During the webinar, Michael Wheatland demonstrates how gold, copper, coal and other mines around Australia are using ACTI-Mag to neutralise process or waste water to achieve better costs, safer process and a better environmental outcome.

August 05, 2020 \ Improving the Sustainability of Water Treatment
Magnesium hydroxide vs caustic soda / sodium hydroxide demonstration

A safe and cost effective alternative to the use of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) for wastewater alkalinity and pH adjustment.


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