Properties of Magnesium Hydroxide for Wastewater Treatment

DOUG KELLEY \ December 14, 2022

Various forms of antacids have been used to calm upset stomachs for decades, and the benefits of magnesium hydroxide for acid indigestion have been known since the early 1800s. The brand Phillips’ Milk of Magnesia was first established in 1872 as an 8% magnesium hydroxide medicinal product. Despite being known for two centuries as a well-respected medicinal treatment, the use of magnesium hydroxide to treat low pH and low alkalinity wastewater has only recently become accepted in the wastewater treatment marketplace.

The reason for mentioning the medicinal benefits of Milk of Magnesia is that the biological processes that occur in our stomachs are quite similar, though on a much smaller scale, to what happens aerobically and anaerobically in a wastewater treatment facility. Whether in our upset stomachs or within a multi-million-gallon wastewater treatment plant, the pH and alkalinity need to be sufficient and stable for bacteria to optimally convert carbonaceous wastewater contaminants into methane and carbon dioxide, and ammonia into nitrogen gas.

In the following series of articles, we will focus on the properties of magnesium hydroxide that make it the most powerful, and yet most gentle, additive in the market for providing sufficient and stable pH and alkalinity for wastewater treatment.

The articles will focus on three primary wastewater applications: industrial wastewater pretreatment, the wastewater collection system, and the wastewater treatment plant.

To read the articles, click the links below:

Part One: Industrial Wastewater Pretreatment 

Part Two: Wastewater Collection System

Part Three: Wastewater Treatment Plants


1.) Glasdam S.M., Glasdam S., Peters G.H.  The Importance of Magnesium in the Human Body: A Systematic Literature Review. Adv. Clin. Chem. 2016, 73, 169-193. 

2.) De Baaij J.H., Hoenderop J.G., Bindels R.J.  Magnesium in man: Implications for health and disease. Physiol. Rev. 2015, 95, 1-46.


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ALKA-Mag+ Mg(OH)2: alternative to caustic soda for wastewater treatment – with IER’s Lufkin TX facility

A safe and cost-effective alternative to the use of sodium hydroxide [caustic soda, NaOH] for wastewater alkalinity and pH adjustment

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Before coming to work at IER Gunnar lived in San Francisco where he waited tables during the day, and in

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