The objective of this work is to analyze a system for evaporating the water in tannery effluent (soak liquor). This system is designed based on the principle of forced convective evaporation. Soak liquor is made to flow as a thin film and air is drawn against the falling liquor film. This facilitates the direct contact heat and mass trasfer between liquor and air. The system is modeled by applying the energy and mass balance. A parametric study has been carried out to find out the effect of operating parameters on the rate of evaporation. An experimental setup has been constructed and experiments have been conducted which prove the viability of the system. Theoretical performance matches closely with that of experiments. It is shown that the proposed forced convective evaporation system is better than existing methods of evaporation of tannery effluent in terms of evaporation rate as well as area requirement. © 2003 Elsevier Science ltd.