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Wastewater Treatment: A Delicate Balance

By Jared Alder, MS

The treatment of wastewater is a delicate balance of chemical, biological, and mechanical processes. Treatment operators need to find a happy medium to provide high-quality treatment, while staying within budgets and all the while ensuring they meet environmental compliance. Operators are expected to deal with a constantly varying treatment system, such as from climate changes, human usage patterns, and more. With all of the possible changes, budget constraints, and regulator requirements, finding a balance can be quite challenging.

To keep effluent within the parameters of their facility permits, operators must constantly evaluate the chemical makeup of their treatment systems and determine the precise amounts of chemicals that should be applied to get a high-quality discharge. [Read more…]

Nitrification and Denitrification in Wastewater Activated Sludge

By Heather Jennings, PE

The great teetertotter of wastewater is the nitrification and denitrification cycle in activated sludge wastewater systems. It takes both to convert ammonia to nitrogen gas! Both processes feed off of and support each other but, in some ways, they have competing needs.

Nitrification consists of ripping off the hydrogen in ammonia and adding oxygen to make nitrates and nitritesthis is accomplished by bacteria that we call nitrifiers. You might be already familiar with some of these nitrifiers, such as Nitrosomonas, Nitrobacter, etc. I, personally, call nitrifiers the “divas” of wastewater. They can only tolerate specific conditions to really thrivesuch as a pH range of 6.58.0. They also require 7.1 lb of alkalinity for every 1 lb of ammonia that is oxidized, and they prefer temperatures at 77°F with DOs (dissolved oxygen levels) above 2mg/L. Retention times need to be longer than five hours, and the F:M (food to microorganism) ratios must ideally be less than 0.25. Basically, nitrifiers are screaming for their lattes to be a specific temperature and everything just right or they will refuse to work! Sadly, we can’t fire them. We have to learn how to meet their needs to get any nitrification done.   [Read more…]

Nitrification 101

By Heather Jennings, PE

Today we are going to focus on nitrifiers, those wastewater treatment autotrophs that get energy from oxidizing ammonia. (Autotrophs are microorganisms that produce complex organic compounds using inorganic carbon from simple substances as a food source.) Oxidizing ammonia is a fancy way of saying ripping off hydrogens to stick oxygens onto nitrogen—the essence of nitrification.

In wastewater treatment we rely on bacteria to perform nitrification. While Nitrobacter and Nitrosomonas are the most commonly recognized, they are only part of a suite of autotrophic nitrifying bacteria that do the job. Mind you, there are also heterotrophic nitrifiers that are part of the floc-forming bacteria that help in the oxidation of ammonium, but we’re going to focus on the autotrophs this time around. [Read more…]

Fatberg: The Tip of the Wipes Iceberg Destroying Wastewater Infrastructure

lagoon

Wastewater treatment operators manually removing wipes from a lagoon

By Jael Batty

The fatberg discovered in Great Britain sewers has raised consumer awareness about disposable wipes blockages. But the 140-ton mass is just the tip of the wipes iceberg that is destroying our wastewater infrastructure. Similar fatbergs are clogging sewers in large cities around the world.  Continue reading

Pulp and Paper Wastewater Solutions

Pulp and Paper Processing Plant
Experience the world’s most efficient wastewater remediation products, for operational stability of pulp and paper wastewater treatment facilities.
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Food Processing Wastewater Treatment Solutions

Cheese processing plant
Experience the world’s most efficient wastewater remediation products, for operational stability of food processing wastewater treatment facilities.
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Municipal Wastewater Solutions

Wastewater Treatment Plant
Experience the world’s most efficient wastewater remediation products, for operational stability of municipal wastewater treatment plants.
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Lower Operating Costs with Super Phos®

Paper Mill Wastewater Treatment System

Paper Mill Wastewater Treatment System

Project Summary

A paper mill wastewater treatment facility uses diammonium phosphate to maintain a healthy microbial population. These microorganisms, which break down the organic matter, require the correct concentration of available phosphorus, without which the microorganisms are unable to grow and reproduce.
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Are You Using Wastewater Bioindicators?

By Jael Batty

Water quality can be evaluated quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively through the use of bioindicators. The presence and activities of microorganisms can indicate changes in system operations and point to the source and magnitude of an issue.1

amoebae

amoebae

Protozoa

Approximately 4% of the microorganisms in wastewater are protozoa, which are single-celled aerobic microorganisms. Protozoa improve effluent clarity by digesting suspended particles and bacteria. Read more about wastewater bioindicators

Healthy Bacteria Are Vital to Wastewater Treatment

bacteria

By Jael Batty

Activated sludge is a mixture of microorganisms that come in contact with and digest biodegradable materials (food) from wastewater. Once most of the material is removed from the wastewater, microorganisms form floc and settle out as sludge. Some type of microorganism will always grow in the system. The organisms that will dominate will be the ones that are best suited to the environment.1

Microorganisms that are natural to the wastewater environment play a vital role in the wastewater treatment process. Beneficial bacteria, protozoa, metazoa, algae, and fungi feed on organic material in wastewater, breaking it down. Bacteria clump together, or floc, forming masses that settle and separate from wastewater liquids. This settled mass is called sludge. This week, we’re going to talk specifically about wastewater bacteria. Read more about wastewater bacteria

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