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two stages were identical and capable of being alternated as first and second stage.

One would choose


double filtration if excessive bed depths were required for single stage filters which could be a cause of
ventilation problems. With the more recent development of synthetic plastic media, which are capable of
being operated at high loadings, it is now more usual to specify two-stage filtration with a high rate plastic
media filter as the first stage.

In both these methods of operation, provided adequate volume of media is available, highly nitrated
effluents may be obtained. Where a wastewater of low alkalinity is to be treated (such as is common in
SA’s coastal regions) a corrosive effluent may result. This can be ameliorated to some extent by the use
of recirculation but in many plants the addition of lime to increase alkalinity is practiced. Where two-stage
or double filtration is used, intermediate humus removal is desirable but not essential.

8.2.3 DESIGN PARAMETERS

8.2.3.1 Load Assessment

The load applied to a filter is the rate at which substrate or nutrient is applied to the bio-mass on the
media and may be expressed as the product of strength and volume. This is expressed as grams COD or
BOD per cubic metre per day based on ADWF.

8.2.3.2 Design Loadings

Table 8.2.1 below is a guide to loading rates for biological filters to provide an acceptable quality effluent,
based on the following conditions:
1. Winter conditions implying one month in which the monthly average sewage temperature is 15°C
2. Media is crushed rock of 40 mm to 63 mm size
3. Analysis is of composite samples
4. The COD of a composite sample of settled sewage taken at regular intervals through the day does
not exceed 750 mg/l
5. Recirculation of at least 1:1 is practised.
Higher temperature, smaller size stone (within limits) and lower strength sewage are all factors which may
permit higher loadings to be used. However, the higher the quality sought in the final effluent, the less this
latitude in loading becomes. It should be noted that wide variations in the performance of biological filters
at similar organic loading rates occur and that the values cited in Table 8.2.1 and Table 8.2.2 are only
indicative.

Loading rates for biological filters in areas not subjected to severe winter conditions, where for example
the minimum monthly average sewage temperature is 18°C or above, may be increased by between 25
to 40% of the figures given in the Table 8.2.1 above. Biofilters are not efficient in ammonia removal in

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