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Review for CHE 507E-Industrial Waste Management & Control

Conventional Wastewater Treatment

A.) Wastewater
Wastewater is any water that has been adversely affected in quality by human influence: It comprises
liquid waste discharged by domestic residences, commercial properties, industry, and/or agriculture and
can encompass a wide range of potential contaminants and concentrations. It also refers to the municipal
wastewater that contains a broad spectrum of contaminants resulting from the mixing of wastewaters
from different sources
Sewage correctly defined is the subset of wastewater that is contaminated with feces or urine, but is
often used to mean any waste water. Hence, “sewage" includes domestic, municipal, or industrial liquid
waste products disposed of, usually via a pipe or sewer or similar structure.
Two general categories of wastewaters, but not entirely separable, are:  
1.) Domestic wastewaters- originate principally from domestic, household activities but will usually
include waters discharged from commercial and business buildings and institutions as well as ground
water.  Surface and storm waters may also be present.  Domestic wastewaters are usually of a
predictable quality and quantity.
2.) Industrial wastewaters- originate from manufacturing processes, are usually of a more variable
character, and are often more difficult to treat than domestic wastes.  While domestic wastewaters
can be dealt with in general terms with respect to character and treatment, industrial wastewaters
must be examined on an industry-by-industry basis. In some locations industrial wastewater
discharges are collected together with other community wastewaters and the mixed wastes are treated
together. In other instances, the industry may provide some pretreatment or partial treatment of its
wastewaters prior to discharge to the municipal sewers.  In still other situations, the volume and
character of the industrial waste is such that separate collection and disposal is necessary. 
B.) Conventional wastewater treatment
Conventional wastewater treatment is a combination of physical, chemical, and biological processes and
operations to remove solids, organic matter and, sometimes, nutrients from wastewater. A wastewater
treatment plant may include these steps/stages :

Influent (raw wastewater)

The primary function is to reduce (if not eliminate) constituents (sticks, rags, plastics,
Stage I sand, gravels . . etc) that may cause maintenance/operational problems (clogs, jams,
Preliminary excessive wears) on the treatment operations especially on the downstream processes
Treatment and ancillary system. Physical processes using equipments such as bar screens,
(physical process) comminutors & grit chambers are used.

The collected debris are usually disposed of in a landfill.

Scums are sent to sludge processing units
The objective is the removal of settleable organic and inorganic solids by settling/
Stage II sedimentation, and the removal of materials that will float (scum) by skimming.
Primary Approximately 25 to 50% of the incoming biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), 50 to
Treatment 70% of the total suspended solids (SS), and 65% of the oil and grease are removed
(physical process) during primary treatment. Soluble pollutants are not removed.

The sludge from the primary clarifier is sent to the sludge processing units

Main goal is removal of BOD5 and SS that are not removed in the primary treatment,
and is usually a biological process, and can remove more than 85% of the BOD and
Stage III* SS, but it does not remove significant amount of N, P, or heavy metals, nor does it
Secondary completely remove pathogenic bacteria and viruses. It is achieved using any or
Treatment combination of the 2 processes : a.) suspended growth (or suspended film) systems,
(usually biological and b.) attached growth or suspemded film) systems. Both be can be aerobic or
processes) anaerobic. Examples of biological processes are : activated sludge, trickling filters,
rotating biological reactors (RBC), lagoons (stabilization/oxidation/finishing ponds),
sludge The sludge from the secondary clarifier is sent to the sludge processing units
The purpose of disinfection is to substantially reduce (if not
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eliminate) the number of pathogens/microorganisms in the water to
be discharged back into environment. This can be done by adding
**for most domestic/ chlorine or by using UV or ozone..
industrial wastewater, the
treatment up to Stage III is sufficient, but if level of nutrients (N & P) &/or heavy metals are
high in influent wastewater, Tertiary/Advanced treatment maybe required.

Main purpose is removal of constituents that are not adequately removed during
Stage IV secondary treatment which could include heavy metals, nutrients such as N, P,
Tertiary/Advanced bacteria, viruses, and other constituents of concern. The process may include physical,
Treatment chemical, and biological processes, and could remove as much as 99% of the BOD, P,
(physical, chemical, SS, & bacteria ; 95% of N.; and can produce clean, sparkling, clear, odorless effluents
biological, process) indistinguishable from drinking water. Examples of tertiary processes : nitrification,
denitrification, reverse osmosis, ion exchange, biological P removal process, chemical

Disinfection process for P removal, . . . etc.*Most modern wastewater treament plants had
incorporated some aspects of tertiary treatment in Stage III (secondary treatment).
treated effluent discharged back to the environment (rivers, lakes, etc)

C.) Biological Treatment (Processes and Methods used in Secondary Treatment of Domestic Wastewater)
The 3 methods are used to accomplish secondary treatment: 1.) suspended growth, 2.) attached growth or
fixed film, 3.) the lagoon systems.
1.) The suspended growth - the most popular & commonly used is the Activated Sludge process.
 The suspended growth systems stir and suspend microorganisms in wastewater by aeration.
 As the microorganisms absorb organic matter and nutrients from the wastewater they grow/multiply.
 As the microorganisms grow/multiply in the aerated wastewater for several hours, they form sludge.
 The wastewater with sludge is sent to the clarifier where the sludge settle at the bottom and the
clear effluent (now treated wastewater) overflow on top for disinfection and release to water body.
 Some of the sludge is pumped back into the incoming wastewater to provide "seed" microorganisms
The remainder is sent on to a sludge treatment process.
2.) The attached growth or fixed film - commonly used are: the Trickling Filter, & the Rotating Biological
Trickling Filter
Trickling filter is anattached growth process i.e. process in which microorganisms responsible for
treatment are attached to an inert packing material. It is usually made of a cylindrical vessel filled
with packing materials such as any one of: rock, gravel, slag, sand, redwood, and a wide range of
plastic and other synthetic materials. The wastewater in trickling filter is distributed over the top
area of a vessel containing non-submerged packing material. Air circulation in the void space, by
either natural draft or blowers, provides oxygen for the microorganisms growing as an attached
biofilm. During operation, the organic material present in the wastewater is metabolised by the
biomass attached to the medium. The biological slime grows in thickness as the organic matter
abstracted from the flowing wastewater is synthesized into new cellular materials. The thickness of
the aerobic layer is limited by the depth of penetration of oxygen into the microbial layer. The
micro-organisms near the medium face enter the endogenous phase as the substrate is metabolised
before it can reach the micro-organisms near the medium face as a result of increased thickness of
the slime layer and loose their ability to cling to the media surface. The liquid then washes the slime
off the medium and a new slime layer starts to grow. This phenomenon of losing the slime layer is
called sloughing. The sloughed off film and treated wastewater are collected by an underdrainage
which also allows circulation of air through filter. The collected liquid is passed to a settling tank
used for solid- liquid separation.

Rotary Biological Contactor

A rotary biological contactor (RBC) consists of a series of discs mounted on a shaft which is driven so
that the discs rotate at right angles to the flow of sewage. The discs are usually made of plastic
(polythene, PVC, expanded polystyrene) and are contained in a trough so that about 40 percent of
their area is immersed. The discs are arranged in groups or packs with baffles between each group to
minimize surging or short-circuiting. With small units the trough is covered and large units are often
housed within buildings. This is to reduce the effect of weather on the active biofilm which becomes
attached to the disc surfaces. The shaft continually rotates at 1 to 2 rpm, and a layer of biological
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growth 2 to 4 mm thick is soon established on the wetted surface of each disk. The biological growth
that becomes attached to the disks assimilates the organic materials in the wastewater. Aeration is
provided by the rotating action, which exposes the disks to the air after contacting them with the
wastewater. Excess biomass is sheared off in the tank, where the rotating action of the disks maintain
the solids in suspension. Eventually, the flow of the wastewater carries these solids out of the system
and into a clarifier, where they are separated. By arranging several sets of disks in series, it is
possible to achieve a high degree of organic removal and nitrification.

3.) Lagoons (stabilization ponds)

Compared to packaged treatment plants, O2transfer in ponds are natural/direct into the water
surface. A plant, in contrast, must install an aerator to add oxygen to the water. The natural method
of aeration used by a sewage pond takes much longer than an aerator does to add oxygen to the
water. As a result, ponds treat sewage much more slowly than package plants do.  The minimum
detention time of a pond is 45 days In contrast, a package plant has a two to four hour detention time.
 And, since ponds must hold the wastewater much longer than package plants do, the ponds must also
have a much larger area to retain the sewage. If the time and area are available, sewage ponds are
very economical facilities to maintain. Package plants are more complicated to maintain and operate.

The three types of lagoons/ponds based on location within the treatment process are:
a.) raw sewage stabilization pond (primary treatment), oxidation pond (secondary treatment),
b.) oxidation pond (secondary treatment), and
c.) polishing or finishing pond (tertiary treatment).

The four types of lagoons/ponds based on type of respiration:

a.) Naturally Aerobic Lagoons- Dissolved oxygen is present throughout much of the depth of aerobic
lagoons. They tend to be much shallower than other lagoons, so sunlight and oxygen from air and
wind can better penetrate the wastewater. In general, they are better suited for warm, sunny
climates, where they are less likely to freeze. Wastewater usually must remain in aerobic lagoons
from 3 to 50 days to receive adequate treatment
b.) Aerated Lagoons- Aerated lagoons are common in small communities. These systems use aerators
to mix the contents of the pond and add oxygen to the wastewater. They are sometimes referred
to as partial-mix or complete-mix lagoons depending on the extent of aeration. Partial-mix aerated
lagoons are often anaerobic lagoons that have been adapted and upgraded to receive more
wastewater. Aeration makes treatment more efficient, which offsets energy costs in some cases.
Aerated lagoons require less land area and shorter detention times.
c.) Facultative lagoons- top layer is aerobic zone since oxygen is present. The wastewater in this
part of the lagoon receives oxygen from air, from algae, and from the agitation of the water
surface by wind. This zone also serves as a barrier for the odors from gases produced by the
treatment processes occurring in the lower layers. The middle layer is the intermediate, or
aerobic- anaerobic zone. Both aerobic and anaerobic conditions exist in this layer in varying
degrees. Depending on the specific conditions in any given part of this zone, different types of
bacteria and other organism that contribute to water treatment. The anaerobic zone is the layer
at the very bottom of the lagoon where no oxygen is present. This area includes a layer of sludge,
which forms from the solids that settle out of the wastewater. Here, wastewater is treated by
anaerobic bacteria, microscopic organisms, such as certain protozoa, and sludge worms, all of
which thrive in anaerobic conditions.
d.) Anaerobic Lagoons- anaerobic means "without oxygen", which describes the conditions inside
this type of lagoon. Anaerobic lagoons are most often used to treat animal wastes from dairies
and pig farms, high strengths commercial wastes or industrial wastes. Typically designed to hold
and treat wastewater from 20 to 150 days. They are relatively deep (usually 8 to 15 feet) and
work much like septic tanks. Inside an anaerobic lagoon, solids in the wastewater separate and
settle into layers. The top layer consists of grease, scum, and other floating materials. The layer
of sludge that settles at the bottom of an anaerobic lagoon eventually accumulates and must be
removed. The wastewater that leaves an anaerobic lagoon will require further treatment. Odor
can be a problem with anaerobic lagoons. However, in many cases odor can be managed through a
variety of methods, such as adding sodium nitrate, recirculating pond effluent, and through
regular maintenance
3.) Sludge treatment and disposal
> The sludges accumulated in a wastewater treatment process must be treated and disposed of in a
safe and effective manner. Examples of sludge treatment : Thickening (gravity, centrifuge,

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flotation), Stabilization (aerobic/anaerobic digestion), Thermal conditioning, Chemical
conditioning, Disinfection, Dewatering (Drying, Filtration)
> Final disposal - typically, sludges are thickened (dewatered) to reduce the volumes transported
off-site for disposal. There is no process which completely eliminates the need to dispose of
biosolids. Examples of disposal methods are : Evaporative lagoons, Incineration, Land
application/filling, Composting, Starved air combustion, Deepwell injection
D.) Tertiary Treatment
> Although secondary treatment processes, when coupled with disinfection, may remove over 85% of the
BOD and suspended solids and nearly all pathogens, only minor removal of some pollutants, such
as nitrogen, phosphorus, soluble COD, and heavy metals, is achieved.
> In this cases, process capable of removing pollutants not adequately removed by secondary treatment
are used. These are tertiary treatment methods.

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