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THE PERFORMANCE OF TWO OXIDATION DITCH SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS IN SOUTH-EAST QUEENSLAND DW DE HAAS, CK HERTLE, D HAMLYN-HARRIS* and R WALPOLE**

GHD, PO Box 668, Brisbane QLD, 4001, Australia ** Maroochy Water Services, PO Box 658, Maroochydore QLD, 4558, Australia * e-mail: dhharris@ghd.com.au ABSTRACT This paper reviews the performance of two oxidation ditch-type BNR plants in SE Queensland over a period of one year and compares it with the design parameters. These plants showed very good nitrogen and phosphorus removal performance despite unfavourable influent nutrient to COD ratios. Sewage characteristics were extremely different for the two plants and this highlighted the importance of conducting a detailed sewage characterisation prior to commencing concept design. The main strength of the ditch system is that is allows ease of operation and robust performance, particularly with respect to N removal. An economic comparison showed that these oxidation-ditch BNR plants are more cost effective than many other BNR plants in Australia which have compartmentalised activated sludge reactors. The operating costs for the ditch-type systems also compared very favourably with compartmentalised BNR plants. 1. INTRODUCTION Oxidation ditches based on the Carousel (or similar) system, do not have formal anoxic compartments and are thus extremely effective at nitrogen removal under varying load conditions. The mixed liquor is recirculated in a race-track fashion by the action of either surface aerators or dedicated mixers to expose it to alternating aerobic/ anoxic conditions. A high mixed liquor recycle (or a-recycle) ratio (typically 100:1 or more, relative to influent flow) is usually established in this manner. By means of the addition of an external formal anaerobic zone, the oxidation ditch format can also be used to achieve biological phosphorus removal using the three-stage Phoredox concept. This is illustrated diagrammatically in Figure 1. When used with prefermentation of raw sewage improved biological phosphorus removal is achieved.

Oxidation ditch
Anaerobic Influent Anoxic Aerobic Clarifier Effluent

Figure 1: Three-stage Phoredox process concept using the oxidation ditch format. GHD pioneered the use of the oxidation ditch format for BNR incorporating biological P removal based on the Phoredox process for the design of two sewage treatment plants in Queensland, namely, Thorneside STP (Redland Water) and Coolum STP (Maroochy Water Services). These plants have now been in operation for more than a year. The purpose of this paper is to review the performance of these plants with a view to establishing the effectiveness of the design. 2. GENERAL PROCESS DESCRIPTION 2.1 Thorneside STP In 1995-7 Thorneside STP (30 000 EP) was designed and built using the oxidation ditch format of the 3-stage Phoredox process (Figure 1) with vertical shaft surface aerators (Carousel configuration) and two circular secondary clarifiers. The old plant was decommissioned but the structures have been retained for possible future use. The design basis for the BNR plant is given in Table I (GHD, 1995a). The licence condition requirements are given in Table II.

TABLE I DESIGN LOADS AND INFLUENT CHARACTERISTICS FOR THORNESIDE STP (GHD, 1995A). Parameter Raw Sewage Units Connected population 30,000 EP Population Equivalent flow 250 L/(EP.d) 50 Percentile loads Flow, ADWF 7.5 ML/d COD 550 mg/L COD/BOD 2.46 TSS (NFR) 260 mg/L TKN 55 mg/L as N TKN/COD 0.10 TP 11 mg/L as P TP/COD 0.020 Total Alkalinity 210 mg/L as CaCO3 Peaking factors 90 Percentile 1.3 x 50%ile 99.7 Percentile (peak day) 2.0 x 50%ile Peak rate (design) PWWF 5.0 x 50%ile -

TABLE II EFFLUENT LICENCE CONDITIONS FOR THORNESIDE STP Parameter Limit Units Limit type value
Total N Total P BOD5 Susp. Solids pH DO Free Chlorine Faecal coliforms 5; 7.5 15 2; 3 6.0 10; 15 30 15; 23 45 6.5 to 8.5 2.0 0.7 1000 4000 mg/L N mg/L P mg/L O2 mg/L TSS mg/L O2 mg/L Cl2 no./100 mL no./100 mL Long ; short term 50%ile Absolute maximum Long ; short term 50%ile Absolute maximum Long ; short term 80%ile Absolute maximum Long ; short term 80%ile Absolute maximum Range Minimum Maximum Median value Only one (out of 5) result may exceed i.e. 80%ile

Readily biodegradable COD (RBCOD) on Thorneside influent was found to be low (about 20 mg/L), so an activated primary tank (APT) was included to increase this fraction of COD. The APT has two advantages over sidestream prefermentation processes which ferment primary sludge. Firstly, the entire raw wastewater stream is fermented in the tank. Secondly, efficient elutriation of fermentation products into the bulk flow can be easily achieved. This minimises the accumulation of fermentation products in the sludge blanket, limits methane formation and minimises odour production. Provision was made for alum dosing in order to supplement biological P removal with simultaneous chemical P precipitation. Provision was also made for supplementing biological N & P removal using molasses as a source of biodegradable COD. However, to date molasses dosing has not been required. A process flow sheet for the Thorneside STP is given in Figure 2.

Alum

S creen

R AS

Chlorine

S ewage

F low meter AP T

Oxidation Ditch Chlorine Contact Tank S ludge Waste S cum WAS P olymer S econdary Clarifiers

S creen

Grit Tanks S creen S ludge R ecirc. S creen

L E GE ND E ffluent S ludge/Filtrate Alum P olymer Chlorine


G:\411\13780\FIGURES\LAYOUT.PPT

Filtrate

BF P S ludge Cake To Vermiculture P roces sing

Figure 2 :THORNESIDE STP FLOWSHEET

2.2 Coolum STP In the period 1995 - 1997, the Coolum plant was upgraded. Stage 1 was retained with the addition of an anaerobic reactor and a third secondary clarifier. Stage 2 was built as a new BNR plant using the oxidation ditch format with vertical shaft aerators and two new secondary clarifiers. The combined capacity of Stages 1 & 2 is 25,000 EP. Table III shows that the influent at Coolum STP is weak by Australian standards, mainly due to high water usage and significant intrusion of groundwater to the sewerage system. The works is also subject to a larger peak holiday load in summer. The influent has low concentrations of RBCOD (10 mg/L) and thus prefermentation using an APT was adopted . The design basis and performance of the Coolum APT has been described by Hartley (1999). Table IV shows current discharge requirements for Coolum STP. It should be noted that nutrient removal is not required in terms of the current licence conditions, but the plant was upgraded to BNR in anticipation of more stringent requirements. TABLE III DESIGN LOADS AND INFLUENT CHARACTERISTICS FOR COOLUM STP (GHD, 1995B). Parameter Value Value Units for Stage 1 for Stage 2 Connected population 10 000 15 000 EP Population Equivalent flow 330 330 L/(EP.d)
50 Percentile loads Flow, ADWF COD COD/BOD TSS (NFR) TKN TKN/COD TP TP/COD Total Alkalinity Peaking factors 90 Percentile 99.7 Percentile (peak day) Peak rate (design) PWWF 3.30 330 2.5 135 33 0.10 7.3 0.022 180 1.2 x 50%ile 3.0 x 50%ile 5.0 x 50%ile 4.95

Tingalpa

Cr eek

ML/d
mg/L mg/L mg/L as N mg/L as P mg/L as CaCO3 -

Provision was made for alum and molasses dosing to supplement biological N & P removal, but have not been applied at Coolum STP. The effluent from this plant is reused on a nearby golf course or discharged to the Maroochy River. A process flow sheet for the Coolum STP is given in Figure 3. 3. DESIGN PARAMETERS Design parameters for Thorneside and Coolum STP are given in Table V.

S creen

R AS

S tage 1: Oxidation Ditch

WAS

S cum

S tage 1 S econdary Clarifiers

T o B FP : s ee below S creen Chlorine

R AS

S ewage

F low meter AP T S tage 2: Oxidation Ditch Chlorine Contact T ank S ludge Waste S cum WAS P olymer BF P S ludge Cake E ffluent S ludge/F iltrate P olymer Chlorine To bios olids stockpile S tage 2 S econdary Clarifiers

S creen

Grit T anks S creen S ludge R ecirc. S creen

L E GE ND

Filtrate

Ef f luent B alancing Lagoon

Golf Cour se I r r igat ion

Mar oochy River

G:\411\13780\FIGURES\LAYOUT.PPT

Figure 3: COOLUM STP FLOWSHEET

TABLE IV DESIGN EFFLUENT LICENCE CONDITIONS FOR COOLUM STP Parameter Limit Units Limit type value
Total N Total P BOD5 Susp. Solids pH DO Free Chlorine Faecal coliforms 5 2 20 30 30 45 6.5 to 8.5 2.0 0.7 150 600 mg/L N mg/L P mg/L O2 mg/L O2 mg/L TSS mg/L TSS mg/L O2 mg/L Cl2 no./100 mL no./100 mL Design Short term 50%ile Design Short term 50%ile Short term 80%ile Long term 80%ile Short term 80%ile Long term 80%ile Range Minimum Maximum Median value Only one (out of 5) result may exceed i.e. 80%ile

TABLE V DESIGN PARAMETERS FOR BNR PLANTS AT THORNESIDE AND COOLUM STP Parameter Thorneside Coolum Value Units value
APT max. SRT (sludge age) BNR process SRT (sludge age) Process Volume 30 25 Anaerobic: 1.1 Ox. Ditch: 9.9 Total: 11.0 Stage 1 (older plant): 20 Stage 2 (new plant): 25 Stage 1 Anaerobic: 0.25 Stage 1 Ox. Ditch: 2.25 Stage 1 Total: 2.50 Stage 2 Anaerobic: 0.49 Stage 2 Ox. Ditch: 4.4 Stage 2 Total: 4.89 5000 200 Stage 1: 0.85 Stage 2: 1.0 Ave. 1 x ADWF Peak 0.8 x PWWF days days ML

BNR process 90%ile MLSS Max. SVI Secondary Clarifier Max. overflow rate RAS rate

4500 250 0.8 Ave. 1 x ADWF Peak 0.8 x PWWF

mg/L mL/g m/h -

4. PLANT PERFORMANCE Performance data of Thorneside and Coolum STP in the period 1998/9 is graphed in Figures 4 and 5. 4.1 Thorneside Performance Figure 4 indicates complete compliance at Thorneside with the BOD5 and SS 80%ile and TN 50%ile limits. Reasonable P removal was achieved at Thorneside with an alum dose of 21 mg/L, which is theoretically sufficient to remove ~1.5 mgP/L soluble P. The short term (1 month) TP limit 50%ile limit was reached by August 1998 and improved to ~1 mgP/L by March 1999. P removal performance has remained consistently good up to the present (August 2001), with a supplementary alum dose not exceeding 54 mg/L (dry mass of alum per unit influent basis). It is estimated that at this alum dose, the chemical P removal component does not exceed approximately 4 mgP/L. The performance of Thorneside STP is particularly good in the light of the actual influent composition (TN/COD = 0.17; TP/COD = 0.027) compared with the design values of 0.1 and 0.02 (Figure 6).

THORNESIDE STP: COMPLIANCE for BOD(5)


8.0 7.0 6.0 5.0 4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 Mar-98 Nov-98 Mar-99 May-98 May-99 Jan-98 Jan-99 Sep-98 Jul-98

BOD(5) mg/L

Short term 80%ile limit (monthly) = 15 Long term 80%ile limit (annual) = 10

Short term 80%ile Long term 80%ile


BOD detection limit = 4 mg/L

Nov-99

Mar-00

May-00

Dec-00

Feb-01

Jan-00

Oct-00

Apr-01

Sep-99

Sep-00

Jun-01

THORNESIDE STP: COMPLIANCE for SS


12.0 10.0

SS mg/L

8.0 6.0 4.0 2.0 0.0 Nov-98

Short term 80%ile limit (monthly) = 23 Long term 80%ile limit (annual) = 15

Aug-01

Jul-99

Jul-00

Short term 80%ile Long term 80%ile

SS detection limit = 2 to 3 mg/L

Nov-99

Mar-98

Mar-99

Mar-00

May-98

May-99

May-00

Dec-00

Feb-01

Oct-00

Jan-98

Jan-99

Jan-00

Apr-01

Sep-98

Sep-99

Sep-00

Jun-01

THORNESIDE STP: COMPLIANCE for TN


6.0 5.0

TN mg/L

4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 Mar-98 Mar-99 May-98 May-99

Short term 50%ile limit (monthly) = 7.5 Long term 50%ile limit (annual) = 5.0

Aug-01

Jul-98

Jul-99

Jul-00

Short term 50%ile Long term 50%ile

Mar-00

May-00

Jan-98

Nov-98

Jan-99

Nov-99

Jan-00

Oct-00

Dec-00

Apr-01

Feb-01

Jun-01

Sep-98

Sep-99

THORNESIDE STP: COMPLIANCE for TP


6.0 5.0

TP mg/L

4.0 3.0 2.0 1.0 0.0 Nov-98 Nov-99 Mar-98 Mar-99

Short term 50%ile limit (monthly) = 3.0 Long term 50%ile limit (annual) = 2.0

Sep-00

Aug-01

Jul-98

Jul-99

Jul-00

Short term 50%ile Long term 50%ile

Mar-00

May-98

May-99

May-00

Feb-01

Jan-98

Jan-99

Jan-00

Oct-00

Apr-01

Dec-00

Sep-98

Sep-99

Sep-00

Jun-01

Figure 4: Compliance monitoring for Thorneside STP (Jan 98 to Jul 01)

Aug-01

Jul-98

Jul-99

Jul-00

4.2 Coolum Performance From Figure 5 it can be seen that Coolum STP has achieved BOD5 <2.5 mg/L on both long and short term 80%ile limits, effluent SS was less than 4 mg/L as a long term 80%ile, and generally <10 mg/L as a short term 80%ile. Both the long term and short term 50%iles for TN remained below 5 mgN/L throughout the three year period from mid-1998 to mid-2001. Effluent total P concentrations met both the short term and long term 50%iles of <2 mgP/L in the two year period mid-1999 to mid-2001, without alum addition. More recently (since ca. June 2001), an increase effluent total N and total P has been noted for Coolum STP (Fig. 6). The increase in total N is accounted for as effluent ammonia (data not shown), with low effluent oxidised nitrogen concentrations. This suggests a degree of under-aeration, which appears also to be affecting P removal negatively (see short term 50%ile for TP in Fig. 6). This matter is under investigation. Figure 6 shows that Coolum STP also has among the highest nutrient to COD ratios for BNR plants in Australia. The above-mentioned performance is therefore more remarkable.

BNR plants in Australia Influent mean T(K)N/ COD ratio


0.180 0.160

T(K)N/COD atio (mgN/mgO2)

0.140 0.120 0.100 0.080 0.060 0.040 0.020 0.000

Loganholme

Banora Point

BNR plants in Australia Influent mean TP/ COD ratio


0.030

0.025

TP/COD ratio (mgP/mgCOD)

0.020

0.015

0.010

0.005

0.000

Ballarat South

Loganholme

Banora Point

Ballarat South

Figure 6: Nutrient ratios for some BNR plants in Australia. (Data source: AWWA, 1997 except Thorneside and Coolum data which are based on measured values for 1998/9, courtesy of Redland Water and Maroochy Water Services).

Thorneside

Brendale

Bendigo

Rouse Hill

Coolum

Noosa

Merrimac

Bathurst

Penrith

Dalby

Thorneside

Brendale

Bendigo

Rouse Hill

Merrimac

Bathurst

Coolum

Penrith

Noosa

Dalby

T P mg /L as P TN mg /L as N
10 12 0.5 1.5 2.5 3.5 0 1 2 3 10 10 12 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 2 4 6 8 Jan-97 Mar-97 M ay-97 Jun-97 A ug-97 Oc t-97 Dec-97 Feb-98 Apr-98 Jun-98 A ug-98 Oc t-98 Dec-98 Feb-99 Apr-99 Jun-99 A ug-99 Oc t-99 Dec-99 Feb-00 Apr-00 Jun-00 A ug-00 Oc t-00 Dec-00 Feb-01 Apr-01 Jun-01 Dec -99 Feb-00 A pr-00 Jun-00 A ug-00 Oct-00 Dec -00 Feb-01 A pr-01 Jun-01 Oct-99 A ug-99 Jun-99 A pr-99 Feb-99 Dec -98 Oct-98 A ug-98 Jun-98 A pr-98 Feb-98 Dec -97 Oct-97 Oc t-97 Dec-97 Feb-98 Apr-98 Jun-98 Aug-98 Oc t-98 Dec-98 Feb-99 Apr-99 Jun-99 Aug-99 Oc t-99 Dec-99 Feb-00 Apr-00 Jun-00 Aug-00 Oc t-00 Dec-00 Feb-01 Apr-01 Jun-01 A ug-97 Aug-97 Jun-97 Jun-97 M ay -97 M ay-97 M ar-97 M ar-97 Jan-97 Jan-97

TS S mg/L

B OD (5) mg/L
4.5 4 5

Jan-97

Mar-97

M ay-97

Jun-97

A ug-97

Oc t-97

Dec-97

Feb-98

Apr-98

Jun-98

A ug-98

Oc t-98

Dec-98

Short term 80% ile limit = 20

Long term 80% ile limit = 30

C OOL UM ST P : C OM PLIANC E for SS

C OO LUM ST P : C O M PL IANC E fo r BO D (5)

CO OL UM ST P : C OM PLIANCE fo r T O T AL P

CO OL UM ST P : C OM PLIANCE fo r T O T AL N

7
Long term 50% ile Long term 50% ile Long term 80% ile Short term 50% ile Short term 50% ile Short term 80% ile

Feb-99

Apr-99

Jun-99

A ug-99

Oc t-99

Dec-99

Feb-00

Apr-00

Jun-00

A ug-00

Short term 80% ile limit = 30

Long term 80% ile limit = 45

Oc t-00

Dec-00

Feb-01

Apr-01

Jun-01

Long term 80% ile

S hort term 80% ile

Figure 5: Compliance monitoring for Coolum STP (Jan 97 to July 01)

5. OPERATIONAL PARAMETERS Settleability at Thorneside has averaged 90 mL/g (unstirred) and 94 mL/g at Coolum (stirred). The Coolum APT does not generate as much VFA as the Thorneside APT, but both achieve effluent VFAs in the range ~50 to 80 mg/L as acetic acid. VFA production in the Thorneside APT still compares favourably with the yields reported by von Munch and Koch (1997) for static or completely mixed prefermenters on primary sludge (viz. yields 0.02 to 0.14 mg COD/mg influent COD). The optimisation of these two plants has required very little input from the consultants due to initial good process design, appropriate selection of equipment and excellent cooperation between designers, constructors and owners of the facility under adverse conditions. A good relationship between all parties involved in these plants has continued to the present time. 6. PLANT COST COMPARISONS 6.1 Capital Costs The capital costs for BNR plants in Australia were summarised by Hartley (1998) and these data have been plotted in Figure 7. The capital costs of oxidation ditch BNR plants appear to be lower than other continuous processes and approach the cost of SBR systems. The assertion that oxidation ditch BNR plants tend to

have a higher capital cost due to being designed for longer sludge age (Cardno and Davies, 1998) does not appear to be true. This is likely to be due to the simplicity in construction, smaller number of drives and simple control methods.
1000 Data from Hartley (1998)

100 (N^0.59)*(P^0.29)*Cost in $M 1997 (N & P 50%iles in mg/L)

Plant A (upgrade)

y = 5.213x 2 R = 0.958
New plants only

0.590

Thorneside (new) Coolum (upgrade)

10

y = 0.766 x 2 R = 0.999
1

0.924

Continuous New

SBR New

0.1 0.1 1 10 Plant capacity (kEP) in 1997 100 1000

Figure 7: Comparison of capital costs for BNR plants in Australia. Data from Hartley (1998). Coolum and Plant A excluded from regressions. 6.2 O&M Costs Table VI gives a comparison of O&M costs for Coolum, Thorneside STPs and two compartmentalised plants based on the modified UCT configuration. One includes primary settlement, prefermentation and anaerobic digestion for sludge treatment (waste activated and primary sludge) and the other is an extended aeration plant. 7. CONCLUSIONS The oxidation ditch is a cost effective design of BNR activated sludge systems with the aerators providing not only aeration but also energy for mixing and a high mixed liquor recycle ratio (typically 100: 1). Such systems are easy to operate with few mechanical components and a continuously variable anoxic/ aerobic mass fraction according to aeration intensity. Aeration intensity can be easily automated using correctly located dissolved oxygen probes, variable speed aerators and variable height decanting weirs. Both Coolum and Thorneside STPs are examples of plants which exhibit excellent N removal performance over a continuous monitoring period of at least one year. Biological P removal performance has been excellent in the case of Coolum, and within the original design criteria for Thorneside. P removal is excellent considering the influent nutrient (TKN or TP) to COD ratios for these plants being amongst the highest recorded in Australia in recent years. A comparison of capital costs for BNR plants in Australia showed that Coolum and Thorneside STPs compare very favourably with other continuous flow BNR plants, taking into account required effluent nutrient quality. These plants also compare very well from an O&M point of view and are popular with operators for ease of operation and reliable performance. TABLE VI ANNUAL O&M COSTS FOR FOUR BNR PLANTS IN SE QUEENSLAND (Data for 1998/9 financial year.) Plant: Thorneside STP Coolum STP Plant A 9

Type: Staff Chemicals Electricity Maintenance Contract Services (incl. biosolids disposal) Other TOTAL, $/annum Ave. flow (ML/d) Ave. BOD removal (mg/L) Unit cost, $/ML treated Unit cost, $/kgBOD removed Unit power consumption, kWh/ML

3-stage Phoredox with oxidation ditch 152,250 47,215 112,141 67,222 ** 70,536 449,364 6.1 160 201 1.26 530

3-stage Phoredox with oxidation ditch 130,053 69,114 71,916 116,534 46,816 15,454 449,887 4.76 159 259 1.63 508

MUCT with primary sedimentation and anaerobic digestion 135,364 41,463 200,596 301,894 * 71,318 18,195 768,830 6.45 253 326 1.29 1069

Data supplied by Redland and Gold Coast Water and Maroochy Water Services * Includes replacement of equipment required (within =2 years of plant life). ** Current maintenance costs <$35,000 pa. Stated value is based on 1.5% pa of mechanical and electrical contract costs.

8 . REFERENCES AWWA (1997) BNR Plants in Australia. Booklet handed out at BNR3 Conference, Brisbane, Australia, 30 Nov. - 4 Dec 1997. Cardno and Davies (1998) Planning report for the advanced biological nutrient removal upgrade of Redcliffe Wastewater Treatment Plant. Report to Redcliffe City Council by Cardno and Davies, November 1998. GHD (1995a) Thorneside Water Pollution Control Works Augmentation. Planning Report prepared for Redland Shire Council (Job No. 411/13778/00), Gutteridge Haskins and Davey, PO Box 668, Brisbane, 4001, February 1995. GHD (1995b) Augmentation of Coolum Wastewater Treatment Plant. Supplementary Planning Report prepared for Maroochy Shire Council (Job No. 411/14053/01), Gutteridge Haskins and Davey, PO Box 668, Brisbane, 4001, May 1995. Hartley, KJ. (1998) The cost of Australian BNR plants. Water 25(1) Jan/Feb 1998, 20-22. Hartley, KJ, Hertle, CK, Komarowski, S and Walpole, R (1999) Operating experience with two activated th primary tanks for sewage prefermentation. Paper presented at 18 AWWA Federal Convention, April 1999, Adelaide, Australia. Von Munch, E and Koch, FA (1997) A survey of prefermenter design: operation and performance in Australia and Canada. Proceedings of BNR3 Conference, 30 Nov - 4 Dec 1997, Brisbane, Australia, p274-282.

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