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PROF .Mrs A.


Organic and inorganic substances which were released into the environment
as a result of domestic, agricultural and industrial water activities lead to
organic and inorganic pollution. The normal primary and secondary
treatment processes of these wastewaters have been introduced in a
growing number of places, in order to eliminate the easily settled materials
and to oxidize the organic material present in wastewater. The final result is
a clear, apparently clean effluent which is discharged into natural water
bodies. This secondary effluent is, however, loaded with inorganic nitrogen
and phosphorus and causes enrichment of soil by nutrients and more longterm problems because of refractory organics and heavy metals that are
discharged. Microalgae culture offers an interesting step for wastewater
treatments, because they provide a tertiary biotreatment coupled with the
production of potentially valuable biomass, which can be used for several
purposes. Microalgae cultures offer an elegant solution to tertiary and
quandary treatments due to the ability of microalgae to use inorganic
nitrogen and phosphorus for their growth. And also, for their capacity to
remove heavy metals, as well as some toxic organic compounds, therefore,
it does not lead to secondary pollution. In this report I will try to give an
actual picture of role of micro-algae in the treatment of wastewater.

typical Composition of waste water:

Watercourses receive pollution from many different sources, which vary both
in strength and volume. It is a complex mixture of natural organic and
inorganic materials as well as man-made compounds. Three quarters of
organic carbon in sewage are present as carbohydrates, fats, proteins,
amino acids, and volatile acids. The inorganic constituents include large
concentrations of sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, chlorine, sulphur,
phosphate, bicarbonate, ammonium salts and heavy metals.
Different sources of pollutants include 1.Discharge of either raw or treated sewage from towns and villages;
2.discharge from manufacturing or industrial plants;
3.run-off from agricultural land; and leachates from solid waste disposal
Scarcity of water, the need for energy and food are forcing us to explore the
feasibility of wastewater recycling and resource recovery .

Microbiological composition of waste water:

Wastewater environment is an ideal media for a wide range of
microorganisms specially bacteria, viruses and protozoa. The majority is
harmless and can be used in biological sewage treatment, but sewage also
contains pathogenic microorganisms, which are excreted in large numbers
by sick individuals and a symptomic carrier. Bacteria which cause cholera,
typhoid and tuberculosis; viruses which cause infectious hepatitis; protozoa
which cause dysentery and the eggs of parasitic worms are all found in
sewage water
Satisfactory disposal of wastewater, whether by surface, subsurface methods
or dilution, is dependent on its treatment prior to disposal. Adequate
treatment is necessary to prevent contamination of receiving waters to a
degree which might interfere with their best or intended use, whether it be
for water supply, recreation, or any other required purpose.
Wastewater treatment consists of applying known technology to improve or
upgrade the quality of a wastewater. Usually wastewater treatment will
involve collecting the wastewater in a central, segregated location (the
Wastewater Treatment Plant) and subjecting the wastewater to various
treatment processes. Most often, since large volumes of wastewater are
involved, treatment processes are carried out on continuously flowing

wastewaters (continuous flow or "open" systems) rather than as "batch" or a

series of periodic treatment processes in which treatment is carried out on
parcels or "batches" of wastewaters. While most wastewater treatment
processes are continuous flow, certain operations, such as vacuum filtration,
involving as it does, storage of sludge, the addition of chemicals, filtration
and removal or disposal of the treated sludge, are routinely handled as
periodic batch operations.
Wastewater treatment, however, can also be organized or categorized by the
nature of the treatment process operation being used; for example,
physical, chemical or biological. Examples of these treatment steps are
shown below. A complete treatment system may consist of the application
of a number of physical, chemical and biological processes to the

Some Physical, Chemical and Biological Waste water

Treatment Methods
Sedimentation -it involves use of gravity to remove suspended solids
from water
Screening - This process essentially involves the removal of large nonbiodegradable and floating solids that frequently enter a wastewater works,
such as rags, papers, plastics, tins, containers and wood
Aeration - it is the process of increasing the oxygen saturation of the water.
Aeration can be achieved through the infusion of air into the bottom of
the lake, lagoon or pond or by surface agitation from a fountain or spray-like
device to allow for oxygen exchange at the surface and the release of
noxious gasses such as carbon dioxide, methane or hydrogen sulfide.

Filtration - The purpose of filtration is to remove suspended particles from

water by passing the water through a medium such as sand. As the water
passes through the filter, floc and impurities get stuck in the sand and the
clean water goes through. The filtered water collects in the clearwell, where
it is disinfected and then sent to the customers.

Flotation and Skimming -A skimming tank is a chamber so arranged

that the floating matter like oil, fat, grease etc., rise and remain on the
surface of the waste water (Sewage) until removed, while the liquid flows out
continuously under partitions or baffles.

Degasification -Degasification is the removal of

dissolved gases from liquids, especially water or aqueous solutions. There
are numerous possible methods for such removal of gases from solids.there
are various methods available for degasification like pressure
reduction,heating,membrane degasification,substitution by inert gas etc.

Equalisation-Flow equalization is the process of controlling hydraulic

velocity, or flow rate, through a wastewater treatment system. The
equalization of flow prevents short term, high volumes of incoming flow,
called surges, from forcing solids and organic material out of the treatment

Chlorination -Chlorination is by far the most common method of
wastewater disinfection and is used worldwide for the disinfection of
pathogens before discharge into receiving streams, rivers or oceans.(11-14)
Chlorine is known to be effective in destroying a variety of bacteria, viruses
and protozoa, including Salmonella, Shigella and Vibrio cholera.
Ozonation -Ozone is a very reactive gas that can oxidise bacteria,
moulds, organic material and other pollutants found in water. Using ozone to
treat wastewater has many benefits:
o Kills bacteria effectively.
o Oxidises substances such as iron and sulphur so that they can be
filtered out of the solution.
o There are no nasty odours or residues produced from the

o Ozone converts back into oxygen quickly, and leaves no trace

once it has been used.

Neutralization - The purpose of neutralization is to adjust the pH value

to meet the requirements of the different processing units in the wastewater
treatment system.
Neutralization may be used in order to treat acid wastewaters containing
metals, the method comprising increasing the pH of the acid waste by
addition of an alkaline reagent, to form a precipitate and collecting the
precipitate. This way the incoming solution is pH adjusted to the optimum
range for precipitating metals as hydroxides.

Coagulation using coagulating agent like alum to treat waste water.

Adsorption -Adsorption is typically used in wastewater treatment to
remove toxic or recalcitrant organic pollutants (especially halogenated but
also non-halogenated), and to a lesser extent, inorganic contaminants, from
the wastewater.
Ion Exchange-Ion Exchange can be used in wastewater treatment plants to
swap one ion for another for the purpose of demineralization. There are
basically two types of ion exchange systems, one which is using the anion
resins and another is the cation exchange resins.

Aerobic process -An aerobic treatment system or ATS, often called
(incorrectly) an aerobic septic system, is a small scale sewage
treatment system similar to a septic tank system, but which uses
an aerobic process for digestion rather than just the anaerobic process used
in septic systems. These systems are commonly found in rural areas where
public sewers are not available, and may be used for a single residence or

for a small group of homes.

Activated Sludge Treatment Methods -The activated sludge process is a
process for treating sewage and industrial wastewaters using air and a
biological floc composed of bacteria and protozoa.

Trickling Filtration- A trickling filter is a type of water

pollution treatment system. It consists of a fixed bed
of rocks, lava, coke, gravel, slag,polyurethane foam, sphagnum peat
moss, ceramic, or plastic media over which sewage or
other wastewater flows downward and causes a layer of microbial slime
(biofilm) to grow, covering the bed of media. Aerobic conditions are
maintained by splashing, diffusion, and either by forced air flowing through
the bed or natural convection of air if the filter medium is porous

Oxidation Ponds -Oxidation ponds, also called lagoons or stabilization

ponds, are large, shallow ponds designed to treat wastewater through the
interaction of sunlight, bacteria, and algae.Algae grow using energy from the
sun and carbon dioxide and inorganic compounds released by bacteria in
water. During the process of photosynthesis, the algae release oxygen
needed by aerobic bacteria.

Lagoons -An aerated lagoon or aerated basin is a holding and/or

treatment pond provided with artificial aeration to promote the biological
oxidation of wastewaters.

Anaerobic :
Septic Tanks - A septic system is a highly efficient, self-contained,
underground wastewater treatment system. Because septic systems treat
and dispose of household wastewater onsite, they are often more
economical than centralized sewer systems in rural areas where lot sizes are
larger and houses are spaced widely apart

Physical methods include processes where no gross chemical or biological

changes are carried out and strictly physical phenomena are used to
improve or treat the wastewater.
Examples would be coarse screening to remove larger entrained objects and
sedimentation (or clarification). In the process of sedimentation, physical
phenomena relating to the settling of solids by gravity are allowed to
operate. Usually this consists of simply holding a wastewater for a short
period of time in a tank under quiescent conditions, allowing the heavier
solids to settle, and removing the "clarified" effluent. Sedimentation for
solids separation is a very common process operation and is routinely
employed at the beginning and end of wastewater treatment
operations.While sedimentation is one of the most common physical
treatment processes that is used to achieve treatment, another physical
treatment process consists of aeration -- that is, physically adding air,
usually to provide oxygen to the wastewater. Still other physical phenomena
used in treatment consists of filtration. Here wastewater is passed through a
filter medium to separate solids. An example would be the use of sand
filters to further remove entrained solids from a treated wastewater. Certain
phenomena will occur during the sedimentation process and can be
advantageously used to further improve water quality. Permitting greases or
oils, for example, to float to the surface and skimming or physically
removing them from the wastewaters is often carried out as part of the
overall treatment process.
In certain industrial wastewater treatment processes strong or undesirable
wastes are sometimes produced over short periods of time. Since such
"slugs" or periodic inputs of such wastes would damage a biological
treatment process, these wastes are sometimes held, mixed with other
wastewaters, and gradually released, thus eliminating "shocks" to the
treatment plant. This is call equalization. Another type of "equalization" can
be used to even out wide variations in flow rates. For example, the wet well
of a pump station can receive widely varying amounts of wastewater and, in
turn, pump the wastes onward at more uniform rates.
Chemical treatment consists of using some chemical reaction or reactions
to improve the water quality. Probably the most commonly used chemical
process is chlorination. Chlorine, a strong oxidizing chemical, is used to kill

bacteria and to slow down the rate of decomposition of the wastewater.

Bacterial kill is achieved when vital biological processes are affected by the
chlorine. Another strong oxidizing agent that has also been used as an
oxidizing disinfectant is ozone.
A chemical process commonly used in many industrial wastewater treatment
operations is neutralization. Neutralization consists of the addition of acid or
base to adjust pH levels back to neutrality. Since lime is a base it is
sometimes used in the neutralization of acid wastes.
Coagulation consists of the addition of a chemical that, through a chemical
reaction, forms an insoluble end product that serves to remove substances
from the wastewater. Polyvalent metals are commonly used as coagulating
chemicals in wastewater treatment and typical coagulants would include
lime (that can also be used in neutralization), certain iron containing
compounds (such as ferric chloride or ferric sulfate) and alum (aluminum
Certain processes may actually be physical and chemical in nature. The use
of activated carbon to "adsorb" or remove organics, for example, involves
both chemical and physical processes. Processes such as ion exchange,
which involves exchanging certain ions for others, are not used to any great
extent in wastewater treatment.
Biological treatment methods use microorganisms, mostly bacteria, in
the biochemical decomposition of wastewaters to stable end products. More
microorganisms, or sludges, are formed and a portion of the waste is
converted to carbon dioxide, water and other end products. Generally,
biological treatment methods can be divided into aerobic and anaerobic
methods, based on availability of dissolved oxygen.
The purpose of wastewater treatment is generally to remove from the
wastewater enough solids to permit the remainder to be discharged to a
receiving water without interfering with its best or proper use. The solids
which are removed are primarily organic but may also include inorganic
solids. Treatment must also be provided for the solids and liquids which are
removed as sludge. Finally, treatment to control odors, to retard biological
activity, or destroy pathogenic organisms may also be needed.
Degrees of treatment are sometimes indicated by use of the terms primary,
secondary and tertiary treatment. Tertiary treatment, properly, would be
any treatment added onto or following secondary treatment.

Primary Treatment
In this treatment, most of the settleable solids are separated or removed
from the wastewater by the physical process of sedimentation. When
certain chemicals are used with primary sedimentation tanks, some of the
colloidal solids are also removed. Biological activity of the wastewater in
primary treatment is of negligible importance.
The purpose of primary treatment is to reduce the velocity of the wastewater
sufficiently to permit solids to settle and floatable material to surface.
Therefore, primary devices may consist of settling tanks, clarifiers or
sedimentation tanks. Because of variations in design, operation, and
application, settling tanks can be divided into four general groups:
1. Septic tanks
2. Two story tanks -- Imhoff and several proprietary or patented units
3. Plain sedimentation tank with mechanical sludge removal
4. Upward flow clarifiers with mechanical sludge removal
When chemicals are used, other auxiliary units are employed. These are:
1. Chemical feed units
2. Mixing devices
3. Flocculators

The results obtained by primary treatment, together with anaerobic sludge

digestion as described later, are such that they can be compared with the
zone of degradation in stream self-purification. The use of chlorine with
primary treatment is discussed under the section on Preliminary Treatment.
Secondary Treatment
Secondary treatment depends primarily upon aerobic organisms which
biochemically decompose the organic solids to inorganic or stable organic
solids. It is comparable to the zone of recovery in the self-purification of a

The devices used in secondary treatment may be divided into four groups:
1. Trickling filters with secondary settling tanks
2. Activated sludge and modifications with final settling tanks
3. Intermittent sand filters
4. Stabilization ponds
The use of chlorine with secondary treatment is discussed under the section
on Secondary Treatment
This is a method of treatment which has been employed for many purposes
in all stages in wastewater treatment, and even prior to preliminary
treatment. It involves the application of chlorine to the wastewater for the
following purposes:
1. Disinfection or destruction of pathogenic organisms
2. Prevention of wastewater decomposition -(a) odor control, and
(b) protection of plant structures

Aid in plant operation -(a) sedimentation,

(b) trickling filters,
(c) activated sludge bulking
1. Reduction or delay of biochemical oxygen demand (BOD)
While chlorination has been commonly used over the years, especially for
disinfection, other methods to achieve disinfection as well as to achieve
similar treatment ends are also used. Among the most common is the use of
ozone. In view of the toxicity of chlorine and chlorinated compounds for fish
as well as other living forms, ozonation may be more commonly used in the
future. This process will be more fully discussed in the section on

Sludge Treatment
The solids removed from wastewater in both primary and secondary
treatment units, together with the water removed with them, constitute
wastewater sludge. It is generally necessary to subject sludge to some
treatment to prepare or condition it for ultimate disposal. Such treatment
has two objectives -- the removal of part or all of the water in the sludge to
reduce its volume, and the decomposition of the putrescible organic solids to
mineral solids or to relatively stable organic solids. This is accomplished by
a combination of two or more of the following methods:
1. Thickening
2. Digestion with or without heat
3. Drying on sand bed -- open or covered
4. Conditioning with chemicals
5. Elutriation
6. Vacuum filtration
7. Heat drying
8. Incineration
9. Wet oxidation


Package Units-The term "package units" is used in the field to describe

equipment which has been put on the market by a number of manufacturers
that is intended to provide wastewater treatment by the use of prefabricated
or modular units. Package units can also refer to a complete installation,
including both mechanisms and prefabricated containers. This term is also
applied to installations where only the mechanisms are purchased and the

containers constructed by the purchaser in accordance with plans and

specifications prepared by the manufacturer.
Though specific limitations have not been established, individual package
units have, in general, been small installations serving a limited population.
Package units have been adapted to practically all the treatment devices,
either singly or in various combinations that have been mentioned.

Tertiary and Advanced Wastewater Treatment

The terms "primary" and "secondary" treatment have been used to generally
describe a degree of treatment; for example, settling and biological
wastewater treatment. Since the early 1970's "tertiary" treatment has come
into use to describe additional treatment following secondary treatment.
Quite often this merely indicates the use of intermittent sand filters for
increased removal of suspended solids from the wastewater. In other cases,
tertiary treatment has been used to describe processes which remove plant
nutrients, primarily nitrogen and phosphorous, from
wastewater. Improvement and upgrading of wastewater treatment units as
well as the need to minimize environmental effects has led to the increased
use of tertiary treatment.
A term that is also sometimes used to indicate treatment of a wastewater by
methods other than primary or biological (secondary) treatment is advanced
treatment. This degree of treatment is usually achieved by chemical (for
example coagulation) methods as well as physical methods (flocculation,
settling and activated carbon adsorption) to produce a high quality effluent

Use of algae for wastewater treatment

The history of the commercial use of algal cultures spans about 75 years
with application to wastewater treatment and mass production of different
strains such as Chlorella and Dunaliella. Currently significant interest is
developed in some advanced world nations such as Australia, USA, Thailand,
Taiwan and Mexico . These are due to the understanding of the biologists in
these nations for the biology and ecology of large-scale algal cultures, as
well as in the engineering of large-scale culture systems and algal harvesting
methods, all of which are important to the design and operation of high rate
algal cultures to produce high-value products, such as Pharmaceuticals and
genetically engineered products . These include antibacterial, antiviral,
antitumers/anticancer, antihistamine and many other biologically valuable

Bio-treatment with microalgae is particularly attractive because of their

photosynthetic capabilities, converting solar energy into useful biomasses
and incorporating nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus causing
eutrophication . This fascinating idea launched some fifty-five years ago in
the U.S. by Oswald and Gotaas has since been intensively tested in many
countries .
Palmer (1974) surveyed microalgal genera from a wide distribution of waste
stabilization ponds. In order of abundance, and frequency of occurrence the
algae found were Chlorella, Ankistrodesmus, Scenedesmus, Euglena,
Chlamydomonas, Oscillatoria, Micractinium and Golenkinia.
A survey of algal taxa in six-lagoon systems in Central Asia was completed
by Erganshev and Tajiev (1986). Their analysis of long term data revealed
that the Chlorophyta was dominant both in variety and quantity followed by
Cyanophyta, Bascillariophyta and Euglenophyta. Palmer (1969) listed the
algae in the order of their tolerance to organic pollutants as reported by 165
authors. The list was compiled for 60 genera and 80 species. The most
tolerant eight genera were found to be Euglena, Oscillatoria,
Chlamydomonas, Scenedesmus, Chlorella, Nitzschia, Navicula and
Stigeoclonium. More than 1000 algal taxa have been reported one or more
times as pollution tolerant which include 240 genera, 725 species and 125
varieties and forms. The most tolerant genera include eight green algae, five
blue-greens, six flagellates and six diatoms.
Since the land-space requirements of microalgal wastewater treatment
systems are substantial , efforts are being made to develop wastewater
treatment systems based on the use of hyperconcentrated algal cultures.
This proved to be highly efficient in removing N and P within very short
periods of times, e.g. less than 1 hour.

The algal systems can treat human sewage and industrial wastes . Also,
microalgal systems for the treatment of other wastes such as piggery
effluent .the effluent from food processing factories and other agricultural
wastes have been studied. Also, algae based system for the removal of toxic
minerals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, scandium, tin, arsenic and
bromine are also being developed .. Algal systems have traditionally been
employed as a tertiary process . They have been proposed as a potential
secondary treatment system.
Tertiary treatment process removes all organic ions. It can be accomplished
biologically or chemically. The biological tertiary treatment appears to
perform well compared to the chemical processes which are in general too
costly to be implemented in most places and which may lead to secondary
pollution. However, each additional treatment step in a wastewater system
greatly increases the total cost. The relative cost of treatment doubles for
each additional step following primary treatment .
A complete tertiary process aimed at removing ammonia, nitrate and
phosphate will thus be about four times more expensive than primary
treatment. Microalgal cultures offer an elegant solution to tertiary and
quinary treatments due to the ability of microalgae to use inorganic nitrogen
and phosphorus for their growth . And also, their capacity to remove heavy
metals, as well as some toxic organic compounds, therefore, does not lead
to secondary pollution. Amongst beneficial characteristics they produce
oxygen, have a disinfecting effect due to increase in pH during
Algae can be used in wastewater treatment for a range of purposes, some of
which are used for the removal of coliform bacteria, reduction of both
chemical and biochemical oxygen demand, removal of N and/or P, and also
for the removal of heavy metals.