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Chapter 24

PhysicalChemical Treatment

Introduction

24-3

Fundamentals of the Coagulation


and Flocculation Processes

Determining Chemical Dose

24-25

Phosphorus Reduction

24-25

24-4

Heavy Metal Removal

24-27

Sedimentation

24-5

Bacteria and Virus Removal

24-27

Filtration

24-6

Suspended Solids Reduction

24-28

RecarbonationpH Adjustment

24-8

Controlling Chemical Dose

24-28

24-8

Recycling/Wasting
Chemical Sludge

24-30

24-8

Optimizing Filter Run Time

24-30

Description of Processes and


Process Equipment
Coagulants
Coagulant Mixing

24-10

Analytical Tools to Determine


Mixing Efficiency
Computational Fluid Mixing

24-14
24-14

Flocculation

24-14

Sedimentation

24-15

RecarbonationpH Adjustment

24-19

Filtration

24-19

Process Control Systems

24-25

Effluent Quality and Headloss

24-30

Filter Aids

24-30

Effects of Polymers

24-31

Polymer Handling

24-31

Backwashing Filters

24-33

Media Expansion and Suspension

24-33

Backwash Duration

24-33

Surface Washing

24-33

Data Collection

24-1
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Operation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

SamplesTypes and Analysis

24-34

Normal Process Control

24-42

Grab Samples

24-35

Filling the Filter

24-42

Composite Samples

24-35

Filter Aids

24-43

Quality Assurance Plan

24-35

Turbidity Monitoring

24-44

Permit Reporting

24-35

Filter Backwashing

24-44

Process Control Reporting

24-36

Recycle of Backwash Flows

24-44

Planned Maintenance Program

24-36

Data Collection

24-45

Why Is A Program Required?

24-36

Planned Maintenance Program

24-46

Equipment Listing

24-36

Troubleshooting

24-46

Frequency of Checks

24-37

Conventional Processes

24-37

Fundamentals of the Process

24-46

24-37

Description of Process
and Process Equipment

24-46

Process Control Systems

24-48

Sedimentation
Fundamentals of the Process

24-37

Recarbonation

24-46

Description of Process and


Process Equipment

24-37

Normal Process Control

24-48

Process Control Systems

24-38

Data Collection

24-49

Normal Process Control

24-38

Planned Maintenance Program

24-50

Data Collection

24-39

Troubleshooting

24-50

Planned Maintenance Program

24-39

Advanced Processes

24-50

Troubleshooting

24-40

Filtration

24-40

Soluble Chemical Oxygen


Demand Removal

24-50

24-40

Fundamentals of the Process

24-52

Description of Process and


Process Equipment

24-40

Description of Process
and Process Equipment

24-52

Process Control Systems

24-41

Process Control Systems

24-53

Flowrate Control

24-41

Normal Process Control

24-55

Filter Aids

24-41

Data Collection

24-57

Filter Backwash

24-41

Planned Maintenance Program

24-57

Filter Appurtenances

24-42

Troubleshooting

24-57

Fundamentals of the Process

Process Monitoring
and Control

24-42

Nitrogen Removal
(Includes Ammonia Stripping)

Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

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PhysicalChemical Treatment

24-3

Fundamentals of the Process

24-57

Breakpoint Chlorination

24-64

Breakpoint Chlorination

24-57

Ion Exchange

24-64

Ion Exchange

24-57

Ammonia Stripping

24-64

Ammonia Stripping

24-60

Description of Process
and Process Equipment

24-60

Breakpoint Chlorination

24-60

Ion Exchange

24-61

Ammonia Stripping

24-61

Process Control Systems

24-61

Breakpoint Chlorination

24-61

Ion Exchange

24-61

Ammonia Stripping

24-62

Normal Process Control

24-63

Breakpoint Chlorination

24-63

Ion Exchange
Ammonia Stripping

Troubleshooting

24-64

Breakpoint Chlorination

24-64

Ion Exchange

24-64

Ammonia Stripping

24-64

Phosphorus and Enhanced


Suspended Solids Removal
Fundamentals of the Process

24-65
24-65

Chemical Coagulation
for Enhanced Solids Removal

24-65

Chemical Coagulation
for Phosphorus Removal

24-65

24-63

Description of Process
and Process Equipment

24-66

24-63

Process Control Systems

24-66

24-63

Normal Process Control

24-66

Breakpoint Chlorination

24-63

Data Collection

24-68

Ion Exchange

24-63

Planned Maintenance Program

24-68

Ammonia Stripping

24-63

Troubleshooting

24-68

Data Collection

Planned Maintenance Program

24-64

References

INTRODUCTION
There are three basic types of wastewater treatment processes: biological, chemical, and
physical. Biological processes include trickling filters, rotating biological contactors,
activated sludge, and anaerobic digestion. Chemical processes include heavy metal
precipitation, phosphorus precipitation, acid or alkali addition for pH control, and disinfection with chlorine or hypochlorite. Physical processes include grit removal, primary and secondary clarificationsedimentation, filtration, and centrifugation.
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Operation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants


Currently, most wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in the United States provide preliminary, primary, and secondary wastewater treatment. The focus is on reducing carbonaceous biochemical oxygen demand (CBOD) and total suspended solids
(TSS) to meet discharge permit parameters. Preliminary treatment (Chapter 18) typically involves removing rags and large solids (via headworks screens) or chopping
them into small pieces (via comminutors or grinders), and removing inorganics and
grit (via grit channels or chambers). Primary treatment (Chapter 19) typically involves
removing readily settleable and floatable matter, as well as larger organics, in gravity
settling tanks. Secondary treatment (Chapters 20 and 21) typically involves lowering
BOD and TSS concentrations via a combination of biological and settling processes.
Chemicals can be used in primary or secondary clarifiers to increase solids capture.
The resulting effluent can then be disinfected (Chapter 26) and discharged.
Increasingly, to further enhance receiving water quality, regulators are setting
stricter limits for nitrogen, phosphorus, metals, nonbiodegradable soluble organics,
BOD, TSS, fecal coliform, and other parameters. Regulators and environmentalists also
are focusing on tertiary treatment, so the resulting effluent can be recycled for irrigation, industrial uses, and other applications traditionally served by potable water. Both
objectives can be addressed by physicalchemical processes. Chemical addition, for example, can be used to further reduce conventional parameters, such as suspended
solids, or new processes can be added to treat phosphorus and soluble, nonbiodegradable chemical oxygen demand (COD).
This chapter will mainly address the use of physicalchemical treatment to (a) enhance suspended solids reduction in primary treatment, (b) further reduce solids in advanced treatment processes, and (c) reduce phosphorus; soluble, nonbiodegradable
COD; and other parameters. Solids-handling processes that incorporate elements of
physical and chemical treatment are discussed extensively in other chapters of this
book. (Advanced biological treatment for nitrogen and phosphorus reduction, which is
becoming more common than physicalchemical removal, especially at larger WWTPs,
is discussed in Chapter 22).

FUNDAMENTALS OF THE COAGULATION AND FLOCCULATION


PROCESSES. In the wastewater treatment industry, coagulation involves adding inorganic chemicals (see Table 24.1), organic polymers, or a combination thereof to wastewater to promote solids or phosphorus removal. Suspended colloidal particles all carry
the same surface charge (usually negative), and their mutual repulsion is enough to prevent them from settling. Coagulants destabilize these charges, reducing the repulsion between particles and promoting their settling. Coagulants also chemically react with soluble phosphorus to form an insoluble precipitate that can be removed via sedimentation
or filtration.
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
TABLE 24.1 Inorganic chemicals commonly used for coagulation in wastewater
treatment (adapted from Metcalf & Eddy, 2003).
Chemical

Formula

Molecular
weight

Equivalent
weight

Form

Al2(SO4)3  18H2O

666.5

Al2(SO4)3  14H2O

594.4

114

Aluminum chloride

AlCl3

133.3

44

Liquid

Calcium hydroxide
(lime)

Ca(OH)2

56.1
(as CaO)

40

Lump powder slurry

FeCl3

162.2

91

Liquid lump

Na2Al2O4

163.9

100

Alum

Ferric chloride
Sodium aluminate

Liquid

Flake

Flocculation is similar, except that the chemicals chain the particles together into
flocs (aggregates) that float or sink, making them easier to remove from the system. In
the flocculation step, the chemically treated water is gently stirred to form large flocs of
suspended solids or phosphorus precipitates, which are then removed via sedimentation and filtration. When the proper type and amount of coagulant or flocculant is
added to wastewater, it can remove approximately 90% of the phosphorus and suspended solids normally present in a secondary effluent.
If treatment plant staff are considering using an organic polymer, they should
work closely with their consultant and polymer supplier because many products are
commercially available and their applications are often site-specific.
Coagulant typically is added to a tertiary process. However, some WWTPs add
coagulant to the activated sludge tank, where it is mixed by the aeration process, and
remove the resulting floc from the secondary clarifier. Others add coagulant to raw
wastewater as it enters the plant and remove the resulting solids from the primary clarifier. When coagulants are added to primary clarifiers, however, care must be taken not
to remove all the phosphorus, which is an essential nutrient for biological growth in
secondary treatment. Also, chemical coagulation will increase the volume of sludge
that must be handled (see Sedimentation).

SEDIMENTATION. Depending on the treatment levels required, coagulated and


flocculated effluent may enter a clarifier or settling basin, where gravity causes the
solids to settle on the bottom. Patented high-rate clarification or ballasted flocculation
systems also can remove coagulatedflocculated solids from effluents. A major selling
point of these technologies is that they require less space than conventional clarifiers.
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Operation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants


As mentioned before, chemical coagulation increases the volume of sludge that
must be handled. Relatively speaking, iron salts or alum will produce less sludge than
lime will. As a general rule, the amount of sludge that can be attributed solely to alum
addition can be calculated (in mg/L) as 0.26 times the alum dose. This is in addition to
the TSS and other solids removed via the alum.
For example, suppose a treatment plant receives 10 mgd (38 854 m3/d) of wastewater containing 220 mg/L of TSS. Suppose that TSS removal in the primary clarifiers
is 60% without alum addition and 80% with 25 mg/L of alum addition. So, without
alum, the primary clarifier generates the following amount of sludge:
 0.6  10 mgd  220 mg/L  8.34 lb/gal
 11 000 lb/d (4990 kg/d)
With alum addition, the clarifier generates more sludge:
 (0.8  10 mgd  220 mg/L  8.34 lb/gal)  (0.26  10 mgd
 25 mg/L  8.34 lb/gal)
 14 678 lb/d  542 lb/d
 15 220 lb/d (6904 kg/d)
So, 542 lb/d of sludge is attributable to alum addition, and the overall sludge production increased from 11 000 to 15 220 lb/d, or about 39%.
Similarly, the amount of sludge that can be attributed solely to ferric chloride addition can be calculated (in mg/L) as 0.66 times the ferric chloride dose. At the plant
mentioned in the above example (again, assuming 60% TSS removal without ferric
chloride, and 80% removal with ferric chloride), a 40-mg/L ferric chloride dose would
itself generate about 2200 lb/d of sludge and increase overall sludge production to
16 900 lb/d, or approximately 54%.
This extra sludge can overload digestion and dewatering units unless design engineers take these additional quantities into account when sizing the units in the
solids processing train. The chemicals also can affect solids dewaterability, because
chemical sludges can be difficult to dewater. In the case of alum, the added sulfate
can also affect odor production through the breakdown of the sulfate ion and the
formation of hydrogen sulfide. (For more information on solids-handling processes,
see Chapters 27 through 33.)

FILTRATION. In filtration, effluent passes through a filtering mediumor a combination of two or three mediato remove suspended or colloidal matter. Filtration is
typically a tertiary treatment step located downstream of secondary processes. Its priCopyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
mary goal is removing suspended solids from a secondary, coagulationflocculation,
or tertiary sedimentation process effluent. For example, filtering coagulation, flocculation, and sedimentation effluent can typically reduce suspended solids concentrations
from between 3 and 5 mg/L to virtually zero and phosphorus concentrations from between 0.5 and 1 mg/L to 0.1 mg/L or less. An efficient filtration system should also be
able to be cleaned (backwashed) using less than about 5% of its influent flow.
Occasionally, filtration alone without upstream coagulation and flocculation is used
to further reduce suspended solids concentrations in activated sludge effluents. (This is
less effective for trickling filter and rotating biological contactor effluents because their
solids are less naturally flocculent.) Also, while filtration alone may technically meet recycled water standards, regulators will tend to err on the conservative side to meet the
related health standards and typically mandate a treatment scheme using either
Coagulation, flocculation, and sedimentation before filtration or
Direct filtration, in which the sedimentation step is eliminated, alum is added in
a rapid-mix environment, and a nonionic polymer is added to the filters.
Many types of media can be used for filtration. In addition to traditional granular
media (typically sand and anthracite), natural or synthetic fiber or fabric, synthetic
fuzzy balls and beads, and other filtration media are available. Nevertheless, most
WWTPs using filtration use granular media.
Depending on the cleaning (backwashing) method used, granular media systems
can be further classified as semicontinuous (conventional) or continuous filters. Semicontinuous filters have to be taken offline periodically for backwashing, while continuous filters can filter and backwash simultaneously.
In semicontinuous downflow filtration systems, wastewater passes through a 0.3- to
0.9-m-deep (10- to 36-in.-deep) granular bed composed of 0.35- to 1.5-mm (0.014- to
0.059-in.) particles. As the wastewater passes down through the filter, larger particles are
captured near the surface of the filter, where the filter media are coarser, and smaller particles penetrate until captured by the finer filter media deeper in the filter. Eventually, the
filter becomes plugged with material removed from the wastewater and must be cleaned
by reversing the flow (backwashing). The upward backwash rate is sufficient to suspend
the media particles and wash the filtered solids from the bed. Air or surface scouring of
the media during backwash ensures adequate cleaning and prevents mud balls from
forming. The backwash wastewater (typically less than 5% of the total influent flow, for
a well-run filter), is recycled through the WWTP. To avoid hydraulic surges through the
plant, backwash is often diverted to a storage tank and then recycled to the plant at a controlled rate.
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Operation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants


Backwashing requires conventional filters to be taken offline, and the cumulative
production downtime can be significant. To circumvent this problem, continuousbackwash granular media filters were developed. These proprietary filters backwash
and filter simultaneously, and filter secondary effluents effectively.
Granular media filtration can be done via gravity flow in open concrete or steel structures, or under applied pressure in steel pressure vessels. Its operation and control may be
readily automated.

RECARBONATIONpH ADJUSTMENT. If lime is added to an effluent as a


coagulant, the effluents pH will rise to between 10 and 11 and the carbonate (hardness) in the water will precipitate as calcium carbonate, as illustrated by the following
reaction:
Ca(HCO3)2  Ca(OH)2 2CaCO3  2H2O

(24.1)

Calcium carbonate can tenaciously encrust and bind downstream filter media, so the
softened water must be stabilized before filtration by adding carbon dioxide or acids
to it. Carbon dioxide is typically usedhence the term recarbonationand the resulting chemical reaction is as follows:
CaCO3  CO2  H2O Ca(HCO3)2

(24.2)

One reason that carbon dioxide is preferred is that its storage and handling requirements are less restrictive than those for strong acids; another is that acids tend to
increase the total dissolved solids (TDS) in the final effluent.

DESCRIPTION OF PROCESSES
AND PROCESS EQUIPMENT
COAGULANTS. Depending on the treatment objective, coagulants either destabilize similarly charged particles so they will settle more readily or react chemically with
compounds to precipitate them. These functions are not mutually exclusive. For example, a coagulant added to enhance settling may also precipitate phosphorusand even
reduce heavy metal concentrations and improve disinfection efficiency. A list of common coagulants and some of their properties is provided in Table 24.1.
The amount of coagulant needed depends on time and wastewater characteristics.
For example, the aluminum and iron salt concentrations needed for good phosphorus
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
removal are typically proportional to the phosphorus concentration and, to a lesser extent, the waters alkalinity. Lime requirements depend largely on the wastewaters alkalinity. Magnesium hydroxide, a gelatinous precipitate frequently formed when lime
is added to hard waters containing the magnesium ion, helps remove colloidal material efficiently, but may adversely affect dewatering.
While all coagulants typically increase sludge production, aluminum and iron
salts add significant quantities of dissolved solids (sulfates, chlorides, etc., as measured
by the TDS parameter) to the final effluent and are not currently amenable to recovery
and reuse. Also, alum and ferric chloride lower the effluents pH and consume alkalinity (about 0.55 mg/L CaCO3 per mg/L of alum and 0.93 mg/L CaCO3 per mg/L of ferric chloride). In waters with low natural (background) alkalinity, utility staff may want
to consider alternatives (e.g., sodium aluminate or aluminum chloride). Alum also enhances heavy metal removals, and the heavy metal concentrations in the precipitated
sludge could affect biosolids management options.
If ferrous salts (instead of ferric salts) are considered, the water must have a pH of
approximately 8.5 or more (not typical at WWTPs) or the salts must be used with chlorine to allow oxidation to the ferric state. Alternatives to alum include sodium aluminate, which does not consume alkalinity, or aluminum chloride.
If lime is used, it can be recovered via recalcination, but this process consumes
large amounts of energy. High-pH lime coagulation, however, can disinfect the water
and precipitate certain heavy metals. As a result, the chemical sludges heavy metals
concentrations could limit the plants biosolids management options.
Metal salts (e.g., alum and ferric chloride) are commonly used coagulants in wastewater treatment; however, the coagulant should be chosen based on anticipated performance, cost, and material handling issues. The capital costs for coagulant-addition facilities are similar, but the operations and maintenance costs depend on the wastewater
characteristics and desired effluent pollutant levels. Unless there are specific concerns
about solids handling and disposal, alum will often be selected over ferric chloride because it is less expensive, less corrosive, safer, and easier to handle.
Coagulant-addition equipment typically includes storage facilities (e.g., plastic
tanks), feed equipment (e.g., feed pumps), and a containment area (sized to hold the
contents of the largest storage tank if it failed when full). Wastewater utilities should
keep adequate quantities of the chemical on hand and be aware of its special properties. For example, a 49% alum solution will begin to crystallize at approximately 0C
(32F) and freeze at approximately 7.7C (18F). Likewise, a 35 to 40% solution of ferric
chloride has a freezing point of 50C (58F), but may start to crystallize at approximately 0C (32F). So, the storage and feed equipment may require heat tracing.
Utilities should keep onsite at least as much coagulant as (a) 1 months average daily
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Operation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants


use, (b) 3 to 4 days of peak daily use, or (c) 150% of a typical delivery volume [typically,
28 to 30 m3 (7500 to 8000 gal) because most tank trucks hold between 17 and 19 m3
(4500 and 5000 gal)], whichever is largest. They should also allow adequate ordering
and delivery times, including allowances for extended weekends, holidays, or unforeseen circumstances.
Most coagulant feed systems use positive-displacement pumps (e.g., diaphragm
metering and progressing cavity pumps), although other variants (e.g., gear pumps and
peristaltic hose pumps) can be used. Large plants may require centrifugal pumps or
large progressing cavity pumps. If dry chemicals are used, dry feeders (screw, rotary,
gravimetric, etc.), dissolver tanks, mixing tanks, or solution storage tanks may be required. If supplemental alkalinity is needed (not common at wastewater utilities), lime
or caustic can be added. This will increase costs and handling requirements, and utility
staff may find sodium aluminate or aluminum chloride to be more cost-effective.
The coagulant systems controls tend to be relatively simple: either manual, flowpaced, pH-based, or adjustable based on historical and anticipated diurnal loadings.
In addition to metal salts, polymers or polyelectrolytes may be added to promote
coagulation and flocculation. A large variety of polymers is commercially available;
they may be natural or synthetic, and liquid or dry. Synthetic polymers may be further classified as cationic, anionic, or non-ionic based on the type of charge (or lack
thereof) on the polymer chain. Polymers may be used alone or, more commonly, with
a metal salt. In either case, the polymer feed rate is low: typically less than 5 mg/L and
often less than 1 mg/L. The equipment involved is similar to that used for metal salt,
albeit smaller. Totes are commonly used for liquid polymer.

COAGULANT MIXING. Coagulants may be added to the flow stream in several


ways, depending on the application point and mixing device used (Figures 24.1
through 24.4). For example, coagulants may be added to basins via mechanical mixers;
injected into pipelines via in-line diffusers, static mixers, or modulating valves; or into
open channels either directly or through an open-channel diffuser. Open channels typically have turbulent flow downstream of a Parshall flume, a similar flow-measurement
device, or a hydraulic control point (e.g., a weir). If an open channel lacks turbulent
flow, it can be simulated by adding in-channel mixing vanes, an air sparger, or an inchannel rapid-mixing device below the chemical-feed diffuser.
Sufficient mixing energy, mixing control, and detention time are critical to ensure
that the coagulant is used efficiently and functions effectively. Mixing energy typically
should range from 4.26 to 17.02 kW/m3s (0.25 to 1 hp/mgd) of flow. Mixing controls
should be able to vary the mixing energy so coagulant can be used more efficiently.
Basins equipped with variable-speed flash mixers are popular because they can control
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment

FIGURE 24.1

In-basin mechanical rapid-mixing device.

FIGURE 24.2

In-line diffusers.
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Operation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

FIGURE 24.3 (a) In-line helical element static mixer (cutaway) and (b) in-line blade
element static mixer (cutaway).

the mixing energy. On the other hand, using open channels for coagulant addition can
be ineffective because turbulent mixing cannot be controlled. This can be compensated for by overfeeding the coagulant, but this solution is unnecessarily expensive. If
the plant hydraulic profile requires that coagulant be added in an open channel (commonly encountered in plant retrofits), jet mixing devices (Figure 24.4) could be used to
create the required turbulence, depending on hydraulic characteristics. Some plants also
take advantage of the turbulence in a pumps volute to rapidly mix coagulants into
the effluent flow. If this approach is used, utility staff should verify that the pump volute
is compatible with the chemical being added, to avoid corrosion at the injection point.
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment

FIGURE 24.4 (a) In-channel rapid-mixing device (schematic) and (b) close-up of in-line
rapid-mixing device (discharge end).
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Operation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants


Because coagulant chemical reactions are rapid, detention times are less critical than
mixing energy and mixing control. However, time should be factored in the process. For
example, rapid-mix basins typically have a detention time of 15 to 60 seconds to allow coagulants to disperse.

Analytical Tools to Determine Mixing Efficiency. Poor mixing performance is typically the result of low mixing energy input, hydraulic short-circuiting, or other factors.
Traditional tools (e.g., dye or tracer studies) or new analytical techniques [e.g., computational fluid dynamics (CFD), digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV), laser Doppler anemometry (LDA), and laser induced fluorescence (LIF)] may be used to study
and resolve these issues. Of these, the most common technique seems to be CFD or its
specific subspecialty: computational fluid mixing (CFM).
Computational Fluid Mixing. Efficient use of coagulants can result in significant cost
savings. The drive to reduce chemical costs led wastewater treatment professionals to
use CFD techniques to optimize the mixing process. They even created a CFD subgroup
specialization: CFM. This tool can be applied to both existing installations and new
designs. For existing installations, site-specific CFDCFM models can be developed that
analyze mixing patterns for various chemicals (based on their physical and chemical
properties), and the spatial distribution of chemicals and mixing energy across a rapidmix basin. The models can then be used to choose a coagulant, determine injection rates,
compute optimal mixing energy levels, and relocate or design retrofit accessories (e.g.,
baffles and baffle plates) to further optimize coagulant usage.
Site-specific CFDCFM modeling was popularized in general industry in the
1990s and is becoming common in the water and wastewater treatment industry, especially at larger plants. The software and services needed to develop cost-effective
models are available from most large and mid-sized consulting engineering firms, as
well as independent CFDCFM software vendors. For example, a project team consisting of a vendor and a mid-size engineering firm recently estimated that it would cost
about $50,000 to develop a CFDCFM optimization model for a 49 210-m3/d (13-mgd)
California Title 22 recycled water facility (this estimate includes the software license).
Because the facilitys nonoptimized cost for various coagulants and flocculants was
more than $350,000 a year, the anticipated payback for the model was reasonable.

FLOCCULATION. Flocculation increases the collisions of coagulated solids and promotes chemical bridging between particles so they agglomerate to form settleable or filterable flocs. Whether done in separate basins before sedimentation or within the sedimentation tank (e.g., flocculating or high-rate clarifiers), flocculation involves prolonged
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
and gentle agitation of coagulated particles to form larger, denser particles. Mixing intensities are low: Velocity gradients of less than 60 s1 are typical. The flocs should never
be subjected to mixing more intense than that used for initial flocculation or else the floc
will break up.
During flocculation, the coagulated effluent is stirred slowly via air or mechanically driven paddles causing the solid particles to agglomerate, become heavy, and settle on the tank floor. Flocculation basins are often baffled or may be two or three basins
in series; their total detention times typically range from 10 to 45 minutes. As the effluent moves through the process, the stirring becomes gentler.
Flocculation can be thought of as a simple reaction:
Dispersed solids  Preformed flocs 3 Flocs

(24.3)

As in most chemical reactions, both forward and reverse reactions occur. In this case, the
forward reaction is aggregation and the reverse reaction is floc breakup. Equilibrium is
reached when the aggregation rate equals the breakup rate. This equilibrium is a function
primarily of the mixing intensity; lower mixing intensities favor the forward reaction, but
there has to be enough mixing to facilitate the collisions necessary to form settleable floc.
The time required for flocculation depends on the wastewater or effluent characteristics. For example, the South Tahoe (California) Public Utility District lime-coagulated,
activated sludge effluent flocculates in 5 minutes in an air-agitated basin; good flocculation is obtained even without agitation. However, the lime-coagulated, trickling-filter
effluent at the Orange County (California) Water Districts Water Factory 21 is difficult
to flocculate; 20 to 30 minutes of careful mixing is needed to form a good settling floc.
Wastewater treatment professionals have developed a jar-test procedure to determine
the appropriate flocculation time for activated sludge effluent; it may be used with
other flocculation systems as well (Wahlberg et al., 1994).
Several flocculation basins in series will perform better than one large basin with the
same total volume because they provide better mixing and can use different mixing energies. The following types of mechanical mixers are used for flocculation (Figure 24.5):
Paddle- or reel-type devices;
Reciprocating units (walking-beam flocculator, in which the paddles move in a
vertical, up-and-down pattern);
Slow-speed, flat-blade turbines; and
Slow-speed, axial-flow propellers or turbines.

SEDIMENTATION. Sedimentation separates solids from liquids via gravity. The


settling basins (or clarifiers or sedimentation tanks) typically contain mechanically driCopyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

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Operation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants

FIGURE 24.5

Typical flocculation mixers.

ven scrapers that continuously move the settled sludge to a hopper, from which it is
pumped or removed via hydrostatic pressure. The tanks may be either rectangular or
circular horizontal-flow tanks. The degree of treatment obtained depends largely on
the upstream processes (i.e., the type and quantity of chemicals used, mixing times, and
the degree of care in process monitoring and control). A commonly used parameter for
controlling sedimentation is the surface overflow rate (Table 24.2).
Utilities that tried to use upflow, sludge blanket-type settling tanks for sedimentation reported difficulty in maintaining a sludge blanket. The units operated successfully, however, when the surface overflow rate was lowered to that typical of convenCopyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment

TABLE 24.2 Surface loading rates for clarifiers treating common chemically treated
effluents (Metcalf & Eddy, 2003).
Overflow rate
m3/m2d

gpd/sq ft
Suspension

Typical range

Peak flow

Typical range

Peak flow

Alum floc*

7001400

1200

3070

80

Iron floc*

7001400

1200

3070

80

Lime floc*

7501500

1500

3580

90

Untreated wastewater

6001200

1200

3070

80

*Includes settleable suspended solids in untreated wastewater and colloidal or other suspended solids in floc.

tional settling tanks and the sludge blanket was significantly reduced or eliminated
(essentially converting them to conventional radial-flow basins). The unstable sludge
blankets are thought to be primarily caused by variations in the influents properties.
Upflow tanks work better in water treatment, where the influent is relatively uniform
and can be pumped into the clarifiers at a more or less constant flowrate.
Patented high-rate clarification systems use both gravity and densifying solidscontact or ballasted-media flocculation technologies to clarify coagulated and flocculated effluents. A major selling point of these technologies is that their high surface
overflow rates enable them to have smaller footprints than conventional clarifiers.
In a solids-contact units reactor zone, influent combines with reactants and preformed solids from the presettlingthickening zone, flowing up through a draft tube
where a specially designed turbine initiates flocculation (Figure 24.6). As the mixture
resettles, its density increases. The internal recirculation rate is up to ten times that of
the influent flow, producing optimum floc density. The flocculated effluent enters the presettlingthickening zone over a submerged weir. The solids then sink to the bottom of the
vessel, where a slow-moving rake helps make them thicker and more dense. This maintains solids homogeneity, while releasing more entrained water. Thickened sludge is
periodically blown down from the bottom of the thickener and typically pumped to a
final dewatering mechanism. In the clarification zone, supernatant flows upward through
settling tubes and is polished. The settling tubes allow rise rates of up to 0.068 m3/m2  s
(10 gpm/sq ft) for most metal salt coagulation processesoften higher for lime addition
processes. The clarified water is uniformly collected in effluent launders above the tubes.
The ballasted media system (Figure 24.7) uses a technique that consists of fixing
the flocs (suspended solids) onto microsand with the aid of a coagulant and a polymer.
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FIGURE 24.6

High-rate solids contact clarifier.

It is reputed to reduce mixing time fivefold compared to classical flocculation, and to


increase the rise rate tenfold compared with conventional tube settling. Lamellar settlers, in turn, provide a large clarification surface area in a small tank volume.
Influent first enters a flash mixing zone, which destabilizes the colloids. Here,
wastewater is rapidly mixed with coagulant for about 1 minute. The wastewater then

FIGURE 24.7

Ballasted media, high-rate clarification system.


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PhysicalChemical Treatment
enters the injection tank, where microsand and polymer are added and rapidly mixed
for about 1 minute. Then, the water enters a maturation zone, where it is gently mixed
for about 4 minutes. This allows the microsand ballasted flocs to grow bigger, so they
can trap random flocs and settle faster in the sedimentation tank. The polymer works
like a glue to affix the flocs to the microsand.
The water then enters the settling tank, where the microsand ballasted flocs settle
immediately. The water flows up through settling tubes to collection troughs at the
surface and exits the process.
The microsand ballasted sludge is pumped from the bottom of the settling tank to
a hydrocyclone, where the microsand is cleaned from the sludge via centrifugal force.
The sludge is continuously removed for treatment, and the microsand is re-injected
into the system (it is continuously recycled).

RECARBONATIONpH ADJUSTMENT. During lime coagulation, the waters pH is often raised to between 10 and 11. At these pH values, the water is unstable and calcium carbonate will readily precipitate. This tenacious precipitate tends to
encrust any downstream filters or carbon particles. To avoid this difficulty, the water
is stabilized by lowering the pH to less than 8.8. In large WWTPs, pH reduction typically involves injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) gas into the water (recarbonation). The
carbon dioxide may be obtained from the stack gases of onsite incinerators, purchased
as liquid carbon dioxide, or formed via fuel burning. An option for plants using
a high-purity oxygen (HPO) activated sludge process would be to use the carbon
dioxide-rich offgas from the HPO process, supplemented (as required) with an outside source of carbon dioxide. Some plants use sulfuric acid injection, which adds
sulfates to the water.
Recarbonation may be done in one or two stages. In the single-stage process, enough
carbon dioxide is injected to lower the pH to the desired value in one step. It also dissolves the calcium in lime, so the plant effluent will have a calcium concentration. In twostage recarbonation, enough carbon dioxide is added in the first stage to lower the pH to
between 9.5 and 10. The resulting calcium carbonate precipitate is allowed to settle,
thereby removing calcium from the water and making it available for lime recovery.
Then, more carbon dioxide is injected until the pH drops to the desired value.

FILTRATION. Filtering wastewater is difficult. The wastewaters solids content


varies and could be high if upstream processes are improperly operated. Variable
wastewater flow also causes operating difficulties. For example, rapid sand-filter media are used widely in water treatment but not in wastewater treatment because of
poor performance when filtering flows with high suspended solids concentrations.
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Dual- and triple-media (multimedia) filters are more effective for wastewater treatment. Filters with alternative media or designs (e.g., traveling bridge and continuous
backwash filters) have also been used and are becoming more popular in wastewater
treatment.
The gravity and pressure filter structures (Figures 24.8 and 24.9) often used for
water treatment are readily adaptable to wastewater filtration. Wastewater is more
difficult to filter than well or surface water because the solids are sticky from biological activity and more highly concentrated. In typical shallow-bed sand or diatomite
water treatment filters, wastewater tends to quickly blind the filter surface. Nevertheless, some shallow-bed single-media filtersdesigned specifically for wastewater
applicationshave been successful.
Dual-media and multimedia filters allow more of the filter depth to be used to
capture solids, making wastewater filtration practical.
A multimedia filter is a coarse-to-fine filter; its pore space gradually shrinks
as the water moves toward the output point (Figure 24.10). The number of media
grains also typically increases, although the grain size is not uniform because the filtration media have three specific gravities (coal, 1.4; sand, 2.65; and garnet, 4.5). This
structure enables removed solids to be stored throughout the depth of the bed
rather than only at the surface, greatly extending the length of filter runs between
backwashes.

FIGURE 24.8

Cross-section of a typical gravity filter.


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PhysicalChemical Treatment

FIGURE 24.9

Typical pressure filter.

FIGURE 24.10 Schematic cross-section of an ideal filter, uniformly graded from coarse
to fine from top to bottom.
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FIGURE 24.11

Schematic of a continuous backwash, upflow filter.

Alternative filter configurations currently gaining popularity include continuous


backwash filters, cloth media filters, and synthetic media filters (Figures 24.11, 24.12,
and 24.13). Other designs (and design variations) are also becoming common.
In the continuous backwash, upflow filter (Figure 24.11), influent flows from the
feed line (A), through the feed assembly (B), and enters the inlet distributor (C) in the
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PhysicalChemical Treatment

FIGURE 24.12

Schematic of a cloth media filter and its operating cycles.

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FIGURE 24.13

Schematic of operating cycles for a compressible-media, upflow filter.

lower section of the unit. It then flows upward through the sand bed (D). Simultaneously, the sand bed and the accumulated solids are drawn downward into the airlift
pipe (F) at the center of the filter. A small volume of compressed air is introduced at the
bottom of the airlift. The air rises, draws the sand into the airlift, and scours the sand of
trapped particles.
When it reaches the top of the airlift (G), the dirty slurry spills over into the central
reject compartment (H). The sand is returned to the sand bed through the washer/separator (I). As the sand falls through the washer, which consists of several concentric
stages, a small amount of filtered water passes upward, washing away the dirt, while alCopyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
lowing the heavier, coarser sand to fall through to the bed. By setting the reject
weir (K) lower than the filtrate weir (J), a steady stream of washwater is assured. The
continuous reject exits near the top of the filter (L), while the filtered water exits
through the filtrate line (E). So, the sand bed is cleaned while producing both filtrate
and reject. The process is continuous; it does not need to be taken out of service for
backwashing.

PROCESS CONTROL SYSTEMS


The most important process control systems during phosphorus and enhanced suspended solids removal are those involving the chemical dose and filter operations.

DETERMINING CHEMICAL DOSE. Determining the proper chemical dose


for enhanced solids removal is different than calculating one for phosphorus reduction. When alum or ferric chloride are added to wastewater, the resulting metallic hydroxide floc can entrap suspended solids and settles slowly, physically sweeping out
suspended solids. The correct coagulant dose for enhanced suspended solids removal varies as the wastewater characteristics vary and should be determined based
on extensive jar testing and bench-scale or pilot-scale tests.
Phosphorus removal relies on chemical reactions to form sparingly soluble orthophosphates that can be removed via precipitation with primary or secondary (waste activated) sludge, or separately in chemical clarifiers following secondary treatment. So,
utility staff can estimate a preliminary range of chemical doses based on a wastewaters
phosphorus content. However, they should conduct jar tests to compare design dose
values to the doses actually required to reduce phosphorus in that specific wastewater.
Phosphorus Reduction. If lime is used for phosphorus removal, it is typically added
to the primary clarification step or a tertiary treatment unit. The lime dose required
to achieve a given turbidity, effluent phosphate concentration, or pH depends primarily on the wastewaters alkalinity (Figure 24.14). When used for phosphorus removal, the lime dose is essentially independent of the influent phosphorus concentration. Lime also is used frequently for pH control in systems using aluminum or
ferric coagulants to remove phosphorus. When the pH reaches 9.5 via lime addition,
orthophosphate converts to an insoluble form. Operating at a pH between 10 and 11 is
sometimes necessary, especially if ammonia must be stripped. Typical lime doses range
from 250 to 450 mg/L, but sometimes more lime is needed to form a readily settleable
precipitate.
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FIGURE 24.14

The relationship between lime dose and wastewater alkalinity.

If the coagulant is an aluminum salt (e.g., alum), the dose needed for phosphorus
removal depends on the wastewaters phosphorus content. To achieve 85 to 90% phosphorus removal, aluminumphosphorus mole ratios of approximately 21 are typical
(Metcalf & Eddy, 2003). Assuming a typical concentration of 10 mg/L of phosphorus, a
dose of 192 mg/L of alum can be calculated as follows [formula weight of alum,
Al2(SO4)3  14H2O  594.4]:

10 mg P 2 mmol P 2 mmol Al 1 mmol alum 594.4 mg alum

31 mg P 1 mmol P 2 mmol Al mmol alum


L
 192 mg alum/L
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PhysicalChemical Treatment
If using commercial-grade alum (48 to 49%), which contains about 5.4 lb of dry alum
per gallon of solution (0.65 kg/L), the amount needed per million gallons of wastewater is
(1 mil. gal)(192 mg/L)(8.34 lb/mil. gal)
(5.4 lb/gal)

(24.5)

 297 gal of alum solution (1124 L per cubic meter of flow)


Chemical overdosing can hurt the process as much as underdosing, so the in-plant
chemical dosage rate should be set significantly lower than the theoretical dose and
then systematically increased until optimum performance is attained.
Like aluminum salts, iron salt doses depend on the phosphorus content. Operating experience has shown that efficient phosphorus removal with iron salts requires
1.8 mg/L of iron per 1 mg/L of phosphorus (Metcalf & Eddy, 2003), plus at least 10 mg/L
of iron for hydroxide formation. On this basis, 85 to 90% phosphorus reductions typically
require 15 to 30 mg/L of iron (ranging from 45 to 90 mg/L as ferric chloride) per 1 mg/L
of phosphorus.

Heavy Metal Removal. Many of the common heavy metals form insoluble hydroxides
at pH 11, so lime coagulation reduces these metal concentrations. Except for mercury,
cadmium, and selenium, lime coagulation removes 90% or more of most heavy metals.
Filtration can even remove more heavy metals by removing residual particulate matter.
Alum will also enhance heavy metal removals. The heavy metals removed from wastewater accumulate in the sludge and may limit the sludge management options.
Bacteria and Virus Removal. Alum coagulation can remove 95 to 99% of viruses, and
ferric chloride coagulation removes 92 to 94% when combined with sedimentation and
filtration. In both cases, good virus removal depends on good floc formation, and 99%
virus removal can be achieved if alum or ferric chloride is coupled with effective filtration. However, viruses are extremely small and will break through filters at the first sign
of turbidity breakthrough, indicated by filter effluent turbidity increases of 0.5 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) or fewer. Viruses are not deactivated by physicalchemical
processes, so their chemical sludges require more treatment or storage.
Lime coagulation effectively inactivates viruses at high pH. The inactivation rate
increases rapidly as pH increases from 10.1 to 10.8 and then to 11.1.
Chemical coagulation and flocculation, sedimentation, and filtration substantially
reduce the numbers of bacteria and viruses. Their effluent has low turbidity, ensuring
effective bacterial and viral kills if subsequently disinfected.
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Suspended Solids Reduction. When a coagulant is used to precipitate phosphates and


reduce suspended solids, it can be safely assumed that the coagulant doses that produce good phosphorus removal will typically produce good solids removal, especially
if polymers are used to flocculate fine, precipitated matter. This can be confirmed by jar
testing, where the supernatant (liquid above the settled sludge/precipitate) is analyzed
for turbidity or suspended solids.

CONTROLLING CHEMICAL DOSE. In a physicalchemical WWTP, the bestdesigned equipment cannot substitute for proper control of chemical coagulation. Insufficient coagulant doses will produce an excessively turbid effluent. Excessive doses
may have the same result, as will inadequate or excessive mixing. Excessive turbidity
increases the probability of microorganisms escaping subsequent disinfection because
of turbiditys shielding effect. Successful treatment depends on proper coagulation
(i.e., proper chemical doses and adequate mixing).
Achieving proper coagulation has challenged operators for many years, and a
wide variety of control techniques has been developed. Most involve laboratory or
bench-scale tests, the results of which operators then scale up to full-scale plant operations. For example, the most widely used technique is the jar test. In its simplest form,
this test involves collecting an effluent sample, transporting it to the laboratory, and
then dividing it among several beakers. Each beaker receives a different coagulant dose,
and the contents are subjected to various mixing regimes (primarily through varied
mixer speeds) in a ganged multiple-paddle mixing device. After an appropriate period,
stirring is stopped, and the floc is allowed to settle. (The tests may be run multiple
times to gauge the effects of different mixing periods.) Operators then determine the
optimum coagulant dose based on the clarity of the supernatant after settling. Operators
often visually inspect the supernatant to select the best dose, but measuring filtered supernatant turbidity in a laboratory turbidimeter provides a more objective means of selecting the optimum dose. Experience has shown that the jar test is effective, but there
are issues with scale-up. Therefore, optimum dosages are often determined in pilot- or
full-scale facilities.
Modern WWTP designs enable operators to control automatically the amount of
coagulant feed in proportion to plant flow. However, coagulant demand may depend
on additional variables. Data from jar tests preceding plant design may indicate a useful correlation between a parameter that can be monitored automatically and the required coagulant dose. For example, the required lime dose may correlate well with
pH. If so, it can be controlled automatically via a pH monitor on the settling tank effluent. Alum or ferric chloride doses may correlate well with the raw wastewaters phosphorus content, so the WWTP design may incorporate some means of automatically
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PhysicalChemical Treatment
controlling coagulant doses based on some measure of phosphorus concentration. If
the WWTP lacks such controls or if an existing automatic system malfunctions, then
the coagulant dose must be controlled via manual tests (e.g., jar tests).
The jar test has limitations. For example, the optimum coagulant dose indicated in
a jar-test beaker may not necessarily provide optimum results on a WWTP scale because
the two mixing efficiencies probably differ. Also, there is an inherent time lag involved;
by the time that the optimum chemical dose has been determined, the water involved
has already passed by. This time lag can be shortened if the operator is alert to changing
conditions that require dose adjustments.
Because temperature plays an important role in coagulation, the wastewater samples for jar tests must be collected and analyzed only after all other preparations are
made to reduce the possible effect of room temperature on the samples. Valid results
demand that WWTP conditions be closely simulated. Dosing solutions or suspensions
are prepared from the stock materials actually used in plant treatment. The distilled water used to prepare lime suspensions is boiled for 15 minutes to expel the carbon dioxide
and then cooled to room temperature before the lime is added (AWWA, 2002).
The required frequency for jar tests will vary widely from one locale to another.
Some wastewater streams may vary little in coagulant demand from day to day or
from hour to hour. Others may vary markedly during the day because of the wastewaters major diurnal variations. High turbidity in the chemical settling-tank effluent
reliably indicates improper chemical dosing. After checking to be sure that some mechanical failure of the chemical feed system is not at fault, operators must quickly use
the jar test to determine the change in coagulant dose required. Even with a dose correction, some time will elapse before a noticeable improvement occurs, because the settling tank is already filled with improperly coagulated wastewater. If the filter system
is equipped with provisions for adding filter aids, the improperly coagulated settling
tank effluent may receive compensating coagulant doses before filtration. This may
avoid impairing the WWTPs effluent quality despite possible shortened filter runs.
In terms of system instrumentation and controls, an ideal, automated control system
for chemical phosphorus removal would adjust the metal salt, polymer, and supplemental alkalinity doses to maximize phosphorus removal and minimize costs with changing
wastewater characteristics. However, such systems do not seem to have a consistent history in the industry. Therefore, a common process control system is to manually set and
adjust the dose rates based on observed performance. This typically results in the dose
being set higher than needed to account for fluctuations in phosphorus loading without
violating permit limits at peak conditions. Other methods incorporate a related parameter (e.g., flow, pH, or turbidity) or adjust the dose based on historical and anticipated diurnal loadings, to provide a degree of automated or quasi-automated control.
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RECYCLING/WASTING CHEMICAL SLUDGE. More solids are generated at


WWTPs when chemical addition is practiced. Unless some form of solids contact or
floc blanket clarification is desired, chemical sludge is typically removed or wasted
out of the system. However, some WWTPs with separate mixing, flocculation, and
settling basins recycle settled sludge to either the mixing or flocculation basins to enhance floc formation. The previously precipitated particles in the return sludge may
form a nucleus for more rapid agglomeration of colloidal particles in the wastewater.
Also, the mass-action effect of the higher solids concentrations in the flocculation
chamber may benefit floc formation. However, if the organic solids in the sludge are
unusually high, recycle may impair floc formation. In WWTPs using lime coagulation
and two-stage recarbonation, the best source of recycle sludge is the material that settles after first-stage recarbonation because it is almost pure calcium carbonate and has
a low organic content.
While metal salt addition will increase the nonvolatile fraction of the mixed-liquor
suspended solids (MLSS) in an activated sludge plant (requiring higher MLSS values
to maintain treatment levels), the major effects of sludge wasting from chemical treatment are typically felt more in the downstream solids-handling processes. In addition
to the higher amounts of solids to be handled, chemical sludges are also difficult
to thicken and dewater (the reasons why are not yet fully understood). Also, the properties of these sludges and the degree of difficulty in handling them will not be the
same from one facility to the next. While alum sludges are typically more difficult to
thicken and dewater than ferric chloride sludges, the site-specific nature of sludge merits pilot- or full-scale testing of its effects on solids-handling facilities.
OPTIMIZING FILTER RUN TIME. Effluent Quality and Headloss. Filter operation depends on the flowrate through the filter, which in turn depends on the headloss through the filter. So, effective filtration control should involve continuous monitoring of headlosss and influent and effluent turbidity. Also, better influent quality (i.e.,
better upstream secondary process operations) should slow headloss buildup, thereby
increasing run times and decreasing backwash needs.

Filter Aids. Modern filtration systems include feed equipment for filter aids (typically
polymers). Polymers are high-molecular-weight, water-soluble organic chemicals that
can be used as coagulants, settling aids, or filtration aids. They may be cationic, anionic, or non-ionic. When used as a filtration aid, a polymer dose of less than 1.0 mg/L
typically can increase the strength of the chemical floc and control the depth of floc
penetration into the filter. For best results, the polymer should be added directly to the
filter influent. However, if polymers are used as settling aids, filtration aids may be unCopyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
necessary. Also, polymers cannot compensate cost-effectively for improper chemical
coagulation or poorly performing secondary processes.
When determining the proper polymer dose, a common test procedure is to add
an initial dose (typically approximately 1.0 mg/L), observe the effects, and then lower
or increase the dose in increments of 0.25 to 0.5 mg/L, as appropriate, until a desired
operating range is obtained.

Effects of Polymers. If the polymer dose is too low (Figure 24.15a) the floc will be fragile
and shear; penetration of the filter will result. This terminates the filter run prematurely
because of a breakthrough of effluent turbidity. If the polymer dose is too high (Figure
24.15b), the floc becomes too strong for penetration of the filter, causing a rapid buildup
of headloss in the upper portion the filter. The excessive headloss prematurely terminates
the filter run. The optimum polymer dose (Figure 24.15c) allows the filter to reach terminal headloss just as its effluent turbidity begins increasing. It prevents premature
termination of the filter run because of excessive headloss or turbidity breakthrough,
thereby reducing the amount of filter washwater to be recycled through the WWTP.
Polymer Handling. Polymers can be delivered to WWTPs in either liquid or powder
form. Although dry polymers have some handling issues, may not dissolve easily, and
require special dissolution, mixing, and feeding equipment, their use can lower overall
costs more than liquid polymers can. Because many polymers are biodegradable, they
can only be stored in dilute solution for a few days before losing strength. Polymer feed
equipment includes some type of positive-displacement pump (e.g., diaphragm pumps
and progressing cavity pumps). Handling issues can increase costs. For example, the
pump head of diaphragm pumps can be plugged by fish-eyes in the polymer, caused
by unwanted moisture in the dry polymer storage facility or improper wetting when the
dry polymer is converted to a liquid. Also, some treatment plants contract with their
polymer suppliers to recycle their polymer totes (to save money). If the bins are not
cleaned or are cleaned incompletely before refilling, a skin will form inside the bins
that may break off into the polymer and plug pumps. While this problem can be minimized by adding strainers upstream of the pumps, unwanted moisture could enter the
feed system when the strainers are cleaned.
When using polymers, utility staff should remain open to change. Liquid polymer is best delivered in bulk and kept onsite in storage tanks. Utility staff should
conduct periodic polymer trials to ensure that they are still using the most costeffective product. If a utility decides to switch polymers, the storage tanks must be
thoroughly cleaned and dried before the new product is delivered (assuming it is
a solution or emulsion) because mixing polymers can lead to undesirable results,
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FIGURE 24.15 Effects of polymers as filtration aids: (a) inadequate polymer dose,
(b) excessive polymer dose, and (c) optimal polymer dose.
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PhysicalChemical Treatment
including polymerization of the product, which would necessitate manual cleaning
of the tank.

BACKWASHING FILTERS. Successful filter operations depend on clean filter


media. If the media are not cleaned adequately, biological organisms could accumulate
and eventually plug the filter. Adequate backwashing, along with surface wash or
airwater backwash, can eliminate plugging.

Media Expansion and Suspension. Wastewater treatment professionals used to believe that the filter media had to expand by 50% for cleaning to be effective. However,
optimum scouring of the media particles occurs when media suspension begins, because the total shearing force against the media grains equals the weight of the media
in water. The shearing force remains constant, no matter how much more the media expansion and wash rates increase. So, a wash rate corresponding to 25% expansion of
the coal layer is adequate for a dual-media filter.
How much filter media expand depends on the backwash rate, which in turn depends on the water temperature and the filter medias size and specific gravity. (There
is an indirect relationship between temperature and water viscosity.) The backwash water needed may be as much as 8 to 10% of the filter influent flowrate, although a welloperated filter should use less than 5% of its influent flow for backwashing. A rise in
water temperature from 10C to 20C (50F to 68F) requires the wash rate to increase
about 30% to maintain a given expansion of silica sand. So, operators must observe
changes in wastewater temperature and adjust the backwash rates accordingly.
Backwash Duration. For most conventional filters, the optimum backwash duration
depends on the filters use, but typically ranges from 5 to 8 minutes. Highly treated
backwash water (e.g., filter effluent or chemically coagulated and settled wastewater)
will always have low suspended solids concentrations. Operators should carefully
monitor the backwash flow indicator to maintain the desired backwash rate.
Surface Washing. For conventional filters, an effective surface wash ensures that clumps
of media and floc do not survive the backwash as mud balls. The term surface wash in
this context is a misnomer because the lateral currents established actually circulate the
beds entire contents. A typical surface-wash apparatus consists of a revolving pipe
with a number of nozzles suspended by a bearing at the pipes center. These units, positioned 2.5 to 5.1 cm (1 to 2 in.) above the normal surface of the filter, inject washwater
through the nozzles [at less than 340 tp 690 kPa (50 to 100 psi) of pressure] causing the
pipe to rotate. The water supply requirements for these devices vary, but typically
range from 0.5 to 0.7 L/m2s (0.75 to 1.0 gpm/sq ft).
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Typically, surface wash starts approximately 60 seconds before the main backwash pumps are turned on and stops 60 seconds before the end of backwash to allow
the bed to reclassify. The nozzles, directed downward approximately 30 degrees from
the horizontal, cause agitation throughout the bed depth. The surface washwater must
be high quality to avoid plugging the nozzles. A strainer with 2.4-mm (0.09-in.) perforations is often used in the surface wash line as precaution.
In pressure-filter systems, an external indicator shows whether the surface wash
arm is actually rotating during backwash. Operators ensure that the surface wash system is functioning properly during each backwash. Deep filters sometimes have a rotating agitator in the bed that is similar to the surface wash arms. These subsurface agitators have the nozzles staggered from 15 degrees above horizontal to 15 degrees below.
Airwater backwash techniques are an alternative to mechanical surface wash. It
involves injecting air through the filter underdrain system. The rising air bubbles break
up mud balls in the filter. In dual- or multimedia beds using coal, the backwash water
and the air cannot be applied at the same time because the air tends to float the coal out
of the filter.

DATA COLLECTION
Data collection and analysis for regulatory reporting, process monitoring, safety, and
historical data collection are discussed briefly below. (For more information on data
collection and analysis, see Chapter 17.)

SAMPLESTYPES AND ANALYSIS. Sample types can be broadly categorized


by the manner or method in which they are collected (e.g., manually by an operator using dippers, weighted bottles, hand-operated pumps, sludge judges, etc. or automatically via automated sampling equipment and related instrumentation, controls, and accessories). Analysis methods also may be classified as manual or automatic depending
on the tool(s), techniques, or methodology used. In fact, pH, temperature, turbidity and
other parameters can now be reliably measured via online instrumentation, and samples
only need to be collected to double-check or calibrate the online instruments. More parameters (e.g., dissolved oxygen, suspended solids, and ammonia) are being monitored
online as online instrumentation becomes ever more reliable, providing real-time information from newer and often competing technologies. Physicalchemical treatment
monitoring will involve both manual and automatic sampling and analysis, depending
on the nature and the purpose of the samples and the parameters being analyzed.
In addition to manual and automatic, samples can also be characterized as grab or
composite based on how often they are collected.
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Grab Samples. A grab sample is a discrete sample that is collected manually. They typically are taken when operators need to know process stream characteristics at a specific time. Grab samples can characterize process stream variations over time, as well
as allow rapid analysis of unstable parameters.
Composite Samples. A composite sample is one sample consisting of a combination of
grab samples collected during a specific period (typically, 24 hours). It can be obtained
either manually or via automatic sampling equipment and typically provides information on the flows average characteristics. Composite samples may be either time or
flow-proportioned composites. In time composites, several fixed-volume samples are
collected at specific time intervals and then combined. In flow-proportioned composites either the volume or sampling frequency of the grab samples varies so the composite better mirrors the changes in flowrates during the sampling period.
[For more information on composite sampling refer to Wastewater Sampling for
Process and Quality Control (WEF, 1996).]

QUALITY ASSURANCE PLAN. A good sampling program with detailed protocols merits a good quality assurance plan (QAP)also called QA/QC plan, or quality
assurance project plan (QAPP). A good QAP will typically
1. Provide the list of parameters to be tested and the sampling methods to be
used.
2. Present a detailed sampling plan.
3. Specify the types and sizes of samples.
4. Describe the sampling and chain-of-custody protocols.
5. Describe the sample-storage and -preservation procedures.
6. Specify and describe the analytical protocols to be used.

PERMIT REPORTING. All WWTPs operating under a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit must conduct a sampling and analysis
program to ensure compliance with their permit requirements. The permits typically
specify the parameters to be tested; the sampling location, type, frequency, and analyses to be performed; the sampling protocols (or references thereto) to be used; and the
frequency of reporting analytical results to the permitting authority. Failure to conduct
the permitted program can result in adverse action from the permitting agency.
The typical permit limits that apply to physicalchemical treatment include turbidity, pH, ammonia-nitrogen, total phosphorus, and bacteriological quality.
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PROCESS CONTROL REPORTING. In addition to the permit-related sampling


and analyses, utilities also need to do sampling and analysis for process evaluation and
control. An effective process monitoring and reporting program will provide information on each processs loading and performance, and data that allow operators to anticipate operational adjustments.
The parameters used to monitor and control physicalchemical treatment processes
can include suspended solids, alkalinity, conductivity, turbidity, pH, ammonia-nitrogen,
total phosphorus, and chemical feed rates.

PLANNED MAINTENANCE PROGRAM


Following is a brief discussion of maintenance programs. For more information on
maintenance, including types (e.g., preventive and corrective), the need to emphasize preventive maintenance, and maintenance management programs, see Chapters 6 and 12.

WHY IS A PROGRAM REQUIRED? Increasingly, maintenance managers are


viewed as asset managers responsible for the entire lifecycle value of a piece of equipment rather than on solely keeping it functional. A planned maintenance program
(PMP) optimizes the effectiveness of maintenance management via systematic methods and procedures. Its goal is to keep equipment and facilities functioning safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively, so operations staff can meet treatment targets at a minimum operating cost.
A planned maintenance program will typically incorporate a maintenance management system, which can be manual, hosted on one PC, or a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) with multiple, networked workstations. All maintenance management systems should address the following categories:

Equipment records (description and history),


Work planning and scheduling,
Storeroom and inventory,
Budget and costs tracking, and
Staffing and organization

EQUIPMENT LISTING. A good maintenance program should include an


equipment-record system with a comprehensive equipment numbering system in

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PhysicalChemical Treatment
which each item in the plant has been assigned a unique identifier. A simple means
of doing this is to assign a block of 1000 numbers to each process area or structure
within the plant. Then, each equipment item within each area can be assigned an individual number within its 1000 block. This numbering structure will also allow subareas
to be set up within a main 1000 block.
For example, lets assume that the physicalchemical treatment area at a treatment plant is assigned the 6000 block. Lets also assume that this area has the following subareas: coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. The
physicalchemical treatment area can then be organized so numbers in the 6000 to
6199 range relate to equipment in the coagulation subarea, 6200 to 6399 relate to the
flocculation area, and so on. This method will leave enough numbers unassigned to
accommodate any equipment added to that area or subarea in the future.

FREQUENCY OF CHECKS. Maintenance checks can be run hourly, daily, every


shift, weekly, monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually. How often an item should
be checked depends on various factors (e.g., age, type, and criticality of service or use;
service life; and the level of preventive and predictive maintenance desired or performed). The frequency of checks also depends on the manufacturers required and
recommended practices, especially when the item is in its warranty period. Other
factors to be considered include scheduling work to minimize idle time, reduce peak
workloads, and maximize maintenance personnels capabilities.

CONVENTIONAL PROCESSES
SEDIMENTATION. Fundamentals of the Process. Sedimentation is the process of
separating suspended particles from water via gravity in large basins or tanks, typically
under quiescent conditions. The terms sedimentation, settling, and clarification are typically used interchangeably. Wastewater treatment professionals tend to use clarification.

Description of Process and Process Equipment. Settling basins (or clarifiers or sedimentation tanks) allow solids to be separated from wastewater or chemically treated effluent via gravity. These basins typically contain mechanically driven scrapers that continuously move the settled sludge to a hopper, from which it is pumped or removed by
hydrostatic pressure.
Both rectangular and circular horizontal-flow sedimentation tanks have been used
to separate chemical sludges, as have clarifiers with large flocculating center wells, and
upflow sludge blanket clarifiers. When treating coagulated wastewater, however,

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upflow sludge blanket clarifiers have difficulty maintaining a uniform sludge blanket
and preventing solids carryover into the effluent. Variations (surges) in influent flow
can make the sludge blankets in solids contact units unstable, so solids contact units
are typically considered where uniform inflow is anticipated or where the units are
preceded by upstream storage or equalization.
Recent developments include patented high-rate clarification systems that use
densifying solids contact or ballasted media flocculation (in addition to gravity) to clarify coagulated and flocculated effluents.

Process Control Systems. Process control systems for chemical sedimentation units
focus on the surface loading or overflow rate, detention time in the basins, and the
solids loading rate [the rate of solids feed divided by the clarifiers cross-sectional
area, expressed as kg/m2d (lb/d/sq ft)]. Because these parameters are typically set during design and physically limited by the units size provided, operators will only have
indirect control over these parameters. Some indirect control measures might include
using in-plant tankage or equalization basins; system storage in collection systems;
careful pump operations to minimize influent surges; and flow distribution among
multiple clarifiers. Adding chemicals to settling tanks will also increase sludge generation. For example, when chemicals are added to primary clarifiers for enhanced primary treatment, the additional solids generated will necessitate higher sludge withdrawal rates to prevent other operating problems in the clarifiers.
Normal Process Control. The sedimentation process is key to overall WWTP performance. If the settling tank effluent contains high suspended-solids concentrations, it
will reduce the efficiency of downstream unit processes and perhaps even cause a severe upset, resulting in a complete WWTP shutdown. The important variables when
operating a sedimentation process are upstream coagulation and flocculation, the surface overflow rate, and the sludge withdrawal rate.
The surface overflow rate depends on the wastewater flow and the volume of recycle flows (e.g., filter backwash water and sludge processing streams). Operators typically cannot control the inflow, but they can control the timing of the recycle flows.
The amount of sludge withdrawn from the basins must be sufficient to avoid overloading the collection arms, prevent floc carryover, and avoid septic conditions. However, excessive withdrawals will result in a thin sludge (less than 1% solids), which can
hurt downstream solids processing. Excessively thick sludge can also have adverse effects, including organics solubilization and sludge blanket subject to washout during
hydraulic transients. The downstream thickening process may dictate the desired concentrations for sludge withdrawals.
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PhysicalChemical Treatment
Some other issues to be aware of include
1. Short-circuiting and hydraulic instabilities because of variable influent characteristics or poor influent distribution;
2. Density currents or thermal stratification, resulting in dead spaces at the surface
of the clarifier (when the influent is colder than the tank contents) or at the bottom (when the influent is warmer than the tank contents); and
3. Wind effects, in which wind blowing across the water surface may set up circulation cells, reducing net volume and detention time in the tank.
These issues are site-specific, often difficult to spot, and once spotted, may be hard
to analyze. Dyes or tracers are a simple, practical method for assessing the hydraulic
performance of sedimentation basins. Tracer studies can also be used to determine the
success of any corrective measures. Theoretical analysis techniques [e.g., computational fluid dynamics (CFD)] may also be useful in simulating, analyzing, and resolving such conditions.
Furthermore, operators should be aware that they may not be able to resolve
these issues operationally. Depending on how often they occur, retrofits to the tanks
(ranging from strategically placed baffles to tank covers) may be required to resolve
them. Failure to address poor solids removal in the sedimentation process can increase
downstream solids processing costs (primarily due to withdrawing excessively thin
sludges).

Data Collection. The pH and turbidity of the chemical settling tank influent and effluent should be monitored and recorded continuously. Settleability tests on the flocculator
effluent (clarifier influent) should be run daily. For phosphorus removal, composite samples of the settling tank influent and effluent should be tested for phosphorus concentration. The solids concentrations in the sludge pumped from the chemical clarifier should
be measured daily, based on grab samples. The sludge blanket depth also can provide
valuable operating data.
Planned Maintenance Program. Planned maintenance programs for chemical settling
tanks are not significantly different from those for conventional primary or secondary
clarifiers, so programs for conventional units can be used as a guide (see Chapters 19
and 20). However, chemical sludges may have different handling characteristics than
conventional primary and secondary sludges. Also, sludges produced by different
chemicals will have differing properties. For example, the physical characteristics of
alum sludge will be different than those of lime sludge. If lime is used as a coagulant,
then calcium carbonate deposits may need to be routinely removed from the rapid
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mixer shaft and paddles and all lime sludge transporting devices may need routine
cleaning. The major mechanical equipment to maintain includes polymer mixing
equipment; chemical feeders; rapid mixer motors, gear drives, and shaft bearings; flocculator drive motors, speed reducers, and shaft bearings; settling tank scraper drive
motors and speed reducers; sludge pumps; and vibrators on lime storage bins.

Troubleshooting. Other than issues related to the sludge handling characteristics,


troubleshooting for chemical settling tanks is not significantly different than that for
conventional primary settling tanks, so guides for conventional units can be used as a
starting point (see Chapter 19). The single biggest troubleshooting issue for chemical
settling tanks is usually high effluent turbidity. Probable causes and potential solutions
are listed below:
1. Inadequate sludge removaladding chemicals to settling tanks increases
sludge generation, so sludge withdrawal rates must be higher than those for an
equivalent conventional settling tank.
2. Poor floc formationthis could be caused by incorrect chemical dose (run a jar
test to determine the appropriate dose); interrupted chemical feed (check that
the chemical feeders are operating and the chemical supply is not exhausted);
or chemical dispersion is inadequate (adjust rapid mixer speed).
3. Floc forming but breaking up before settlingCheck for excessive turbulence in
flocculation zone (check and adjust flocculation mixer speed if necessary) or turbulence at the clarifier inlet or within the clarifier (solutions range from reducing
flowrate into unit to installing stilling baffles at strategic locations). Another solution might be using a polymer with the inorganic coagulant to strengthen the
floc, if this has not already been done.

FILTRATION. Fundamentals of the Process. Filtration involves passing flow


through a filtering medium or a combination of two or three media to remove suspended or colloidal matter. Although the term filtering implies a straining mechanism,
several other mechanisms occur simultaneously in the filter media and affect the processs efficiency. These mechanisms include sedimentation (settling) on the filter media,
flocculation within the medias pore spaces, and physical and chemical adsorption onto
the filter media.

Description of Process and Process Equipment. Filters can be divided into semicontinuous and continuous. Semicontinuous (conventional) filters have to be taken offline
periodically for backwashing, while filtering and backwash occur simultaneously in
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PhysicalChemical Treatment
continuous filters. Continuous filters may be upflow or downflow, with a single
medium and deep beds, while semicontinuous filters tend to be downflow and may
have shallower single-, dual-, or multi-media beds.

Process Control Systems. All filters have common elements that enable them to perform the functions discussed below.
Flowrate Control. There currently are three principal methods to control flowrates through
conventional downflow filters:
1. Constant rate with fixed head,
2. Constant rate with variable head, and
3. Variable rate with fixed or variable head.
In the first method, the flowrate is kept constant by an effluent rate control valve. The
valve is nearly closed at the beginning of a filter run and opens slowly as the filter becomes clogged. The run terminates when the valve is fully open.
In the second method, a constant rate is achieved via some type of influent control
[e.g., an influent weir box with a starting (driving) water surface elevation above a design terminal headloss]. The filter run is terminated when the filter headloss buildup
reaches the design terminal headloss.
In the third method, the flowrate is allowed to decline as the headloss builds up.
Declining rate systems may be influent- or effluent-controlled.
Filter Aids. Chemical addition is especially important when secondary treatment is
followed directly by filtration. If filtration is preceded by distinct coagulation, flocculation, and settling steps, then the filters may not need any chemicals. However, most
filter designs typically provide for chemical addition (usually alum and some type of
polymer).
Filter Backwash. The typical backwash methods for conventional granular media filters
include

1. Water backwash with surface and subsurface washers (surface washers are
typically used in single-medium filters; subsurface washersinstalled at the
expected depth of the expanded interfacemay be necessary in dual- or multimedia filters).
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2. Water backwash with an auxiliary air scour where the air is applied for 3 to
4 minutes before the backwash cycle begins (typically used in dual- and multimedia filters or as an alternative to mechanical surface washers).
3. Simultaneous airwater backwash (typically used in single-medium unstratified filter beds; less common in dual- or multimedia filter beds because the air
tends to float coal out of the filter).

Filter Appurtenances. Typical filter appurtenances include the underdrain system and
washwater troughs. In conventional downflow filters, the underdrain system supports
the filter media and distributes the backwash water. They range from graded gravel
beds to plastic and steel nozzles inserted into precast channels, poured in concrete, or
affixed on steel plates.
Washwater troughs are typically located at the top of the filter to collect backwash
water and convey it to the filter drain. The rectangular troughs are constructed of fiberglass, sheet metal, or concrete and topped with weir plates. Media separator baffles
may be placed on the underside of the troughs to minimize loss of filter media.
Process Monitoring and Control. Filter instrumentation can range from passive systems for
monitoring headloss and influent and effluent turbidity, to fully automated operations.
At the passive monitoring level (typically for smaller facilities) effluent turbidity and
headloss values may be monitored manually. Operators take filter units offline and
initiate and complete backwashes. At the other end of the range, fully automated filters
will include instrumentation and control logic that can take filter units offline, backwash
them, and put them back into service with little, if any, operator input. These systems
typically include motorized valves, flow meters, differential pressure meters, and
turbidity meters, all feeding information or receiving operating commands from a central
control unit with a microprocessor-based device (e.g., a programmable logic controller).

Normal Process Control. The following sections describe process control for each step
of conventional, semicontinuous downflow filtration, with only occasional references
to continuous backwash upflow filtration. Most of the other filter types use proprietary
designs and technology, and operators will be better served by referring directly to the
particular manufacturers directions.
Filling the Filter. When starting up a filter for the first time or filling one that has been
drained, special precautions are required to avoid serious damage to the filter. First,
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PhysicalChemical Treatment
the filter must be filled with water. For a conventional filter, operators should slowly
pump water up through the filter underdrain system from the backwash supply
(essentially, a slow backwash). For a continuous backwash upflow filter, filling it from
the bottom expels air that would otherwise be trapped in the media. If the filter media
are dry, the filter must be filled and allowed to soak for 8 hours before backwashing is
attempted. If the filter has been filled from the top, it should not be backwashedeven
if a filter cycle has since occurred. Water moving down through a filter will not remove
trapped air, which can completely overturn the gravel during backwashing, creating
gravel mounds or allowing fine media to be lost from the bed during subsequent filter
cycles. In severe cases, the filter media and the gravel may have to be replaced. If the
filter has been filled from the top, it should be drained completely, and then operators
should initiate a slow backwash.
Whenever a filter drains below the level of the top of the media or a dry filter is being filled, the bottom-filling procedure must be strictly followed to avoid severe damage to the filter media and support gravel.
Filter Aids. A key element in optimizing filter performance is using an appropriate
amount of filter aid (e.g., polymer or alum). The filter aid improves filtration in several
ways:

Strengthening the floc,


Controlling the depth of floc penetration into the beds,
Improving the clarity of the filtered water, and
Increasing the permissible flowrate through the bed.

The amount of filter aid needed increases as water temperature decreases, flowrates
increase through the filters, and applied turbidities increase. The optimum dosage
causes the maximum desired filter headloss to be reached just as turbidity breakthrough
is impending. If lime is the primary coagulant, using alum (5 to 20 mg/L) as a filter aid
(supplementing polymer) may reduce filter effluent turbidity.
The filter aid coats the grains of the filter media. When a new filter enters service,
three or four filter runs may be needed to properly coat the grains. Conversely, three or
four filter backwashes may be required to reduce the coating if a filter aid dose is reduced. Operators should proceed with caution when reducing filter aid doses because
the residual effects of previous coats on the bed may delay the full response to the reduced dose. Controlling the filter aid dose becomes a relatively simple task once operators learn to interpret the turbidity and headloss recordings.
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Turbidity Monitoring. Continuously monitoring the effluent turbidity of each
filter helps operators maintain the proper application rate of filter aid to each
filter unit. Also, if the effluent turbidity exceeds the maximum predetermined
allowable value, the filter should be automatically taken out of service and
backwashed.
Filter Backwashing. High headloss through a filter bed typically indicates the need for
backwashing, so headloss through each filter bed must be monitored. After each
backwash, operators should note in the daily log the initial headloss at a predetermined flowrate. At a given flowrate, the headloss through a clean filter should
be the same [between 0.3 and 0.6 m (1 and 2 ft)]. If the initial headloss gradually
increases, it may indicate that the backwash is too short to clean the filter media
thoroughly and should be lengthened. It could also be caused by an inoperative
surface wash arm.
Sudden changes in filter flow should be avoided because hydraulic surges tend to
cause particles to penetrate the bed. Changes in flow should be gradual, not abrupt. As
the filter rate decreases, the length of the filter runs will increase significantly.
Recycle of Backwash Flows. Because all filter backwash wastewater is recycled and
reprocessed, utilities sometimes calculate the percentage of WWTP throughput that is
recycled as backwash to indicate the systems efficiency. If, for example, four filters
were in operation, each with a flowrate of 170 L/s (2695 gpm), and a 7-minute backwash/filter/day was required at a flowrate of 500 L/s/filter (7926 gpm/filter), then
the percentage of backwash water would be calculated as follows:
Volume of backwash water
 (500L/s  103 m3/L)  (7 min  60 s/min)  4 filters
 840 m3 (221 904 gal)
Filter throughput
 (1440  7) min/day  60 s/min  170 L/s  103 m3/L  4 filters
 58 466 m3 (15.45  106 gal)
Percentage backwash water


840 m 3
 100%
58 466 m 3

 1.44%
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PhysicalChemical Treatment
Typically, if the backwash water percentage is more than 5%, the systems performance is questionable. Questionable performance may stem from any of the following
causes:
Excessive solids carryover from the settling tank or recarbonation basins,
Excessive filter aid doses with reduced filter runs,
An inoperative filter surface wash system or a surface wash that is too short for
the backwash cycle, or
Excessive backwash duration.
However, smaller WWTPs, those with high diurnal flow variations, and those
without equalization storage capability may require backwash water percentages as
large as 8 to 10%.
Most WWTPs collect filter backwash wastewater in a storage tank so it can be recycled through the treatment processes at a controlled rate. The backwash holding
tank also may receive other waste flows to equalize the rates at which these flows are
returned to the treatment processes. Also, some of the tank contents may be returned to
the rapid mix unit to reduce chemicals and improve coagulation.

Data Collection. The primary control parameters for filtration are effluent turbidity
and filter headloss. They typically are continuously monitored via automated instruments. Effluent turbidity, an indirect measure of suspended solids, is the best filter
control parameter because it can be measured rapidly and automatically. Turbidity can
be correlated to suspended solids as follows:
TSS  (TSSf) (T)

(24.6)

Where
TSS  Total suspended solids (mg/L),
TSSf  Factor to convert turbidity readings to total suspended solids, and
T  Turbidity (NTU).
Settled secondary effluent
TSS (mg/L)  (2.0 to 2.4)  Turbidity (NTU)

(24.7)

TSS (mg/L)  (1.3 to 1.5)  Turbidity (NTU)

(24.8)

Filter effluent

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If upstream processes include lime coagulation and recarbonation, the filters influent
pH must be determined.

Planned Maintenance Program. Everyday, operators should ensure that each rotary
surface wash arm rotates freely by watching them operate. They should check the calibration of effluent turbidimeters at least once per week. Flow and headloss instrumentation should be checked and calibrated according to the manufacturers recommendations. The major mechanical equipment that requires maintenance includes backwash
pumps, surface wash pumps, filter pumps (influent or effluent pumps may be part of
the system), filter aid feed pumps, valves, and automatic valve operators.
Troubleshooting. The troubleshooting chart in Table 24.3 describes symptoms, probable causes, and potential solutions.

RECARBONATION. Fundamentals of the Process. Recarbonation is the process of


adding carbon dioxide to water after it has been treated with lime. Lime coagulation
raises the pH to between 10 and 11, making the water unstable and precipitating calcium
carbonate, which tends to encrust any downstream filters or carbon particles. Adding
carbon dioxide lowers the pH to less than 8.8 and reconstitutes the bicarbonates.

Description of Process and Process Equipment. At large WWTPs, recarbonation typically involves injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) gas into the water. The process may have
one or two stages. In the one-stage process, enough carbon dioxide is injected to lower
the pH from between 10 and 11 to the desired value in one step (Figure 24.16). This dissolves the calcium in the lime, so the plant effluent will have a calcium concentration.
In two-stage recarbonation, enough carbon dioxide is added in the first stage to lower
the pH to between 9.5 and 10. The resulting calcium carbonate precipitate is allowed to
settle, thereby removing calcium from the water and making it available for lime recovery. Then, more carbon dioxide is injected until the pH drops to the desired value.
Recarbonation equipment typically includes a carbon dioxide source and storage and feed systems. Carbon dioxide sources include stack gases of onsite furnaces,
boilers, or incinerators; CO2 purchased and stored in liquid form; or CO2 formed
when fuels burn. Commercially supplied liquid CO2 is gaining popularity because of
its steadily decreasing costs and relatively simple storage and feed equipment. Gas
feed systems typically include a simple pressure gauge and a manually or automatically controlled valve at the feed point. A pH meter continuously monitors the pH
changes and may be used for automated control of the feed valve.
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PhysicalChemical Treatment
TABLE 24.3

Filtration troubleshooting chart (continued on next page).

Indication

Probable cause

Potential solution

Short filter runs


because of high
headloss

Surface clogging

Check surface wash operation;


lengthen surface wash cycle.
Reduce solids applied to filter by
improving upstream treatment.
Replace sand media with dual
media; filter gas bound by release of
nitrogen bubbles; bump filters with
short backwash.

Excessive effluent
turbidity

Excessive amounts
of backwash water
required (more than
5% of throughput)

Filter cleaning inadequate

Increase backwash duration and rate.

Filter needs backwashing

Backwash filter; repair or install


surface wash.

Improper upstream
coagulation

Run jar tests; adjust coagulant


dose.

Improper filter aid dose

Adjust filter aid dose.

Coagulation system failure

Check chemical supply and


chemical feeder operations.

Influent solids concentrations


are too high

Improve upstream treatment


(coagulation and settling).

Filter aid dose too high

Reduce filter aid dose.

Surface wash system has failed

Repair surface wash system.

Inadequate surface wash

Increase duration of surface wash.

Excessive backwash
duration

Reduce backwash cycle duration.

Mudballs on filter
surface

Inadequate backwash and


surface wash

Increase backwash rate and duration


of surface wash cycle.

Gravel on upper
layers of filter

Air entering gravel


underdrains during backwash

Start backwash pump against a


closed valve and release air via
a pressure-relief valve in the
backwash line.
Install a pressure-relief valve at the
high point in washwater line and
add pressurized water to the line to
keep it full of water and expel air.

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TABLE 24.3

Filtration troubleshooting chart (continued from previous page).

Indication

Probable cause

Potential solution

Backwash water pressure too


high

Change source of backwash supply


or install pressure control valve.

Backwash rate too high

Reduce backwash rate.

Washwater troughs not level

Adjust washwater troughs.

Surface wash cycle too long

Reduce surface wash duration so


it ends at least 1 minute
before backwash is complete.

Uneven distribution of
backwash water

Clean filter underdrains.

Filter cleaning is a
problem in warm
weather

Higher temperatures reduce


viscosity of backwash

Increase backwash rate during


warm weather.

Filters difficult to
clean after being
offline

Microbial growths in filter

Add 5 to 15 mg/L of chlorine to filter


influent before taking offline.

Media is washing
out of filters during
backwash

Recarbonation basins, if used, are typically similar to rectangular sedimentation


basins with CO2 diffusers arranged in the appropriate locations (for two-stage systems,
typically at the influent and effluent ends, with an intermediate sludge settling zone).

Process Control Systems. The operation and control of recarbonation systems is relatively straightforward. Feed valves may be automatically controlled based on the pH
measurement (using the last recarbonation stage as the control). Feed valves may also
be manually controlled. In two-stage systems, the CO2 split between the two stages
is fairly constant once established for a given flow and desired pH. In this case, the
valves between the two stages may not need to be readjusted frequently, and the final
pH control point may be used to adjust the overall feed rate. Typically, the system will
work satisfactorily with continuous, automatic pH monitoring and manual feed-rate
adjustments.
Normal Process Control. If the pH of the recarbonation basin water is controlled to
provide equilibrium with respect to calcium carbonate, the water will neither cause
corrosion nor form scale, a desirable situation. In two-stage recarbonation systems,
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PhysicalChemical Treatment

FIGURE 24.16

Typical single-stage recarbonation using gas feed system.

efficient settling of the calcium carbonate floc may require the addition of polymers or
coagulants.
The amount of carbon dioxide applied may be controlled by trial and error based
on pH measurements and manual valve adjustments. The first adjustment provides
enough carbon dioxide flow to reduce the pH to between 7 and 8. The second adjustment splits that flow between the two stages so the pH will be 10 at approximately the
midpoint of the intermediate settling basin. Once these two adjustments are made, few
(if any) refinements will be needed. The pH is measured at the midpoint rather than at
the entrance of the settling basin because at average wastewater temperatures, all carbon dioxide gas bubbles will enter solution and react completely with hydroxide to
form calcium carbonate in approximately 15 minutes.

Data Collection. The most important parameter in recarbonation is pH, which is


typically monitored continuously via online pH meters. Grab samples should be
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TABLE 24.4

Tests for recarbonation and lime recalcining.

Sampling location

Daily grab samples

Weekly grab samples

Recarbonation
Single-stage (effluent)
Two-stage (first stage)
Two-stage (effluent)

pH

pH

pH

Lime recalcining
Thickener influent
Thickener effluent (sludge)
Thickener effluent (supernatant)
Centrifuge cake
Centrifuge centrate
Recalcined lime

TSa
TS
TS
TS
TS
TS

Ca, Mg, P
Ca, Mg, P
Ca, Mg, P
Ca, Mg, P
Ca, Mg, P
Ca, Mg, P

Total solids.

collected once a shift or daily to validate the results of the online system. Table 24.4
shows other necessary tests.
At most WWTPs, proper monitoring and control of the solids-handling and limerecalcining processes will require one operators full-time attention.

Planned Maintenance Program. A recarbonation maintenance program should be


based on those for simple chemical gas (or solution) feed systems, as well as those for
thickeners, centrifuges, incinerators, and furnaces. Utility staff should consult the
maintenance programs for these processes before setting up a planned program for the
recarbonation process.
Troubleshooting. The troubleshooting chart in Table 24.5 describes symptoms, probable causes, and potential solutions for the lime-recalcining process.

ADVANCED PROCESSES
SOLUBLE CHEMICAL OXYGEN DEMAND REMOVAL. Despite secondary
treatment, coagulationflocculation, sedimentation, and filtration, some soluble organic materials may persist in the effluent. These persistent materials, often called refractory organics, produce color and contribute to the secondary effluents COD. These
COD values often range from 30 to 60 mg/L.
The most practical method of removing refractory organics from water is activated
carbon adsorption (Table 24.6).
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TABLE 24.5

Troubleshooting chart for lime recalcining.

Indication

Probable cause

Potential solution

Recalcined lime contains Furnace temperatures too low


less than 70% CaO

Increase temperatures to
1850 Fa on fired hearths.

Large clinkers forming


in furnace

Inadequate air

Increase air flow to provide


70 to 100% excess air.

Offensive odor in
recalcining area

Insufficient combustion air

Increase air flow to provide


70 to 100% excess air.

Recalcined lime tends


Furnace temperatures too low
to agglomerate into soft
particles at least 0.25 in.b
in diameter (rather than
having desired flourlike
appearance)

Increase temperature to
1850 Fa on fired hearths.

Recalcined lime is dense


and has poor reactivity

Reduce temperatures to
1850 Fa on fired hearths.

Furnace temperatures too high

(F  32)  0.5556  C.
in.  (25.40)  mm.

TABLE 24.6 Organic compounds amenable to removal by granular activated carbon


(U.S. EPA, 2000).a
Class

Example(s)

Aromatic solvents

Benzene, toluene, xylene

Polynuclear aromatics

Naphthalene, biphenyl

Chlorinated aromatics

Chlorobenzene, PCBs, endrin, toxaphene, DDT

Phenolics

Phenol, cresol, resorcinol, nitrophenols,


chlorophenols, alkyl phenols

Aromatic amines and high-molecularweight aliphatic amines

Aniline, toluene, diamine

Surfactants

Alkyl benzene sulfonates

Soluble organic dyes

Methylene blue, textiles, dyes

Fuels

Gasoline, kerosene, oil

Chlorinated solvents

Carbon tetrachloride, percholoroethylene

Aliphatic and aromatic acids

Tar acids, benzoic acids

Pesticides/herbicides

2,4-D, atrazine, simazine, aldicarb, alachlor,


carbofuran

DDT  dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane; GAC  granular activated carbon; and PCBs  polychlorinated


biphenyls.

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Fundamentals of the Process. Carbon activation is a manufacturing process that produces many pores within the carbon particles. The greater surface area provided by the
walls of the pores makes the activated carbon extremely effective in removing organics.
When the carbons adsorption capacity has been exhausted, the carbon can be regenerated by heating it in a furnace until the adsorbed organics are driven off and pass
through an afterburner to prevent air pollution. The furnaces oxygen levels are minimized to avoid burning the carbon. Small WWTPs that cannot afford an onsite regeneration furnace may ship spent carbon to a central regeneration facility for processing
or to a suitable landfill.
The degree of treatment preceding carbon adsorption depends on the desired final
effluent quality. For example, if a high-quality effluent is desired, secondary treatment,
coagulationsedimentation, filtration, carbon adsorption, and disinfection can, if properly designed and operated, produce a colorless, odorless effluent free of bacteria and
viruses, with a BOD of less than 1 mg/L and a COD of less than 20 mg/L.
Description of Process and Process Equipment. Activated carbon has an extremely
large surface area per unit weight (on the order of 1000 m2/g), making it an extremely
efficient adsorptive material. Large organic, nonpolar molecules are hydrophobic and
so will adsorb to any solid. Many short-chained, biodegradable organic molecules (e.g.,
sugars and methanol) cannot adsorb readily, but they probably will not exist in secondary effluents.
Powdered carbon (crushed carbon that is finer than 300 mesh) has been used to
remove organics from wastewater by mixing the powder with wastewater and then
coagulating and settling the particulate. Sometimes the powdered carbon is added to
the aeration tank of an activated sludge WWTP and then settled with the mixed liquor
in the secondary clarifier. Sometimes separate clarification and coagulation steps are
added. Powdered activated carbon is corrosive and can be explosive, so it must be properly stored and transported.
In granular activated carbon treatment, wastewater passes through beds (resembling pressure or gravity filters) or 6- to 7.75-m (20- to 25-ft) columns full of carbon. Typical contact times are 20 to 40 minutes for domestic wastewaters.
The precise effect of wastewater turbidity or suspended solids on granular activated carbon has not been determined, but the buildup of suspended or colloidal materials (e.g., ash) may restrict pore openings and, therefore, the effective surface area of the
carbon, degrading its adsorptive capacity. Such hazards can be minimized by treating
only highly treated, low-turbidity wastewater (e.g., filter effluent).
The rate of organics adsorption in municipal wastewater typically increases as the
pH decreases. Adsorption is poor when the pH is more than 9.0.
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
The carbon used for wastewater treatment must be physically strong enough to
withstand the repeated handling required during regeneration and backwashing. Regeneration requires that the saturated carbon be moved, typically in a water slurry,
from the carbon contactor system to the regeneration system. Currently, the best carbons are made from select grades of coal. These hard, dense carbons can be conveyed
in water slurry without appreciable deterioration.
Most carbon contact columns are either upflow or downflow and either open concrete or enclosed steel vessels (Figure 24.17). The upflow (countercurrent) approach
uses carbon more efficiently and avoids plugging by particulates. Activated carbon
will remove oxygen from the air in a contacting vessel, so operators must carefully
check a carbon contactors oxygen content before entering it.

Process Control Systems. Process control for activated carbon systems focuses on miimizing the amount of carbon withdrawn for regeneration and lost during regeneration.

FIGURE 24.17

Downflow carbon contactor (Metcalf & Eddy, 2003).


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Consistently treating high-quality water reduces the required regeneration frequency. So, careful operator attention on screening, coagulation, settling, and filtration
will pay dividends in the carbon adsorption process.
When using upflow carbon columns, operators should avoid withdrawing an excessive amount of carbon for regeneration. When the effluent BOD or COD reaches the
maximum allowable concentration for permit compliance, typically approximately
10% of the carbon is saturated and should be withdrawn for regeneration. Withdrawing more will result in unnecessarily regenerating partially spent carbon. Carbons
weight (apparent density) increases as it adsorbs organics, so monitoring the apparent
density will indicate when operators have begun to withdraw partially spent carbon.
The apparent density of carbon is its weight per unit volume (expressed as grams per
cubic centimeter). The apparent density test procedure is defined on page B-23 of the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) manual, Process Design Manual: Carbon Adsorption (U.S. EPA, 1973).
Carbon loss during regeneration in a multiple-hearth furnace can be significant.
One major cause is carbon burnt (over-regenerated) during startup, shutdown, or
other operations. Continuous furnace operation avoids startup and shutdown losses;
operating as long as possible during a regeneration can reduce losses. Regeneration
furnaces are routinely controlled via tests of the carbons apparent density, supplemented periodically by tests of iodine number, adsorption isotherms, or activity of the
regenerated carbon (U.S. EPA, 1973).
The apparent density of regenerated carbon should match that of virgin carbon. If
the apparent density is too high, typically the furnace feed rate is too high or the temperature is too low. If the apparent density is too low, typically the feed rate is insufficient or the temperature is too high (over-regenerating some carbon).
Progressive decreases in the regenerated carbons iodine numbers indicate that the
regenerating temperature is too low and that the adsorbates being carbonized remain in
the pores. The carbon temperature during regeneration must be at least 820 C (1500 F) to
prevent partial deterioration. If partial deterioration occurs, the furnace temperatures
must be raised as high as 950 to 980 C (1750 to 1800 F) to correct the problem. The iodine
number may not be fully restored, however, until after several successive regenerations.
Steam added to the lower hearths of the furnace may improve carbon regeneration
because it distributes temperatures more uniformly throughout the furnace, reduces
the regenerated carbons apparent density, and increases the regenerated carbons iodine
number. Typically, approximately 1000 g steam/kg carbon (1 lb steam/lb dry carbon)
is used.
Over-regeneration may indicate a system malfunction if it cannot be corrected by
adjusting the temperature, carbon feed rate, steam feed rate, or furnace drive speed.
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PhysicalChemical Treatment
Utility staff should analyze the gases in the malfunctioning furnace and in the gas outlet to determine if air is leaking from the feed entry, product discharge pipe, hearth
doors, or bottom shaft seal. They also should check for indications of changes in the
fuelair ratio devices. If leaks are not found, the fuelair ratio should be adjusted to
produce more carbon monoxide (CO) at the burners (but no more than 4% total).

Normal Process Control. As carbon adsorbs organic materials from wastewater, it


eventually becomes saturated (exhausted) and organic substances break through the
process. The effluent COD concentration indicates the need to remove exhausted carbon for regeneration. Utility staff can determine the long-term efficiency of the carbon
adsorption and regeneration processes by calculating the amount of COD removed per
pound of carbon regenerated (lb  0.4536  kg). A large decrease in this value through
several regeneration cycles indicates that the carbon is becoming fouled and is losing
its efficiency. System operations must then be changed.
Utility staff could also calculate the pounds of carbon withdrawn per volume of
wastewater treated (carbon dosage) (lb/mil. gal  0.1198  g/m3). If this value is increasing, then the process needs adjustments or carbon efficiency is permanently lost.
Adjustments may include improving upstream processes to reduce particulate clogging of the carbon pores or changes in carbon regeneration.
In the carbon columns, contact time significantly affects effluent quality. Using
the portion of the column volume occupied by carbon, contact time is calculated as
follows:
Contact time (min) 

Carbon volume (gal)


Flowrate (gpm)

(24.9)

Note: gal  (3.785  103)  m3; gpm  (6.308  105)  m3/s.


Longer contact times may reduce effluent COD, color, and perhaps carbon dose. If contact times become too long, however, they could encourage undesirable anaerobic conditions in the carbon columns.
The COD removals in the carbon columns may vary day to day from 40 to 75%.
The absolute value of the effluent COD (in milligrams per liter) is, therefore, a better
measure of process efficiency.
One approach for minimizing costs and regeneration cycles would be to operate
three carbon adsorption vessels in series (two active and one on standby). While requiring more process monitoring and more filters, it may minimize the regeneration
frequency and improve overall efficiency. This approach assumes that the carbon has
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considerable reserve adsorptive capacity once a low-level breakthrough has occurred.
By operating in series, the first vessel continues to remove organics even though its
discharge exceeds the limit, and the second polishes that discharge. Once the second
vessel experiences breakthrough, it is valved into the primary position, a third vessel
is valved in to provide the polishing step, and the first vessel is taken offline to regenerate (Figure 24.18). In addition to maximizing carbons adsorptive capacity, it may

FIGURE 24.18

Carbon adsorption vessel schematics.


Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
facilitate regeneration, giving operators time to maintain the units without risking organic breakthrough to the final effluent.

Data Collection. Data collection and control test requirements reflect local regulatory requirements (Table 24.7). The apparent density test (U.S. EPA, 1973) is essential to
proper operation of the regeneration system. Routine steady-state process monitoring
calls for apparent density tests once per hour when the furnace is in operation. When the
regeneration system variables are changing, the test frequency is adjusted accordingly.
The iodine number and ash content are determined once per day when the regeneration
system is operating.
Planned Maintenance Program. The major maintenance items include carbon slurry
pumps, carbon conveyors, and the carbon regeneration furnace. They should be maintained according to the manufacturers recommendations.
Troubleshooting. The troubleshooting chart in Table 24.8 describes symptoms, probable causes and potential solutions for carbon adsorption systems.

NITROGEN REMOVAL (INCLUDES AMMONIA STRIPPING). The following three physicalchemical processes have been used to remove nitrogen from
wastewater:
Breakpoint chlorination,
Ion exchange, and
Ammonia stripping.
Biological nitrification and denitrification for nitrogen reduction, which is becoming
more commonplace, is discussed in Chapter 22. Other nitrogen removal processes are
not described because they are seldom used for wastewater treatment.

Fundamentals of the Process. Breakpoint Chlorination. Ammonia reacts with chlorine


to form chloramines. In the presence of more chlorine, chloramines oxidize to nitrogen gas, which then escapes the liquid stream. The overall reaction can be described
as follows:
2NH3  3HOCl 1 N2  3H2O  3HCl

(24.10)

where hypochlorous acid (HOCl) is formed in the hydrolysis reaction when chlorine
(Cl2) is added to water.
Ion Exchange. Ion exchange involves replacing specific ions in an insoluble material
with those of another species in solution. To reduce ammonia levels, wastewater is
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TABLE 24.7

Carbon adsorption tests.


Influent
TOC

Effluent

All columns

TOC
CODb

TOC
COD
Odor
Color

Total organic carbon.


Chemical oxygen demand.

TABLE 24.8 Troubleshooting chart for soluble chemical oxygen demand removal
processes (continued on next page).
Indication

Probable cause

Potential solution

Biological growths in columns

Backwash carbon beds more


frequently.

High influent turbidity

Improve upstream treatment


(coagulation, settling, and filtration).

Carbon breaking up during


regeneration

Remove carbon and wash fine carbon


particles from system; if
necessary, replace carbon with a
different type.

Carbon adsorption
Excessive headloss
in carbon beds

Inlet or outlet screens plugged

Backflush screens.

Decrease in carbon
efficiency

Improper regeneration

Adjust carbon regeneration process


(see below).

Hydrogen sulfide
being generated in
carbon beds
(may corrode metal
and concrete)

Anaerobic biological activity


in carbon beds

Reduce detention time by reducing


number of beds in service or amount
of carbon in bed.

Apply 5 to 10 mg/L of chlorine to


carbon bed influent.
Backwash carbon more frequently.
Carbon regeneration
Carbon transport lines Piping too small
plugged
Inadequate dilution water
Excessive carbon loss
(more than 5%)

Operating schedule of furnace

Install at least 2-in.b-diameter pipes.


Add more dilution water to decrease
carbon slurry concentration.
Store enough carbon to permit more
continuous furnace operations.

Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
TABLE 24.8 Troubleshooting chart for soluble chemical oxygen demand removal
processes (continued from previous page).
Indication

Probable cause

Potential solution

Apparent density
(AD) of regenerated
carbon greater than
that of virgin carbon

Insufficient heat

Increase furnace temperature by


50 Fa increments until virgin carbon
AD is achieved.
If temperature is in correct range,
decrease carbon feed rate.
Increase steam feed rate if less than
1 lb/lbc of carbon.
Increase furnace drive speed.

Apparent density of
regenerated carbon
less than virgin
carbon

Too much heat being applied


to carbon

Decrease furnace temperatures by


50 Fa increments until virgin carbon
AD is achieved.
If temperature is in correct range,
increase carbon feed rate.
Decrease steam feed rate.
Decrease furnace drive speed.
If above adjustments do not solve the
problem, check for air leaks at feed
entry, discharge pipe, hearth doors,
or bottom shaft seal.
Change fuelair ratio to produce
more CO at burners, but not more
than 4% CO.
Replace refectories and observe
proper heating and cooling
procedures in the future.

(F  32)  0.5556  C.
in.  (25.40)  mm.
c
lb/lb  1000  g/kg.
a

passed through an ion exchange resin with more affinity for the ammonium ion than for
other cations typically present in the wastewater. Naturally occurring compounds called
zeolites can be used to remove ammonium ions. The zeolite clinoptilolite has been found
to be the most cost-effective resin for removing the ammonium (NH
4 ) ion from wastewater. Synthetic ion-exchange resins are also availablesome with considerably higher
removal capacitiesbut typically have not been used in wastewater treatment.
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Ammonia Stripping. In most wastewaters, ammonia-nitrogen exists as ammonium ions
in equilibrium with un-ionized gaseous ammonia as follows:

NH
4 3 NH3  H

(24.11)

If the wastewaters pH is raised above 7, the equilibrium of this reaction shifts so the
ammonium ion is converted to ammonia. At pH 7, nearly all ammonia-nitrogen is in
the form of ammonium ions; at pH 12, almost all is in the form of dissolved ammonia
gas, which can be removed via air stripping.

Description of Process and Process Equipment. Breakpoint Chlorination. Based


on eq 24.10, the theoretical mass of chlorine needed to oxidize the mass of ammonia
present is calculated to be 7.6 mg/L of chlorine per 1 mg/L of ammonia-nitrogen.
In practice, this ratio will range from 8 mg/L of chlorine for lime-settled and filtered secondary effluent, to 10 mg/L for raw wastewater (WEF, 1998). So, a typical
secondary effluent ammonia concentration of 20 mg/L may require approximately
235 kg of chlorine/ML (2000 lb/mil. gal) of treated effluenta dose 40 to 50 times
greater than that typically used for disinfection. With such large chlorine requirements, breakpoint chlorination often fails to compete economically with other nitrogen removal processes.
Also, the large amounts of chlorine lower the waters pH, so large amounts of alkalinity must be added to maintain a near-neutral pH of 7, which is also where the
breakpoint reaction requires the shortest contact times. About 30 mg/L of alkalinity
must be present for every 1 mg/L of ammonia-nitrogen present to maintain the proper
pH range. Theoretically, 14.3 mg/L of alkalinity is required to neutralize the hydrochloric acid formed by oxidizing 1 mg/L of ammonia-nitrogen. To keep the pH higher
than 6.3, at least twice that amount of alkalinity is needed. Unless the water is highly alkaline or lime treatment precedes chlorination, alkali addition facilities should be provided. If sodium hypochlorite is used instead of chlorine, the alkalinity requirement is
reduced by 75% (WEF, 1998).
The components of a breakpoint chlorination system include a rapid-mix facility,
a contact basin, and chlorination and alkali feed equipment. The chlorine and alkali are
added in the same rapid-mix facility.
The large chlorine doses raise concerns about undesirable chlorination byproducts
in the effluent and their effect on the receiving water. Upstream nitrification can effectively reduce the chlorine dose required for breakpoint chlorination by reducing the
ammonia-nitrogen concentration. Also, dechlorination may be required along with the
breakpoint chlorination to meet discharge permit limits.
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
Ion Exchange. Clinoptilolite can be used to remove ammonium from wastewater via ion
exchange. Typically, wastewater passes downward through a 1.2- to 1.5-m (4- to 5-ft)
bed of clinoptilolite (20  50 mesh particles). When the effluent ammonia-nitrogen
concentration begins to increase, indicating bed exhaustion, the clinoptilolite is regenerated by taking the bed offline and passing lime [Ca(OH)2] through the exchange bed.
The ammonium stripped from the resin during regeneration is then converted to ammonia gas and removed from the regenerant via air stripping. The lime slurry regenerants stripping tower handles only a small portion of the total plant throughput, so
only a small tower will be needed, and heating it during cold weather may be practical.

Ammonia Stripping. If the ammonia-nitrogen in wastewater is converted to dissolved


ammonia gas, it may be liberated from solution by passing the wastewater over a
stripping tower. To optimize removal, the wastewaters pH must be raised to between
10.8 and 11.5 (depending on liquid temperature) to ensure that the ammonia is in gas
form. Basically, a stripping tower consists of a tower, packing material (over which the
wastewater is passed to maximize airliquid contact), support plates(s) for the packing,
a distribution system for the wastewater, and an air supply source (e.g., a fan). As
illustrated in Figure 24.19, stripping towers may be either countercurrent (air inlet at
base), or crossflow (air inlet along the entire depth of fill). After stripping, effluent pH
is adjusted via recarbonation or acid addition.
According to the Design of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants (WEF, 1998),
no ammonia-stripping facilities are known to be routinely in use at U.S. WWTPs. Existing installations have been abandoned because of difficulty meeting year-round
standards, air emissions constraints, and maintenance difficulties. Nevertheless,
stripping is briefly summarized here because it may be considered in regions with
moderate climates or in combination with high lime phosphorus removal.

Process Control Systems. Breakpoint Chlorination. Automatic control of the process is


important. Chlorine doses should be linked to influent ammonia-nitrogen concentrations. Alkaline doses also should be reliably measured and paced. If the chlorine and
alkali are not paced together, the whole process could be upset.
Ion Exchange. Like conventional filters, ion exchange vessels have a media bed supported
by an underdrain system, as well as effluent and washwater troughs. Automated process
control systems will include facilities to monitor influent and effluent ammonia, take the
unit offline to initiate backwashing, and high-pH regeneration.
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FIGURE 24.19

Schematics of air-stripping towers.

Ammonia Stripping. Process control systems for ammonia stripping should ensure that
The wastewaters pH is maintained around pH 11 to keep the ammonia-nitrogen
in dissolved ammonia gas form, and
There is enough air flow to keep the stripped liquid in droplet form to maximize
the airwater interface, which is critical to the stripping process.
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
Ammonia stripping is most compatible with physicalchemical processes that increase
the pH (e.g., high-lime coagulation). Even so, supplemental alkali may be needed to
maintain the pH. Automatic control of alkali feed can be based on the stripped liquids
pH, as monitored in the water collecting basin or a following stage.

Normal Process Control. Breakpoint Chlorination. Normal process control involves


matching the chlorine and influent ammonia-nitrogen levels, and maintaining pH in
the required range. If the pH drops momentarily, nitrogen trichloride, a malodorous
gas, is formed, and lowering the pH will not correct the problem. If the pH goes above
8, the breakpoint reaction will occur, albeit very slowly.
Ion Exchange. Normal process control for zeolite ion exchange includes monitoring
influent quality, monitoring effluent quality, maintaining a high-pH regenerant, and
maintaining bed backwashing frequency and duration to minimize scaling in the
zeolite beds and related process equipment. The influent may need to be prefiltered
to avoid fouling the zeolite. Lime slurry makeup feed will be needed to maintain the
strength of the regenerant solution. Backwash facilities will be needed to control
carbonate deposits in the zeolite beds and related equipment.
Ammonia Stripping. Normal process controls for ammonia stripping should ensure that
The wastewaters pH remains above 11 and
Large volumes of air flow through the stripper to maximize ammonia removal.

Data Collection. Breakpoint Chlorination. Normal data collection is similar to that for
most chlorination systems, with an emphasis on pH. Monitoring influent and effluent
nitrogen levels is important to determine removal efficiency and demonstrate compliance with permit limits.
Ion Exchange. Data collection requirements for ion exchange depend on local regulatory
requirements for ammonia removal. Online monitoring of regenerant pH will also be
required, along with periodic grab samples to validate the online pH measurement.
Ammonia Stripping. Data collection requirements for ammonia stripping depend on
local regulatory requirements for ammonia removal. Also, pH monitoring, typically via
online monitoring with periodic grab samples to validate the online measurement, may
be required.
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Planned Maintenance Program. Breakpoint Chlorination. Because the equipment used


for breakpoint chlorination is similar to chlorination and other chemical feed systems,
its maintenance program should be based on those for such systems.
Ion Exchange. Planned maintenance for ion exchange beds mostly involves such
equipment as fans, centrifugal pumps, and chemical feed equipment (see other chapters
of this book for maintenance guidance). Flow, pH, and ammonia monitoring devices
should be checked routinely and calibrated periodically based on the manufacturers
recommendations.
Ammonia Stripping. Planned maintenance for ammonia strippers mostly involves such
equipment as blowers, fans, centrifugal pumps, and chemical feed equipment (see
other chapters of this book for maintenance guidance). Also, the ammonia strippers
packing may need periodic cleaning if scale buildup is a major issue.

Troubleshooting. Breakpoint Chlorination. Most troubleshooting issues related to


chlorination (see Chapter 26) may also apply to breakpoint chlorination. In addition,
the alkaline feed unit should be closely monitored. The chlorine, alkali, and wastewater should be completely mixed to avoid low-pH areas, where nitrogen trichloride
can be produced.
Ion Exchange. Below are some ion-exchange issues to be aware of, and possible
solutions:
Regeneration with lime slurry alone can be a slow process. The regeneration rate can be increased by adding salt (sodium chloride) to the regenerant solution.
The high-pH regenerant can cause calcium carbonate deposits to form in the zeolite exchange bed, the stripping tower, and the piping and appurtenances. Violent backwashing may be required to remove these deposits, although this should
be balanced with the need to minimize media loss during backwashing.
Ammonia Stripping. Below are some ammonia-stripping issues to be aware of, and
possible solutions:
Scaling. Tower packing is susceptible to calcium carbonate deposits. Countercurrent towers are less prone to this problem. Also, the packing media should
be selected so operators can access the media and clean scaling deposits.
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
Poor to no cold-weather operations. Air temperatures are critical to operations.
The strippers might have to be enclosed if ice forms within the towers when air
temperatures are below 0 C (32 F).
Air flows. Required airwater ratios can range from 2200:1 to 3800:1 (WEF, 1998).

PHOSPHORUS AND ENHANCED SUSPENDED SOLIDS REMOVAL.


To reduce the eutrophication rate in receiving waters, many dischargers are required
to reduce effluent phosphorus concentrations. (Phosphorus is often the growth-limiting nutrient for algae in fresh surface water.) Although biological nutrient-removal
processes can significantly reduce phosphorus concentrations, chemical phosphorusremoval systems remain common. Some plants may use a combination of biological
and chemical processes (e.g., the Phostrip process) to achieve an effluent total phosphorus concentration of less than 1 mg/L.
Enhanced suspended solids removal processes are essentially identical to chemical phosphorus removal systems. These processes typically include coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation, and filtration.

Fundamentals of the Process. The most common coagulants are lime, alum, and ferric chloride.
Chemical Coagulation for Enhanced Solids Removal. When alum is added to water, it reacts
with bicarbonate alkalinity to form insoluble aluminum hydroxide, which is a gelatinous
floc that sweeps out suspended particles as it settles in a sedimentation basin or is
removed via filtration.
3Ca(HCO3)2  Al2(SO4)3  14H2O 1 2Al(OH)3  3CaSO4 6CO2  14H2O

(24.12)

Similarly, ferric chloride forms insoluble ferric hydroxide, which traps suspended
solids and removes them as it settles in sedimentation basins or is removed by filters.
2FeCl3  3Ca(HCO3)2 1 2Fe(OH)3  3CaCl2  6CO2

(24.13)

Chemical Coagulation for Phosphorus Removal. Lime reacts with orthophosphate in wastewater to precipitate hydroxyapatite as follows:
5Ca2  4OH  3HPO
4 1 Ca5OH(PO4)3  3H2O

(24.14)

Lime-addition facilities for phosphorus removal are expensive, so they are less common than alum or ferric chloride addition.
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The generalized phosphorus-removal reactions involving alum and ferric chloride
are as follows:
Al3  HnPO43n 3 AlPO4  nH

(24.15)

Fe3  HnPO43n 3 FePO4  nH

(24.16)

and

Again, the resulting precipitates may be removed via settling in a sedimentation basin,
with effluent filtration as a possible polishing step.
Metal salts (e.g., alum and ferric chloride) will typically consume alkalinity and
lower pH if sufficient alkalinity is not naturally present in the water. Supplemental alkalinity (e.g., sodium hydroxide) may be required to keep the pH in the 5 to 7 range to
meet biological treatment requirements. More alkalinity may be needed to meet effluent pH limits. As a general rule, approximately 0.5 mg/L of alkalinity is required to react with each 1 mg/L of alum, and approximately 1.0 mg/L of alkalinity is required to
react with each 1 mg/L of ferric chloride.

Description of Process and Process Equipment. Various precipitation schemes exist


for chemical phosphorus removal (Figure 24.20). In pre-precipitation, chemicals are
added to the primary influent, and the resulting precipitates are removed with the primary sludge. In co-precipitation (simultaneous precipitation), chemicals are added to
the primary effluent, the mixed liquor (in the aeration basin of an activated sludge
process), or before secondary clarification, and the resulting precipitates are removed
with the waste activated sludge. In post-precipitation, chemicals are added to the secondary clarifier effluent, and the resulting precipitates are removed in additional clarifiers or via filtration.
Chemical phosphorus removal equipment primarily includes units for storing and
feeding the selected chemicals.
Process Control Systems. Process control systems typically focus on the ability to
maintain adequate coagulant doses. Ideally, an automated control system would dose
the chemicals in response to variations in flows and phosphorus loading. In practice,
chemical dosing systems are flow paced (based on influent) if influent phosphorus levels are relatively constant, or they anticipate peak phosphorus loads to avoid permit violations. If jar testing is used to determine chemical doses, the emphasis should be on
determining a range of doses that will accommodate the expected variations in flows
and phosphorus loading.
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment

FIGURE 24.20 Possible chemical-addition points for phosphorus removal: (a) before primary sedimentation, (b) before and/or after biological treatment, (c) after secondary
treatment, and (df) at several locations (known as split treatment) (Metcalf & Eddy,
2003).

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Wastewater pH can be measured using online pH measurement systems. A simple feedback loop using the online pH values can then be used to dose caustic or other
forms of supplemental alkalinity to replace that consumed by metal salt addition.

Normal Process Control. A common process control practice is to set the doses of coagulant, polymer, and supplemental alkalinity based on historical operating data. In
practice, the feed rates are set higher than anticipated to account for variations in the
phosphorus load and avoid permit violations at peak conditions. A typical, though not
necessarily recommended, mode of operation is to overdose coagulants at average influent concentrations so adequate coagulant concentrations are available at peak influent phosphorus loads.
Data Collection. Data collection and analysis requirements for chemical phosphorus
removal will reflect local regulatory requirements for phosphorus removal. Also, pH
monitoring, typically online monitoring with periodic grab samples to validate the online measurement, may be required to monitor the process and provide feedback control for any supplemental alkali.
Planned Maintenance Program. Planned maintenance for chemical phosphorus removal mostly involves typical maintenance procedures for such equipment as chemical storage tanks, mixing equipment, centrifugal pumps, and chemical feed equipment,
which are discussed in other chapters of this book. Flow, pH, and phosphorus monitoring devices should be checked routinely and calibrated periodically based on the
manufacturers recommendations.
Troubleshooting. Chemical phosphorus removal processes typically include coagulation, flocculation, sedimentation (precipitation), and (possibly) filtration. Troubleshooting
guidelines for these processes are provided throughout this chapter.
Regardless of the chemical dosing point or whether alum or ferric chloride is the
primary coagulant, provisions should exist for adding polymer (generally an anionic
polymer) to help flocculate solids. If flocculation is inadequate, pin floc can develop
and result in phosphorus carryover from the primary or secondary clarifier.

REFERENCES
American Water Works Association (2002) Simplified Procedures for Water Examination,
5th ed., Manual No. M-12; American Water Works Association: Denver, Colorado.
Copyright 2007 Water Environment Federation.

PhysicalChemical Treatment
American Water Works Association (2000) Operational Control of Coagulation and Filtration Processes, Manual No. M-37; American Water Works Association: Denver,
Colorado.
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