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Biological Treatment

Biological
Wastewater
Treatment

Anaerobic Process Aerobic Process

Figure 1: Types of Biological Wastewater Treatment

Organism involved in water/wastewater treatment are (Yildiz, 2012) bacteria, protozoa,


fungi, algae, and rotifers.
Aerobic Process
In aerobic waste treatment system, the microbes exposed to oxygen to oxidize complex
organics in the stream. This reaction produces carbon dioxide, simple organics, and new cell
biomass. One of the most widely used biological treatment process is the activated sludge
process (ASP) (Ziauddin, Graham, & Dolfing, 2013).
In this system, the mixture of wastewater and sludge are agitated and aerated. Air is
provided by diffusion or mechanical aeration. The microorganisms are mixed with organic
compounds that are their source of food. They will then grow and clump or flocculate together
to form a biological floc which is an active mass of microbes known as activated sludge. The
liquid in the sludge is known as mixed liquor. This process includes aeration and clarifica tio n
tanks, as seen in the figure below.

Figure 2: Activated Sludge Process (Ziauddin et al., 2013)


Lydia | UiTM SA | Environmental Engineering

Aeration tanks
Aeration tanks are usually uncovered and open to the atmosphere. The presence of
mechanical aerators or diffusers ensure there is diffusion of oxygen to water from the
atmosphere. By adjusting the speed of the rotors, the concentration of DO can be controlled.
Compared to mechanical aerators, diffusers are preferred because they bubble air directly into
the tank and has higher oxygen transfer efficiencies (Ziauddin et al., 2013).
Clarifiers
Clarifiers work by gravity settling to separate biomass and other solids that is
discharged by the aeration tank. Some of the settled biosolids are recycled back to the aeration
tank to increase the solids’ contact time with the wastes and to maintain the optimum biomass
levels in the aeration tank. Then, the clarifier supernatant goes to the disinfection or treatment
units, before it is discharged to the receiving water (Ziauddin et al., 2013).
Anaerobic Process
In anaerobic waste treatment system, there is absence of oxygen. Organic matter is
degraded by metabolic interactions of various trophic groups of prokaryotes, includ ing
fermenters, acetogens, methanogens, and sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) (Ziauddin et al.,
2013). The digestion process has 4 stages which are hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis,
and methanogenesis
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(Mittal, 2011)
References
Karia, G. L., & Christian, R. A. (2006). Wastewater treatment: Concepts and design approach.
New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India.
Yildiz, B. S. (2012). Water and wastewater treatment: Biological processes. Metropolitan
Sustainability: Understanding and Improving the Urban Environment, 406–428.
https://doi.org/10.1533/9780857096463.3.406
Ziauddin, S., Graham, D., & Dolfing, J. (2013). Wastewater Treatment: Biologic a l.
Encyclopedia of Environmental Management, (January), 2645–2656.
https://doi.org/10.1081/E-EEM-120046063