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Wastewater treatment steps

s s

Primary: solids removal (physical) Secondary: BOD treatment (biological) Tertiary: Effluent polishing, Nutrient and Toxins Removal (chemical, also possibly physical and biological)

Tertiary (advanced) treatment


Secondary treatment: s removes 85% - 95% of BOD and TSS s removes 20% - 40% P s removes 0% - 50% N Tertiary treatment: s removes over 99% of pollutants s very high cost

Goals of tertiary treatment


s Effluent

polishing (BOD, TSS) s Nutrient removal (N, P) s Toxin removal (pesticides, VOCs, metals)

Effluent polishing
Removal of additional BOD and TSS s Granular media filter beds
s
gravity

or pressurized require frequent backwashing air-washing


s

Microstraining/ microscreens

20-micrometer openings

Nutrient management
Nutrient = plants require them for growth s Potential problems from nutrients:
s
water

quality aquatic ecosystem human & animal health


s

Approaches:
dilution treatment

(biological or physicochemical)

Nitrogen
s

Biochemically interconvertable forms :


organic

N (proteins, urea) ammonia gas (NH3)


ammonium nitrate nitrite

ion (NH4+)

(NO3) N2 gas (78% of air)

(NO2)

elemental

Mobile (esp. nitrate)

Nitrification-denitrification
Two-step biological method s Step 1: Aerobic Nitrification
s
Ammonia

to nitrate conversion now nontoxic to fish m.o.s: Nitrosomonas and Nitrobacter


s

Step 2: Anoxic-anaerobic Denitrification


nitrate

to N2 conversion carbon source

requires

On-site biological methods


s

Upflow anaerobic sand filter


uses

septic tank effluent as carbon source must monitor and manage recycle ratio: too low: incomplete denitrification too high: excess O2 shuts down
denitrification
75%

removal possible

On-site biological methods...


s

Aerobic chamber plus deep sand filter


uses

methanol as carbon source must manage methanol dosing rate 85% - 95% removal possible

On-site biological methods...


s

Bardenpho system
uses

wastewater as carbon source alternating anoxic and aerobic STRs must monitor and manage sludge recycle ratio
s

Oxidation ditch
endless

loop of anoxic and aerobic

zones less removal efficiency than Bardenpho

Physical-chemical N removal
s

Approach:
convert

all N to ammonia then treat the ammonia


s

Three methods:
Breakpoint

chlorination Ion exchange Ammonia stripping


s

Often impractical for on-site systems

Ammonia stripping
Two-step physical-chemical method s Step 1: Raise pH to 10.5-11.5
s
convert

ammonium ions to ammonia

gas
s

Step 2: Air-strip
cascade

wastewater countercurrent to air flow ammonia gas escapes to atmosphere


s

Pro: less costly, no sludge or Cl by-

Phosphorus
s

Forms:
organic

phosphorus orthophosphate (PO4)


polyphosphates phosphorus-containing

rocks

Binds to soils and sediments s Limiting nutrient in fresh waters


s

Biological P removal
Luxury uptake anaerobically- stressed m.o.s ingest more P than needed s Methods:
s
Bardenpho Sequencing

Batch Reactor

1 tank, 5 steps fill, aerate, settle, decant, idle

Physical-chemical P removal
s

Chemical precipitation (3 options)


add

alum (Al2SO4) to form aluminum phosphate add ferric chloride (FeCl3)


add

lime (CaO)

Coagulation / flocculation s Clarifier/settler


s

More on P precipitation
s

Pros:
can

also serve as effluent polishing step if added after 2ndary treatment lime can aid ammonia stripping too
s

Cons:
expensive:

more tanks, clarifiers, and

filters must closely manage pH, chemical dosing, and precipitate removal produces a LOT of sludge

Toxin treatment and removal


s

Types of toxins
Organics (pesticides, solvent, petroleum,...) Metals (lead, cadmium, mercury,...)

Sources of toxins Impact on wastewater treatment systems when toxins hit

Toxicity testing
Test for specific chemicals s Bioassays (response of fathead minnow, water flea, others, over time) s Human toxicity (carcinogenicity, acute or chronic disease)
s

Toxin strategy
Prevention s Protection
s
equalization

basins holding tanks contingency plans


s

Treatment
no

universal treatment method each toxin different

Toxin Tertiary Treatment


s

Organics:
Biological treatment (incl. co-metabolism) Oil-water separator Air stripping Thermal treatment (incineration, desorption, distillation, evaporation) Chemical oxidation Sorption (activated carbon, kitty litter) Land farming

Toxin Tertiary Treatment


s

Metals:
Chemical precipitation and filtration Biological transformation Sorption Solidification (cement, asphalt, plastic polymers) Encapsulation Plant uptake /phytoremediation (note sludge application implications)