Primary and secondary wastewater treatment..

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Primary and secondary wastewater treatment:

Primary and secondary wastewater treatment Snehal Menon Sinhgad College of Engineering, Pune

Introduction :

Introduction Wastewater treatment consists of applying known technology to improve or upgrade the quality of a wastewater Wastewater treatment involves collecting the wastewater in a central, segregated location (the Wastewater Treatment Plant) and subjecting the wastewater to various treatment processes The principal objective of wastewater treatment is generally to allow human and industrial effluents to be disposed off without danger to human health or unacceptable damage to the natural environment With the current emphasis on environmental health and water pollution issues, there is an increasing awareness of the need to dispose of these wastewaters safely and beneficially

Generalized flow diagram for municipal wastewater treatment:

Generalized flow diagram for municipal wastewater treatment

Conventional wastewater treatment processes:

Conventional wastewater treatment processes

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Conventional wastewater treatment consists of a combination of physical, chemical and biological processes and operations to remove solids, organic matter and sometimes , nutrients from wastewater. General terms used to describe different degrees of treatment, in order of increasing treatment level, are preliminary, primary, secondary, and tertiary and/or advanced wastewater treatment. In some countries, disinfection to remove pathogens sometimes follows the last treatment step

Preliminary treatment:

Preliminary treatment The objective of preliminary treatment is the removal of coarse solids and other large materials often found in raw wastewater Preliminary treatment operations typically include coarse screening, grit removal and, in some cases, comminution of large objects In grit chambers, the velocity of the water through the chamber is maintained sufficiently high, or air is used, so as to prevent the settling of most organic solids Comminutors are sometimes adopted to supplement coarse screening and serve to reduce the size of large particles so that they will be removed in the form of a sludge in subsequent treatment processes

Grit chamber:

Grit chamber Aerated grit chamber : diffused air keeps organic solids in suspension as grit settles Vortex - Type Grit Chambers Vortex is created -Grit move to the outside of the unit and gets collected

Comminutor :

Comminutor In this device all of the wastewater flow passes through the grinder assembly The grinder consists of a screen or slotted basket, a rotating or oscillating cutter and a stationary cutter Solids pass through the screen and are chopped or shredded between the two cutters

Primary treatment:

Primary treatment The objective of primary treatment is the removal of settle-able organic and inorganic solids by sedimentation, and the removal of materials that will float (scum) by skimming Approximately 25 to 50% of the incoming biochemical oxygen demand (BOD 5 ), 50 to 70% of the total suspended solids (SS), and 65% of the oil and grease are removed during primary treatment Some organic nitrogen, organic phosphorus, and heavy metals associated with solids are also removed during primary sedimentation In many industrialized countries, primary treatment is the minimum level of pre-application treatment required for wastewater irrigation It may be considered sufficient treatment if the wastewater is used to irrigate crops that are not consumed by humans or to irrigate orchards, vineyards, and some processed food crops


Contd … Primary sedimentation tanks or clarifiers may be round or rectangular basins, typically 3 to 5 m deep, with hydraulic retention time between 2 and 3 hours Settled solids (primary sludge) are normally removed from the bottom of tanks by sludge rakes that scrape the sludge to a central well from which it is pumped to sludge processing units Scum is swept across the tank surface by water jets or mechanical means from which it is also pumped to sludge processing units

Sedimentation tank and clarifiers:

Sedimentation tank and clarifiers Typical sedimentation tanks: (a)rectangular horizontal flow tank; (b)circular, radial-flow tank; (c) hopper-bottomed, upward flow tank

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In large sewage treatment plants (> 7600 m 3 /d), primary sludge is most commonly processed biologically by anaerobic digestion In the digestion process, anaerobic and facultative bacteria metabolize the organic material in sludge, thereby reducing the volume requiring ultimate disposal, making the sludge stable ( nonputrescible ) and improving its dewatering characteristics Digestion is carried out in covered tanks (anaerobic digesters), typically 7 to 14 m deep The residence time in a digester may vary from a minimum of about 10 days for high-rate digesters (well-mixed and heated) to 60 days or more in standard-rate digesters Gas containing about 60 to 65% methane is produced during digestion and can be recovered as an energy source In small sewage treatment plants, sludge is processed in a variety of ways including: aerobic digestion, storage in sludge lagoons, direct application to sludge drying beds, in-process storage (as in stabilization ponds), and land application.

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Anaerobic Digester

Secondary treatment:

Secondary treatment The objective of secondary treatment is the further treatment of the effluent from primary treatment to remove the residual organics and suspended solids Aerobic biological treatment is performed in the presence of oxygen by aerobic microorganisms (principally bacteria) that metabolize the organic matter in the wastewater, thereby producing more microorganisms and inorganic end-products (principally CO 2 , NH 3 , and H 2 O) Several aerobic biological processes are used for secondary treatment differing primarily in the manner in which oxygen is supplied to the microorganisms and in the rate at which organisms metabolize the organic matter


Contd … High-rate biological processes are characterized by relatively small reactor volumes and high concentrations of microorganisms compared with low rate processes Consequently, the growth rate of new organisms is much greater in high-rate systems because of the well controlled environment The microorganisms must be separated from the treated wastewater by sedimentation to produce clarified secondary effluent The sedimentation tanks used in secondary treatment, often referred to as secondary clarifiers, operate in the same basic manner as the primary clarifiers described previously

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The biological solids removed during secondary sedimentation, called secondary or biological sludge, are normally combined with primary sludge for sludge processing Common high-rate processes include the activated sludge processes, trickling filters or biofilters, oxidation ditches and rotating biological contactors (RBC) A combination of two of these processes in series (e.g. biofilter followed by activated sludge) is sometimes used to treat municipal wastewater containing a high concentration of organic material from industrial sources

Activated Sludge:

Activated Sludge In the activated sludge process, the dispersed-growth reactor is an aeration tank or basin containing a suspension of the wastewater and microorganisms, the mixed liquor The contents of the aeration tank are mixed vigorously by aeration devices which also supply oxygen to the biological suspension Aeration devices commonly used include submerged diffusers that release compressed air and mechanical surface aerators that introduce air by agitating the liquid surface Hydraulic retention time in the aeration tanks usually ranges from 3 to 8 hours but can be higher with high BOD 5 wastewaters

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Following the aeration step, the microorganisms are separated from the liquid by sedimentation and the clarified liquid is secondary effluent A portion of the biological sludge is recycled to the aeration basin to maintain a high mixed-liquor suspended solids (MLSS) level The remainder is removed from the process and sent to sludge processing to maintain a relatively constant concentration of microorganisms in the system

Trickling Filters:

Trickling Filters A trickling filter or biofilter consists of a basin or tower filled with support media such as stones, plastic shapes, or wooden slats Wastewater is applied intermittently, or sometimes continuously, over the media Microorganisms become attached to the media and form a biological layer or fixed film Organic matter in the wastewater diffuses into the film, where it is metabolized Oxygen is normally supplied to the film by the natural flow of air either up or down through the media, depending on the relative temperatures of the wastewater and ambient air The thickness of the biofilm increases as new organisms grow

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Periodically, portions of the film slough off the media The sloughed material is separated from the liquid in a secondary clarifier and discharged to sludge processing Clarified liquid from the secondary clarifier is the secondary effluent and a portion is often recycled to the biofilter to improve hydraulic distribution of the wastewater over the filter

Rotating Biological Contactors:

Rotating Biological Contactors Rotating biological contactors (RBCs) are fixed-film reactors similar to biofilters in that organisms are attached to support media In the case of the RBC, the support media are slowly rotating discs that are partially submerged in flowing wastewater in the reactor Oxygen is supplied to the attached biofilm from the air when the film is out of the water and from the liquid when submerged, since oxygen is transferred to the wastewater by surface turbulence created by the discs' rotation Sloughed pieces of biofilm are removed in the same manner described for biofilters


Contd … High-rate biological treatment processes, in combination with primary sedimentation, typically remove 85 % of the BOD 5 and SS originally present in the raw wastewater and some of the heavy metals Activated sludge generally produces an effluent of slightly higher quality, in terms of these constituents, than biofilters or RBCs When coupled with a disinfection step, these processes can provide substantial but not complete removal of bacteria and virus However, they remove very little phosphorus, nitrogen, non-biodegradable organics, or dissolved minerals.

Tertiary and/or advanced treatment:

Tertiary and/or advanced treatment Tertiary and/or advanced wastewater treatment is employed when specific wastewater constituents which cannot be removed by secondary treatment must be removed Because advanced treatment usually follows high-rate secondary treatment, it is sometimes referred to as tertiary treatment However, advanced treatment processes are sometimes combined with primary or secondary treatment (e.g., chemical addition to primary clarifiers or aeration basins to remove phosphorus) or used in place of secondary treatment (e.g., overland flow treatment of primary effluent)

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An adaptation of the activated sludge process is often used to remove nitrogen and phosphorus Effluent from primary clarifiers flows to the biological reactor, which is physically divided into five zones by baffles and weirs In sequence these zones are: ( i ) anaerobic fermentation zone (characterized by very low dissolved oxygen levels and the absence of nitrates); (ii) anoxic zone (low dissolved oxygen levels but nitrates present); (iii) aerobic zone (aerated); (iv) secondary anoxic zone; and (v) final aeration zone The function of the first zone is to condition the group of bacteria responsible for phosphorus removal by stressing them under low oxidation-reduction conditions, which results in a release of phosphorus equilibrium in the cells of the bacteria On subsequent exposure to an adequate supply of oxygen and phosphorus in the aerated zones, these cells rapidly accumulate phosphorus considerably in excess of their normal metabolic requirements Phosphorus is removed from the system with the waste activated sludge

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Most of the nitrogen in the influent is in the ammonia form, and this passes through the first two zones virtually unaltered In the third aerobic zone, the sludge age is such that almost complete nitrification takes place, and the ammonia nitrogen is converted to nitrites and then to nitrates The nitrate-rich mixed liquor is then recycled from the aerobic zone back to the first anoxic zone Here de-nitrification occurs, where the recycled nitrates, in the absence of dissolved oxygen, are reduced by facultative bacteria to nitrogen gas, using the influent organic carbon compounds as hydrogen donors The nitrogen gas merely escapes to atmosphere. In the second anoxic zone, those nitrates which were not recycled are reduced by the endogenous respiration of bacteria In the final re-aeration zone, dissolved oxygen levels are again raised to prevent further de-nitrification, which would impair settling in the secondary clarifiers to which the mixed liquor then flows

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Simplified flow diagram of Bardenpho Process treatment plant (commissioned in 1982 in British Columbia, Canada)

Unit operations in advanced treatment:

Unit operations in advanced treatment Removal of suspended solids: Removal of suspended solids in advanced treatment implies the removal of those materials that have been carried over from a secondary settler.

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Microstraining Rotating drum-type filter to screen suspended solids Filtering media consists of finely woven stainless steel fabric with mesh size of 23-35 microns Fabric is mounted on periphery and water is allowed to pass from inside to the outside

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Coagulation and filtration A method in which certain chemicals are rapidly dispersed in wastewater to change the characteristics of the suspended particles so that they coalasce and sink rapidly In industrial wastewater treatment, coagulation is frequently used for oily emulsions and finely divided and non-settlable solids such as pigments, paper-fibre, meat and tannery effluents Most widely used coagulants are aluminium sulphate, ferric sulphate and ferric chloride Typical reactions are: Al 2 (SO 4 ) 3 + 6H 2 O 2Al(OH) 3 + 3H 2 SO 4 3H 2 SO 4 + 3Ca(HCO 3 ) 2 3CaSO 4 + 6H 2 CO 3 6H 2 CO 3 6CO 2 + 6H 2 O Overall reaction is represented as: Al 2 (SO 4 ) 3 + 3Ca(HCO 3 ) 2 2Al(OH) 3 + 3CaSO 4

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ii. Removal of dissolved solids

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Adsorption on activated carbon Solvent extraction

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Ion exchange

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Reverse osmosis Electrodialysis

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In many situations, where the risk of public exposure to the reclaimed water or residual constituents is high, the intent of the treatment is to minimize the probability of human exposure to enteric viruses and other pathogens Effective disinfection of viruses is believed to be inhibited by suspended and colloidal solids in the water, therefore these solids must be removed by advanced treatment before the disinfection step The sequence of treatment often specified in the United States is: secondary treatment followed by chemical coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection This level of treatment is assumed to produce an effluent free from detectable viruses

Conclusion :


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