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The aerobic wastewater treatment industry faces a number of key operational challenges. One of the main problems involves maintaining a constant level of dissolved oxygen (DO) throughout the wastewater plant to ensure that the treatment process functions properly. Biological treatment processes, such as the activated sludge process (ASP), perform best if there is sufficient DO to support the bacterial population enabling the treatment.
Plant operators across many industry segments are also challenged to maintain or tighten control over pH levels. Environmental regulations and tariffs usually stipulate that wastewater may only be discharged to a municipal pipeline or outlet channel if the pH value is within a narrow range, just above neutral. The use of strong acids can have severe consequences if accidentally overdosed and rapid falls in pH occur, often leading to fines, regulatory intervention or damage to downstream assets.
Existing assets and technical challenges
Traditional aeration equipment also faces a number of technical challenges. Equipment is susceptible to downturns in performance due to ageing, mechanical failure and plant overloading. Additionally, underperformance can be caused by variations in influent characteristics from production sites, fluctuating seasonal demand and changes in temperature.
Performance and cost impacts
Maintenance backlog, under design and ageing of aeration equipment can result in the following performance issues:
Excessive foaming with increased aeration energy intensity
Increase in unwanted and obnoxious odours
Difficulty managing peak demands and variations/fluctuations in loading
Surplus sludge production and associated disposal costs.
Poor settlement of bacteria and final effluent quality
Higher energy consumption from powering additional aeration equipment
Air pollution as a result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being stripped from the water phase and released to air
High noise levels, requiring operators to install noise-reduction structures to minimise impact on workers, neighbouring companies and other parties.
Our gas application technologies and supporting services can help you upgrade existing assets to meet today’s operational and technical challenges through improved oxygenation and PH control. You can rely on our experts to help you meet stricter environmental legislation, reduce municipal tariffs, control odours and manage emergency oxygenation during maintenance and seasonal overloading.