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Sequencing Batch Reactors

Sequencing Batch Reactors

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Published by ecotechconsultants

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: ecotechconsultants on Jan 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Sequencing Batch Reactors:An Efficient Alternative to WastewaterTreatment
The Sequencing Batch Reactor (SBR) is an activated sludge process designed to operate under non-steady state conditions. An SBR operates in a true batch mode with aeration and sludgesettlement both occurring in the same tank. The major differences between SBR andconventional continuous-flow, activated sludge system is that the SBR tank carries out thefunctions of equalization aeration and sedimentation in a time sequence rather than in theconventional space sequence of continuous-flow systems. In addition, the SBR system can bedesigned with the ability to treat a wide range of influent volumes whereas the continuoussystem is based upon a fixed influent flowrate. Thus, there is a degree of flexibility associatedwith working in a time rather than in a space sequence [1].SBRs produce sludges with good settling properties providing the influent wastewater isadmitted into the aeration in a controlled manner. Controls range from a simplified float andtimer based system with a PLC to a PC based SCADA system with color graphics using either flow proportional aeration or dissolved oxygen controlled aeration to reduce aeration to reduceenergy consumption and enhance the selective pressures for BOD, nutrient removal, and controlof filaments [1]. An appropriately designed SBR process is a unique combination of equipmentand software. Working with automated control reduces the number of operator skill and attentionrequirement.The majority of the aeration equipment of sequencing batch reactors consist of jet, fine bubble,and coarse bubble aeration systems. The main focus of this report is a jet aerated sequencing batch reactor activated sludge system.
Sequencing Batch Reactor Process Cycles
The operating principles of a batch activated sludge process, or SBR, are characterized in sixdiscrete periods:1.Anoxic Fill2.Aerated Fill3.React4.Settle5.Decant
Anoxic Fill
The influent wastewater is distributed throughout the settled sludge through the influentdistribution manifold to provide good contact between the microorganisms and the substrate [1].The influent can be either pumped in allowed to flow in by gravity. Most of this period occurswithout aeration to create an environment that favors the procreation of microorganisms withgood settling characteristics. Aeration begins at the beginning of this period.
Aerated Fill
Mixed liquor is drawn through the manifold, mixed with the influent flow in the motive liquid pump, and discharged, as motive liquid, to the jet aerator [1]. This initiates the feast period. Feastis when the microorganisms have been in contact with the substrate and a large amount of oxygen is provided to facilitate the substrate consumption. Nitrification and denitrificationoccurs at the beginning of this stage. This period ends when the tank is either full or when amaximum time for filling is reached.
During this period aeration continues until complete biodegradation of BOD and nitrogen isachieved. After the substrate is consumed famine stage starts. During this stage somemicroorganisms will die because of the lack of food and will help reduce the volume of thesettling sludge. The length of the aeration period determines the degree of BOD consumption [1],[2].
Aeration is discontinued at this stage and solids separation takes place leaving clear, treatedeffluent above the sludge blanket. During this clarifying period no liquids should enter or leavethe tank to avoid turbulence in the supernatant.
This period is characterized by the withdrawal of treated effluent from approximately two feet below the surface of the mixed liquor by the floating solids excluding decanter [1]. This removalmust be done without disturbing the settled sludge.
The time in this stage can be used to waste sludge or perform backwashing of the jet aerator. Thewasted sludge is pumped to an anaerobic digester to reduce the volume of the sludge to bediscarded. The frequency of sludge wasting ranges between once each cycle to once every two tothree months depending upon system design.
Aeration Equipment
 A. Jet Aeration Header 
 Jet aeration offers significant advantages in the SBR process due to its flexibility, good contact between substrate and microorganisms, and efficient oxygen transfer. One of its main features isthat it can mix without aerating.Therefore it can provide for aerated and anoxic mix periods. Theheader in conjunction with a computer controlling for flow proportional aeration makes moreoxygen available at higher flows than at lower flows by measuring the rate of change in the flowlevel in reactor.
 B. Decanter 
 Decanting is best achieved through solids excluding decanters. The floating decanter is one of the most efficient and contains a spring loaded plug valve operated by hydraulic differential [1].This decanter is sustained about sixteen inches below the scum by a float therefore avoiding thedecanting of floating matter.
Wastewater treatment has been a challenge throughout the years due to varying influent chemicaland physical characteristics and stringent effluent regulations. Treatment systems using activatedsludge have been able to handle many of these difficulties. Given the lack of on-line computer controls, continuous flow systems have been mostly used for these purposes versus sequencing batch processes. The availability of artificial intelligence has now made the option of a SBR  process more attractive thus providing better controls and results in wastewater treatment. This iscoupled by the flexibility of a SBR in the treatment of variable flows, minimum operator interaction required, option for anoxic or anaerobic conditions in the same tank, good oxygencontact with microorganisms and substrate, small floor space, and good removal efficiency.

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