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CIVL 406


Municipal Wastewater Treatment

Text: Water Supply and Pollution Control, 7th Ed.

Viessman and Hammer

Course Instructors:
Dr. K. V. Lo
Office: CEME 2004D;
Tel: 604-822-4880


2.1 An overview of Wastewater Engineering

WASTEWATER: A combination of the liquid- or water-
carried wastes removed from residences, institutions, and
commercial and industrial establishments, together with such
groundwater, surface water, and storm water as may be


environmental engineering in which the basic principles of
science and engineering are applied to the problems of water
pollution control.


engineering in which the basic principles of science and
engineering are applied to the problems of pollution control. It
may be subdivided into:
 Wastewater engineering
 Solid waste engineering
 Air pollution control engineering

2.2 Sources of Pollution

2.2.1 Point Source
Pollution being emitted from a single, identifiable source.
Given its nature, point source pollution is quantifiable.
Examples include:
 Municipal sewerage systems.

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 Industrial waste discharges (two types: on-site
treatment and disposal/discharge, and treatment to
appropriate standard and discharge to sewerage
 Pipe into a receiving water.

2.2.2 Non-Point Source (NPS)

Pollution with no single, identifiable source. NPS is not
quantifiable, and most often arises from the transport of
contaminants by runoff and overland flow. According to the
USEPA, non-point source pollution is the greatest threat to
water quality. Examples include:
 Agriculture (feedlot runoff, pesticide spraying,
fertilizer runoff, etc).
 Mining activities (heavy metal leachate, acid drainage,
 Poor construction practices (silt transport and
 Forestry clearcutting (silt transport and deposition).
 Irrigation return flow (agri-chemicals, salts, silts,
 Boating and marinas (nutrients from bilge water,
hydrocarbons, metals).
 Urban runoff (silts, grit, hydrocarbons, nutrients,
 Septic tanks and tile fields (dysfunctional tanks release
untreated sewage).
 Acid rain (NOx and sulphur compounds).

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2.3 Urban Runoff and Wastewater Composition
2.3.1 Comparison of Urban Runoff with Municipal
Table 2.1 Wastewater characteristics

l Oxygen
Suspended Demand Total Total Fecal
Solids (SS) (BOD5) Nitrogen Phosphorus (P) coliforms
Background levels 5-100 0.5-3 0.05-0.5 0.01-0.2 ..........
Stormwater runoff 415 20 3-10 0.6 14,500
Combined sewer
overflow 370 115 9-10 1.9 670,000
Municipal 200 200 40 5 1,000,000
Primary Effluent 80 135 35 8 200,000
Secondary Eff. 15 25 11 4 1,000
Tertiary Eff. < 10 <5 <3 <2
Adapted from US EPA, 1977

SS, BOD5, N, P in mg/L

Fecal coliforms in MPN/100 mL

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2.3.2 Typical Composition of Domestic Sewage
Total Solids (TS) is the sum of Total Suspended Solids
(TSS) and Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), i.e. TS = TSS +
Suspended solids are particulate and can be removed by
settling or filtration. Dissolved solids may be atoms or
compounds that are in solution, for instance sugar may be
dissolved in water.
When placed in a muffle furnace at 550°C for one hour, a
portion of the solids will volatilize (burn off) and the remainder
will not. This is how volatile and fixed solids are defined.
Volatile solids are typically smaller organic compounds.
Table 2.2

Constituent Strong Medium Weak
Solids, total 1200 700 350
Dissolved, total 850 500 250
Fixed 525 300 145
Volatile 325 200 105
Suspended, Total 350 200 100
Fixed 75 50 30
Volatile 275 150 70
Settleable Solids (ml/liter) 20 10 5
Biochemical oxygen demand, 5-day, 20°C 300 200 100
Total organic carbon (TOC) 300 200 100
Chemical oxygen demand (COD) 1000 500 250
Nitrogen, (total as N) 85 40 20
Organic 35 15 8
Free ammonia 50 25 12
Nitrites 0 0 0
Nitrates 0 0 0
Phosphorus (total as P) 20 10 6
Organic 5 3 2
Inorganic 15 7 4
Chlorides† 100 50 30
Alkalinity (as CaCO3)† 200 100 50
Grease‡ 152 100 50

All values except settleable solids are expressed in mg/liter

Values should be increased by amount in carriage water

Problematic for treatment plant operation
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2.3.3 Biochemical Oxygen Demand from Selected
Recall that the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is defined
as ―the quantity of oxygen used by microorganisms in the
aerobic stabilization of wastewaters and polluted waters‖
(Viessman & Hammer, page 317). In other words, biochemical
oxygen demand is an indirect measure of the quantity of
organic compounds in the sample that can be degraded
aerobically by microoganisms.

Table 2.3

5-day, 20C BOD of

Source of Waste
waste, mg/liter
Beet sugar refining 450-2,000
Brewery 500-1,200
Beer slop 11,500
Cannery 300-4,000
Grain distilling 15,000-20,000
Molasses distilling 20,000-30,000
Laundry 300-1,000
Milk procesing 300-2,000
Meat packing 600-2,000
Pulp and paper
Sulfite 20
Sulfite-cooker 16,000-25,000
Tannery 500-5,000
Cotton processing 50-1,750
Wool scouring 200-10,000

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2.3.4 Population Equivalent Defined
Population Equivalent is the per capita per day BOD5 loading
(approx 0.2 lb/day·cap). This measure is used to easily
compare the organic pollution potential of industries presenting
large BOD loads to the system. This is important in
determining treatment plant capacity – waste streams include
both household and industrial wastewaters.

Table 2.4

Population Equivalent † , in terms of:

Origin of the Waste Biochemical Suspended
Oxygen Demand Solids
Domestic sewage 1 1
Paper-Mill waste 16 - 1330 6100
Tannery waste 24 - 48 40 - 80
Textile-mill waste 0.4 - 360 130 - 580
Cannery waste 8 - 800 3 - 440

persons per unit daily production

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2.3.5 Variations in Waste Characteristics for Some
Industrial Wastes

Table 2.5

Suspended Solids,
Flow, gal/production unit BOD, lb/production unit
Waste lb/production unit
% frequency % frequency % frequency
10 50 90 10 50 90 10 50 90
Pulp and paper1 11,000 43,000 74,000 17 58 110 26 105 400
Paperboard1 7,500 11,000 27,500 10 28 46 25 48 66
Slaughterhouse2 165 800 4,300 3.8 13 44 3 9.8 31
Brewery3 130 370 600 0.8 2 44 .25 1.2 2.45
Tannery4 4.2 9.0 13.6 575 975 1,400 600 1,900 3,200
tons paper production
1000 lb live weight kill
bbl beer
pounds of hides

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2.3.6 Physical Characteristics of Domestic Wastewater
Table 2.6

Characteristic Cause Significance Measurement

Temperature Ambient air temperature. Influences rate of biological Standard centigrade or
Hot water discharged into activity. Governs solubility of Fahrenheit scale.
sewer from home or oxygen and other gases.
industry. Affects magnitude of density,
viscosity, surface tension, etc.
Turbidity Suspended matter such as Excludes lights, thus reducing Light scatter and
sewage solids, silt, clay, growth of oxygen-producing absorption on an arbitrary
finely divided organic plants. Impairs aesthetic standard scale.
matter of vegetable origin, acceptability of water. May be
algae, microscopic detrimental to aquatic life, e.g.
organisms. algae.
Colour Dissolved matter such as Harmless generally, but Light absorption on an
organic extractives from impairs aesthetic quality of arbitrary standard scale.
leaves and other vegetation receiving waters.
(tannins, glucosides, iron,
etc.), industrial wastes.
Odour Volatile substances, May indicate presence of Human sense of smell,
dissolved gases, often decomposing sewage. Affects qualitative scale, and
produced by decomposition aesthetic quality of water. As a concentration at threshold
of organic matter. In water it test of sewage it may serve, for of odour.
may result from the essential example, as a guide to
oils in microorganisms. E.g. condition of sewage when it
mercaptans, H2S, CH4. reaches the treatment plant.
Taste Materials producing odors. Impairs aesthetic quality of Not measured in
Dissolved matter and water. unpotable water.
various ions.
Solid Matter Dissolved and suspended Measures amount of organic By gravimetric analysis
organic and inorganic salts. solids, silts, etc., hence is a techniques for the
measure of the extent of following: total solids,
sewage pollution or the total volatile solids, total
concentration of a sewage. fixed solids, suspended
solids and dissolved

As a rule of thumb, every increase in temperature by 10°C

increases the rate of reaction by 100%.

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Total Solids: All the matter that remains as residue upon

evaporation at 104C. [can be further classified as nonfiltrable
(suspended) or filtrable].

Settleable Solids: Solids that will settle to the bottom of

an Imhoff cone in a 60-minute period (mL/L).

Filtrable Solids: This fraction consists of colloidal and

dissolved solids.

Colloidal Fraction: The particulate matter with a size

range of 0.001 – 1 m. [Since it cannot be removed by
settling, bio-oxidation or coagulation followed by
sedimentation is required to remove these particles from

Dissolved Solids: Both organic and inorganic molecules

and ions that are present in true solution in water.

Volatile xxxx: Based on the volatility at 550C, each

category can be further classified into ―volatile xxxx‖ and
―fixed xxxx‖, referring, respectively, to the organic and
inorganic (or mineral) content of the xxxx.

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(2.0 m)



Figure 2.1 Interrelationships of solids found in water and wastewater. In much of the
water quality literature, the solids passing through the filter are called dissolved solids.
(Tchobanoglous and Schroeder, 1985.)

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Figure 2.2 Imhoff cone used to determine settleable solids in wastewater. Solids that
accumulate in the bottom of the cone after 60 min are reported as mL/L.

Figure 2.3 Apparatus use for the determination of total suspended solids. After wastewater
sample has been filtered, the preweighted filter paper is placed in an aluminium dish for
drying before weighing.

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2.3.7 Harmful effects of Domestic and Industrial Waters

Table 2.7

Source: PH McGauhey, Engineering Management of Water Quality, Table 5-8 (1968)

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2.4 Wastewater Treatment Processes
2.4.1 Steps in the Development of Wastewater
Treatment Systems

Figure 2.4
Source: Viessman & Hammer, Water Supply and Pollution Control, 5th Ed., Figure 11-19

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BACKGROUND: “The solution to pollution is (was) dilution”?

CURRENT STATUS: Primary, secondary and advanced (tertiary)


UNIT OPERATIONS: methods of treatment in which the

application of physical forces predominates.

UNIT PROCESSES: methods of treatment in which the

removal of contaminants is brought about by chemical or
biological reactions.

Primary Treatment: physical operations such as screening and

sedimentation are used to remove the floating and settleable solids
found in the wastewater.

Secondary Treatment: biological and chemical processes are

used to remove most of the organic matter.

Advanced Treatment: additional combinations of unit

operations and processes are used to remove other constituents,
such as N and P that are not reduced significantly by secondary

Natural Systems: "Land treatment" and/or "wetlands"

combining physical, chemical and biological treatment
mechanisms can produce water with quality similar to or better
than that from advanced wastewater treatment.

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2.4.3 Generic Flow Schematic for Wastewater

Figure 2.5
Source: Davis & Cornwell, Introduction
to Environmental Engineering, Fig 5-10

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Figure 2.6 Schematic layout of a septic tank and tile field.

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Figure 2.7 Schematic diagram of a wastewater management infrastructure (Metcalf & Eddy,

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Figure 2.8 Typical Flow Diagram

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Table 2.8 Approximate Composition of an Average Domestic Wastewater (mg/l)

Before After Biologically

Sedimentation Sedimentation Treated
Total solids 800 680 530
Total volatile solids 440 340 220
Suspended solids 240 120 30
Volatile suspended solids 180 100 20
BOD 200 130 30
Ammonia nitrogen as N 22 22 24
Total nitrogen as N 35 30 26
Soluble phosphorus as P 4 4 4
Total phosphorus as P 7 6 5

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Refer to Viessman & Hammer, Chapter 9.

Waste Segregation
 The separation of different types or strengths of waste.
 Sometimes necessary for industrial wastes, where
process, cooling and sanitary wastes are all generated
 May involved individual pre-treatment, controlled
mixing, separate disposal, etc.
Note exclusions: Wastes that would
1) create fire/explosion hazard (e.g., gasoline or cleaning
2) impair hydraulic capacity (e.g., manure, or sand)
3) cause hazard to people or the treatment system (e.g.,
toxic metal ions, hazardous organic chemicals)
Waste Equalization
 Used by both industries and many municipalities.
 Municipal systems experience diurnal fluctuations in
flows corresponding with people’s activities, with
morning (e.g. showering, toilet flushing) and evening
(e.g. cooking, washing) peaks.
 Involves a ―holding basin‖ that will generate a
stable/uniform effluent for further treatment in the
process train.
 Extremely important for municipal secondary treatment

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Possible Benefits:
 Uniform hydraulic/organic loading
 Possible acid/alkaline neutralization
 Removal/Pretreatment of specific toxic compounds
(e.g. heavy metals).

Figure 2.9 Typical Diurnal Flows. Source: Dept. Civil Engineering, Monash University website

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Combined Sewers (see Sect. 9.2, p 333)
 Very common in North America
 One pipe collects domestic wastewater, stormwater,
light commercial and industrial wastewaters (etc).
 Usually only dry weather flow (domestic, street
drainage and commercial/industrial wastewaters) is
intercepted for treatment.
 During major storm events, combined volumes may
exceed the capacity of the treatment plant, requiring
bypass directly to the receiving water: ―Combined
Sewer Overflow.” (CSO)
 Vancouver City sewers built before in the first half of
the 20thC were typically combined sewers. 38%/675 km
of Vancouver’s sewers were built before 1930;
31%/565 km were constructed between 1930-59.
 Stormwater and wastewater collection systems are
typically separated when old combined sewers are
 Water quality problems on Vancouver’s beaches are
often linked to CSOs.
 Many North American cities prohibit the construction
of combined sewers in new subdivisions.

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2.4.4 Preliminary Treatment (Municipal Wastewater
May include:
 Coarse screens (aka bar racks)
 Medium screens
 Comminution
 Flow measure (e.g. Parshall flume)
 Grit removal
 Pumping
 Pre-air, pre-Cl2, etc.
 Refer to Viessman & Hammer, Figure 9.2
for pre-treatment unit arrangement.
Figure 2.10 Bar rack

Figure 2.11
arrangements of
treatment units
in municipal

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Screening Devices (see Sect. 10.4)
Purpose: to remove large solids, and protect pumps if

Coarse Screens
 Also called ―bar racks.‖
 Comprised of steel bars, <2½‖ (6 cm) apart (clear
 Usually to protect lift pumps.
 Bars are inclined to flow channel @ 30-45º to assist
in cleaning
 Usually hand-cleaned.

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Medium Screens
 Popular alternative to above unit.
 Clear openings between bars of only 5/8 – 1¾‖ (1.5
 4.5 cm).
 Mechanically cleaned by ―rake‖ or rotating blades.
 Screenings are typically landfilled.

Figure 2.12 Screening unit in operation at Lions Gate WWTP. Seen from above, the unit is
about 5 m high. The screen is on a conveyer and screenings are cleaned at the top of the unit.
Waste water flows in at the bottom and screenings are conveyed to the dumpster seen in the
upper left corner of the photo. There are two parallel screening units at Lions Gate. The room
in which they are located is quite malodorous.

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Figure 2.13 Continuous countercurrent solid bowl conveyor discharge centrifuge.

Figure 2.14 Catenary bar screen.

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 Sophisticated shredding devices.
 Reduce solids size further to ¼ - 3/8‖ (0.6 – 1 cm)
 Sometimes installed directly in the flow-measuring
channel, with separate by-pass ―screen & channel‖
combination (for emergency use or maintenance
 In small plants, treating sanitary wastes only (i.e. not
combined sewer), the unit is not preceded by any
other screening device.

Figure 2.15 Wastewater grinders: (a) channel unit and (b) in-line unit.

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Figure 2.16 Drawing and schematic diagram of comminutor. (Courtesy of Worthington Pump,

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Parshall Flume (refer to p. 352-353)
 Wastewater measurement system.
 Free-flow, Venturi-type flume.
 Has smooth hydraulic flow, no solids deposition and
low head loss.

Under free-flowing (unsubmerged) conditions, the Parshall

flume is a critical-depth meter that establishes a mathematical
relationship between the stage h and discharge Q. For a flume
with a throat width of at least 1 ft but less than 8 ft, flow can be
calculated as
Q  4Wh1.522B

Q = flow, cfs
W = throat width, ft
h = upper head, ft

Figure 2.17. Parshall Flume schematic for measuring flow in an open channel by measuring
the free-flowing upper head h.(Viessman & Hammer).

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Grit Chambers (refer to p. 382)
 Grit is defined as gravel, sand, broken glass, bone
chips, coffee grounds, etc.
 Grit chamber is designed to protect mechanical
equipment and pumps from abrasive wear, to reduce
pipe clogging and reduce accumulation of settled
material in clarifiers.
 Type I – discrete particle sedimentation.
 Chamber usually sits between lift pumps and primary
clarifier for sanitary waste systems; if there is a large
solid waste component, then it is placed before lift
pumps. If the chamber is placed after the pump units,
increased pump wear is accepted to afford the
convenience of having the grit chambers at ground

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 Many types or designs are available, depending on the
specific treatment situation, e.g.:

Figure 2.18 Aerated Grit Chamber. Source: Davis & Cornwell, Introduction to Environmental
Engineering, Fig 5-12 (1998)

 long, channel-type settling (sloped)

 aerated unit with steep, hopper-like bottom
 conventional clarifier-type, with scraper arms
 cyclone grit separators, with water jet, used
to wash the grit (esp. small plants) (see
Figure 2-9, next page)

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Figure 2.19 Typical section through an aerated grit chamber.

Table 2.9 Typical design information for aerated grit chambers.

U.S. customary units SI units

Item Unit Range Typical Unit Range Typical
Detention time at peak min 2-5 3 min 2-5 3
Depth ft 7-16 m 2-5
Length ft 25-65 m 7/5-20
Width ft 8-23 m 2/5-7
Width-depth ratio Ratio 1:1 to 5:1 1.5:1 Ratio 1:1 to 5:1 1.5:1
Length-width ratio Ratio 3:1 to 5:1 4:1 Ratio 3:1 to 5:1 4:1
Air supply per unit of ft3/ftmin 3-8 m3/mmin 0.2-0.5
Grit quantities ft3/Mgal 0.5-27 2 m3/103m3 0.004-0.20 0.015

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Figure 2.20 Vortex-type grit chambers: (a) Pista (courtesy Smith & Loveless) and (b) Teacup.
(Courtesy Eutek.)

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Grit Chambers, cont.
 For design purposes:
grit = fine sand
= 0.2 mm dia.
= specific gravity of 2.65
= settling velocity = 0.075 fps
 For large, channel-type systems, the horizontal velocity
designed ~ 1 fps (0.3 m/s).
Settled grit removal: via gravity, bottom scrapers,
screw conveyors, air-lift pumps, etc.

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Figure 2.21 Counterflow Grit Washer

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Special Installations:
A.Sometimes air diffusers are used to keep organics in
suspension, while grit settles out; this also degases and
freshens the sewage. (e.g. large municipal plants like
Lions Gate in North Vancouver.)

Figure 2.22 Preaeration and Grit Chamber, Lions Gate WWTP

B. Sometimes the grit is washed, to remove organics and

return them to the influent (e.g. small ―package‖ plants
like Squamish; see Fig 2-9).

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Purposes of Preliminary Treatment
1. Remove large and small objects
2. Shred some of the solids (minimize wear on pipes and
3. Remove grit/sand/other inert waste
4. Freshen incoming sewage (aeration)
5. BOD5 removal

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2.4.5 Primary Treatment
Refer to Sect. 10-11
Target performance:
Suspended solids (SS) removal  60 – 70%
Bonus: BOD5 removal  30 – 40%

 Actually refers to preliminary treatment plus further

settling of raw wastewater, to remove suspended
 Requires the addition of primary clarifiers to the
process train.
 Follows laws of Type I and Type II settling, especially
the latter, in the top half of the tank. (Refer to Water
Treatment section for review of settlement types).

* Settleable solids, free oil & grease,

other floating materials.

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Analysis of Discrete Particle Settling (Type 1)

The setting of discrete, nonflocculating particles can be

analyzed by means of the classic laws of sedimentation formed
by Newton and Stokes. Newton’s law yields the terminal
particle velocity by equating the gravitational force of the
particle with the frictional resistance, or drag. The
Gravitational force is given by

Gravitational force =  s   gV (2)

where s = density of particle

 = density of fluid
g = acceleration due to gravity
V = volume of particle

The frictional drag force depends on the particle velocity, fluid

density, fluid viscosity, and particle diameter and the drag
coefficient CD (dimensionless) and is defined by Eq. 6-14.

C D A 2
Frictional drag force = (3)

where CD = drag coefficient

A = cross-sectional or projected area of particles at
right angles to 
 = particle velocity

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Equating the gravitational force with the frictional drag force
for spherical particles yields Newton’s law:

 4 g  s   d 
1/ 2
Vc  
CD  

where Vc = terminal velocity of particle

d = diameter of particle

In the design of sedimentation basins, the usual procedure is to

select a particle with a terminal velocity Vc and to design the
basin so that all particles that have a terminal velocity equal to
or greater than Vc will be removed. The rate at which clarified
water is produced is then

Q = A Vc (5)

where A is the surface of the sedimentation basin. Equation 5


Vc  = overflow rate, gal/ft2  d (m3/m2  d) (6)

which shows that the overflow rate or surface-loading rate, a

common basis of design, is equivalent to the settling velocity.
Equation 5 also indicates that, for type 1 settling, the flow
capacity is independent of the depth.

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 Liquid settling/detention times = 1 to 3 hours.
 Liquid ―overflow rates‖ = 300 – 1000 gpd/ft2
but GLUMRB (Great Lakes Upper-Mississippi
River Board of State and Provincial Public Health
and Environmental Managers) recommends:

600 gpd/ft2 for (24 m3/m2-d) plants < 1 mgd

(U.S.) (4000 m3/d) in size, as a guideline.

 effluent weir loading limits (GLUMRB):

10,000 gpd/ft (124 m3/m-d) for plants < 1 mgd

15,000 gpd/ft (190 m3/m-d) for plants >1 mgd

 BOD5 removal is a function of overflow rate, as per Fig


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Figure 2.23 Primary clarifier suspended solids removals versus overflow rates
showing idealized curve2 with data.

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Primary Clarifier Sizing

depth = 7 – 15 ft (GLUMRB minimum is 7ft or 2.1m)

 for circular tanks  dia. = 30-200 ft

 for square tanks  dia. = sides < 100 ft
 for rectangular tanks  dia. = length up to 150 ft, with
L/W ratios of 3:1 to 5:1

 number of tanks: at least 2 in operation, with 1 backup


 bottom slopes for organic sludge removal:

o up to 1% for rectangular tanks
o up to 8% for circular and square tanks
 sludge removal is usually achieved via mechanical
bottom scrapers, pushing material to a collection hopper
at one end (or in the middle for a circular tank).
 Note Example Problem 10-6 & 7, text.

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Figure 2.24 Lions Gate WWTP Primary Clarifier. The system consists of numerous
rectangular operating in parallel. Visible at the surface are some of the mechanical scrapers,
which move floatables to a collection pipe as well as settled material to the sludge hopper.

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Figure 2.25 Primary Clarifier Schematic. Source: Davis & Cornwell, Introduction to
Environmental Engineering, Fig 5-14 (1998)

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Figure 2.26 Typical primary settling tank for wastewater treatment. (a) Circular settling tank
with an inboard weir trough. (b) Stilling well and sludge-collecting mechanism in a circular
clarifier. Source: Courtesy of Walker Process Equipment, Division of McNish Corp.

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(BOD) (Ref. Text 8.11)

 Quantity of oxygen used by micro-organisms in the

aerobic stabilization of liquid wastes and polluted waters.

 Standard 5-day BOD test value is used; standard-sized

samples (300 mL) are incubated at 20ºC for 5 days. Initial
and final dissolved oxygen (DO) levels are measured.
BOD5 is calculated as follows:

BOD5 = L· (1 – 10-5k) (7)

Students are responsible for more detailed knowledge of

the BOD test than is presented here, i.e. lab procedures,
basic equations, theory, fundamental calculations and
example problems. See Viessman & Hammer, Sect 8.11,
pp. 317-321 (7th Ed.) or pp. 289-293 (8th Ed.).

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 The BOD test is used to:
1. define the organic carbon strength of municipal
2. evaluate the ―efficiency‖ of treatment by measuring
the oxygen demand remaining in the effluent;
3. determine the amount of organic pollutant in
surface waters, e.g. Fraser River.

Figure 2.27 Source: Viessman & Hammer, 4th Ed

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Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) is usually defined as

the amount of oxygen required by bacteria while stabilizing
decomposable organic matter under aerobic conditions.

The BOD test is used to determine the pollution strength of

domestic and industrial wastes in terms of the oxygen that they
will require if discharged into natural watercourses in which
aerobic conditions exist.

The 5-day BOD (BOD5) is the most widely used parameter of

organic pollution applied to wastewater and surface water. It
involves the measurement of the dissolved oxygen used by _

microorganism in the biochemical oxidation of organic matter.

The BOD test results are used to

1. Determine the approximate quantity of oxygen that will be

required to biologically stabilize the organic matter

2. Determine the size of waste treatment facilities,

3. Measure the efficiency of some treatment processes, and

4. Determine compliance with wastewater discharge permits.

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The BOD test: This is essentially a bioassay procedure
involving the measurement of oxygen consumed by living
organisms (mainly bacteria) while utilizing the organic matter
present in a waste, under conditions as similar as to those occur
in nature.

 The test is usually conducted in standard BOD bottles

(300 mL).

 Pending on the wastewater samples, dilution [< 7 mg/L]

and seeding may be needed [untreated wastewater, animal
wastes may already contain a large population of

 The samples must be protected from the air to prevent re-


 The environmental conditions must be suitable for the

living organisms to function in an unhindered manner at
all times. [Absence of toxic substances and all nutrients
needed for bacterial growth, N, P, and certain trace
elements, must be present.]

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Limitations of the BOD test:

1. A high concentration of active, acclimated seeded bacteria

is required;

2. Pretreatment is needed when dealing with toxic wastes;

3. Only biodegradable organics are measured;

4. The test does not have stoichiometric validity after the

soluble organic matter present in solution has been used;

5. An arbitrary, long period of time is required to obtain

results. [The 5 day period may or may not correspond to the
point where the soluble organic matter that is present has
been used.]

Wastewater Treatment 51
The carbonaceous oxygen demand curve can be expressed
mathematically as

BODt = L(1 – 10-kt) (8)


BODt = biochemical oxygen demand at time t; mg/I

L = ultimate BOD, mg/l
k = deoxygenation rate constant, day-l
t = time, days
The equation for calculating BOD from a seeded laboratory
test is

D1  D2   B1  B2  f (9)


BOD = biochemical oxygen demand, mg/l

D1 = dissolved oxygen (DO) of diluted seeded
wastewater about 15 min after preparation,
D2 = DO of wastewater after incubation, mg/l
B1 = DO of diluted seed sample about 15 min
after preparation, mg/l
B2 = DO of seed sample after incubation, mg/l
f = ratio of seed volume in seeded wastewater
test to seed volume in BOD test on seed
P = decimal fraction of wastewater sample used

Wastewater Treatment 52
volume of wastewater
volume of dilution water plus wastewater

If the sample is unseeded, the relationship is

D1  D2
BOD  (10)

BOD tests were conducted on composited samples of a raw
wastewater and a treated wastewater after chlorination.

1. The BOD tests for the raw wastewater were set up by

pipetting 5.0 ml into each 300-ml bottle. For one pair of
bottles, the test results were: the initial dissolved oxygen
(DO) was 8.4 mg/l, and after 5 days of incubation at 20°C
the final DO was 3.7 mg/l. Calculate the BOD and estimate
the 20-day BOD value assuming a k of 0.10 day-1.

2. The treated wastewater sample was dechlorinated prior to

conducting a seeded test. The BOD bottles were set up with
50.0 ml of treated wastewater and 0.5 ml of raw wastewater
for seed added to each bottle. For one pair of bottles, the test
results were: the initial DO was 7.6 mg/l, and the final DO
was 2.9 mg/l. Calculate the BOD.

Wastewater Treatment 53
1. Using Eq. 10,

8.4  3.7
BOD5   282 mg / l
5.0 / 300

Using Eq. 8,

L  412 mg / l
1  100.15.0

BOD20 = 412(1 - 10-0.1x20) = 408 mg/l

2. Using Eq. 9,

7.6  2.9  8.4  3.7 0.5 / 5.0  25 mg / l
50 / 300

Wastewater Treatment 54
2.4.6 Secondary Treatment
Viessman & Hammer, Chapters 11 & 12

Primary Effluent:  contains ~30-40% residual suspended

 high in colloidal and dissolved organics,
60-70% BOD
 thus, high in BOD and nutrients

Therefore, must further treat this effluent to remove residual

―oxygen-demanding‖ material and keep it out of the receiving
water (a desirable goal in N. America and Europe).

Treatment Methods

A. Chemical  not commonplace for municipal WW due to

high chemical costs, chemical sludge
handling problems and low dissolved BOD5
removal efficiency.
 if used, chemicals and processes are similar
to water treatment, i.e., Fe salts, lime, alum
and used as polishing treatment only.

Wastewater Treatment 55
Chemical Precipitation
Chemical precipitation in wastewater treatment involves the
addition of chemicals to alter the physical state of dissolved
and suspended solids and to facilitate their removal by
In the past, chemical precipitation was used to enhance the
degree of suspended solids and BOD removal:
(i) where there were seasonal variation in the
concentration of wastewater,
(ii) where an intermediate degree of treatment was
(iii) as an aid to the sedimentation process.
Now chemical precipitation is also used to provide more
complete removal of organic compounds and nutrients
The common precipitants (coagulants or flocculants) area:
Alum [Al2(SO4)3  18 H2O],
ferric chloride [FeCl3],
ferric sulphate [Fe2(SO4)3 or Fe(SO4)3  3 H2O],
ferrous sulphate [FeSO4  7H2O] and
lime [Ca(OH)2].
There are other chemicals, mostly polymers, such as PERCOL
728, and chitosan, which can be used effectively to achieve
the precipitation.

The removal efficiency can be in the range of 80 to 90% for

TSS, 40 to 70% for BOD5, 30 to 60% for COD, and 80 to
90% for bacteria.

Wastewater Treatment 56
B. Biological
(p. 520-527)  98-99% of all 2º treatment processes are
 can be aerobic and/or anaerobic systems.
 usually municipal wastewater main stream
treated aerobically.
Biological treatment is comprised of a living system which
relies on mixed bio-cultures to break-down waste organics and
remove them from solution.
e.g. bacteria & soluble C-organics and N, P etc. + O2
 CO2 + H2O + E + more bacteria
(=sludge or biosolids)
where E  heat and chemical energy
Micronutrients include Fe, Mn, Zn, Co, Mg, Ca.
Bacteria are single-celled micro-organisms. They can be
classified as heterotrophs or autotrophs.
 Autotrophs use carbon dioxide as a carbon source and
oxidize inorganic compounds for energy. They are used
primarily in specialized treatment systems as nitrification.
e.g. NH3 + O2  NO3
 Heterotrophs, sometimes called ―saprophytes,‖ use
organic carbon (organic defined as having C—H bonds)
as their energy source and are used in conventional waste
treatment systems.

Wastewater Treatment 57
Two subclasses of heterotrophs:

1. Aerobic: use oxygen as electron receptor

e.g. organic-C + O2  CO2 +H2O + E + biomass

2. Anaerobic: fermentation, i.e. break-down organic-C

e.g. organic-C  acid intermediates (aka volatile
fatty acids) + CO2 +H2O + E +

subsequently the volatile fatty acids are broken

down by a class of anaerobes called methanogens,

i.e. VFA  CH4 + CO2 + H2S + N2 (etc.) + E +

more biomass

Anaerobic processes are used if the wastewater is high

in BOD (e.g. 20,000 mg/L). Though lower efficiencies
are achieved than in aerobic systems, energy costs for
anaerobic processes are lower.

Wastewater Treatment 58
Bacterial Growth and Factors

*Reading Assignment*
 §12-6 Text – Kinetics
 §12-7 Text – Growth

Note especially the concept of F/M Ratio – food-to-micro-

organism ratio.

Bacteria are classified as psychrophilic, mesophilic, or

thermophilic, depending on their optimum temperature range
of growth.

Psychrophilic (cold-loving): 4 - 10C

Mesophilic (moderation-loving): 20 - 40C
Thermophilic (heat-loving): 50 - 65C

The rate of biological activity in the mesophilic range between

5 and 35C doubles for every 10 - 15C temperature rise
(Fig. 12.10). The common mathematical expression for
relating the change in the reaction-rate constant with
temperature, developed in Section 11.6, is

K = K20T-20 (11)

K = reaction-rate constant at temperature T

K20 = reaction-rate constant at 20C
 = temperature coefficient
T = temperature of biological reaction, C

Wastewater Treatment 59
Figure 2.28 General effect of temperature on biological activity.

Table 2.10 Classification of microorganisms by electron donor, electron acceptor, sources of

cell carbon, and end products
Electron donor
Type of Common Carbon (Substrate Electron
bacteria reaction name source oxidized) acceptor Products
Aerobic Aerobic oxidation Organic Organic O2 CO2, H2O
heterotrophic compounds compounds
Aerobic Nitrification CO2 NH 3 , NO 2 O2 NO 2 , NO 3
Iron oxidation CO2 Fe (II) O2 Ferric Iron
Fe (III)
Sulfur oxidation CO2 H2S, S, O2 SO 2 4
S2 O32 
Facultative Denitrification Organic Organic NO 2 , NO 3 N2, CO2, H2O
heterotrophic anoxic reaction compounds compounds
Anaerobic Acid fermentation Organic Organic Organic Volatile fatty acids
heterotrophic compounds compounds compounds (VFAs) (acetate,
propionate, butyrate)
Iron reduction Organic Organic Fe (III) Fe (II), CO2, H2O
compounds compounds
Sulfate reduction Organic Organic SO4 H+S, CO+, H+O
compounds compounds
Methanogenesis Organic Volatle fatty CO+ Methane
compounds acids (VFAs)

Wastewater Treatment 60

spherical cocci – 0.5 - 1.0 μm in diameter;
cylindrical rods – 0.1 to 1 μm in width by 1.5 to 3.0 J-lm in length;
helical spirilla – 0.5 to 5 μm in width by 6 to 15 J-lm in lendth for

Heterotrophic organisms (classified into four distinct groups
according to their mode of reproduction, encompassing fission,
budding, and spore formation.)

Unicellular or multi-cellular photo-autotrophs.

Usually motile single cells (the majority of which are aerobic


Table 2.11

Aerobic Anaerobic
Suspended-  Activated-sludge (AS)  Anaerobic digester
 Earthen lagoon
Growth*  Aerated lagoon
Attached-  Trickling filter (TF)  Anaerobic filter
 Rotating biological
Growth *  Fixed-film reactor
contactor (RBC)
* Hybrid reactors

Wastewater Treatment 61
Trickling Filter

Text §12-12 to 12-16

Theory: Primary effluent sprayed onto a bed of rock, wood or

plastic media, coated with a pre-formed biological
film. Biofilms are comprised of bacteria, protozoa,
fungi, etc.

TF is an aerobic treatment process but the film itself

is aerobic to a depth of only 0.20 – 0.25 mm. The
layer below the aerobic layer, then, is mostly

Figure 2.29 Example of Plastic Media. Source:

Note: Fig 12-17 in Viessman & Hammer and the concept of

sloughing (i.e. wastewater peels off the top, aerobic
Fig 12-18 in Viessman & Hammer for a section of a

Wastewater Treatment 62
Basic Design

Filter Media: 2‖ – 5‖ rock or plastic media. Synthetic

media typically offer a greater surface
area (therefore, greater capacity).
Rotary Arm: Designed for uniform hydraulic loading.
Can be electric-driven or reaction-type
header, requiring at least 60 cm of
hydraulic head.
Underdrain: Provides physical support for media.
Distributes fresh air.
Collects/transports wastewater effluent.
Clarification: Must have a secondary clarifier to settle
out and thicken the sloughed solids.
Effluent/supernatant then discharged.

Figure 2.30 Trickling Filter. Source: Wastewater Engineering: Treatment and Reuse, Metcalf & Eddy,
Tchobonaglous, 1998.

Wastewater Treatment 63

Low-rate filter: One pass of wastewater through filter.

No recirculation of anything.
Sloughed solids settled out.
Usually needs a dosing tank to keep a
minimum level of flow to prevent
killing the biofilm.

Figure 2.31 Low-rate trickling filter.

High-rate filter: There is recirculated flow through the

filter system, usually a combination of
effluent and solids.
No dosing tank required.
Refer to Figs 12-21, 12-22, Viessman.

Wastewater Treatment 64
Figure 2.32 Schematic diagram showing the form of the biological process in a tricking filter.

Wastewater Treatment 65
Figure 2.33 Random packing for both shallow and deep trickling filters. Each element is a
plastic cylinder (3.5 x 3.5 in.) with perforated walls and internal ribs. (Courtesy of Norton
Chemical Process Products Corp., Stow, OH.)

Figure 2.34 Typical packing material for trickling filters: (a) rock, (b) and (c) plastic vertical-
flow, (d) plastic cross-flow, (e) redwood horizontal, and (f) random pack. [Figs. (c) and (d)
from Americal Surfpac Corp., (e) from Nepture Microfloc, and (f) from Jaeger Products, Inc.]
Note: the random pack material is often used in air stripping towers. (Metcalf & Eddy, 2003)

Wastewater Treatment 66
Table 2.12 Physical properties of trickling filter packing materials. (Metcalf & Eddy, 2003)

Approx. unit surface
Nominal weight, area Void space,
Packing material size, cm kg/m3 m2/m3 %
River rock (small) 2.5-7.5 1250-1450 60 50
River rock (large) 10-13 800-1000 45 60
Plastic—conventional 61 x 61 x 122 30-80 90 >95
Plastic—high specific surface area 61 x 61 x 122 65-95 140 >94
Plastic random packing— Varies 30-60 98 80
Plastic random packing—high Varies 50-80 150 70
specific surface area
C = BOD removal; N = tertiary nitrification; CN = combined BOD and nitrification.
Note: kg/m3 x 0.0624 = lb/ft3.
m2/m3 x 0.0305 = ft2/ft3.

Figure 2.35 Profile of a typical single-stage trickling=filter plant with recirculation of

underflow from the final clarifier to the head of the plant.

Wastewater Treatment 67
Figure 2.36 Typical recirculation patterns for single-stage trickling-filter plants. (a)
Recirculation with sludge return. (b) Direct recirculation around the filter.

Two-stage filter: 2 filters in series with or without an

intermediate clarifier.
Used to provide a very high quality effluent
or treat high strength wastewater (e.g.
hospitals, military wastes).
Refer to Fig 12-23.

Note: all schemes include a final or secondary clarifier to settle

out sloughed solids.

Wastewater Treatment 68
Figure 2.37 Typical recirculation patterns for two-stage trickling-filter plants without and
with intermediate sedimentation.

Loading (organic)
 Usually given in: lb. BOD5/d/1000ft3 (kg/d/1000m3) of
or: lb. BOD5/d/acre-ft (kg/d/hectare-m) of
plan area

e.g. low rate – 15 lb/d/1000ft3 (240 kg/d/1000m3)

high rate – 35 lb/d/1000ft3
2-stage – 55 lb/d/1000ft3

 Also, must consider hydraulic loading onto the bed.

 Usually given in, gpm/ft2 or m3/m2-day.

Wastewater Treatment 69
e.g. low rate – 3
high rate – 20

1. Many, many empirical equations/formulae avail. to
choose from, to define a suitable mathematical
model; but no universal model exists that can
precisely describe substrate removal.
2. However, a ―common model‖ used in practice does
exist and is comprised of the following general

1. Contact time - t  (12)
where t = mean residence time, min.
D = filter depth, ft.
Q = hyd. loading,
or gpm/ft2
C & n are constants, depending on
shape and specific surface area of the

2. Soluble BOD5 removal without any recirculation

(empirical equation) – first order kinetics
Le  KD n
e Q (13)
where Le = effluent BOD5, mg/L
Lo = influent BOD5, mg/L
n = empirical coefficient; function of
media type/configuration

Wastewater Treatment 70
K = reaction-rate constant, gpm/ft3,
dependent on specific surface area,
type of waste, etc. (usually found in
pilot plant studies).

3. BOD5 applied to filter when recirculation is used:

La  NLe
Lo  (14)
N 1

where Lo = applied BOD5 of wastewater

stream, after mixing with recirculated
flow, mg/L (requires mass balance
La = raw influent BOD5 before mixing
with recirculated flow, mg/L
N = recirculated flow ratio, Qr/Q
Once Lo is found, it is then substituted back
into eqn 2, to evaluate Le.

Figure 2.38 Illustration of variables for equation 3.

Wastewater Treatment 71
Operational Problems
Organic overloading
 Plugs the bed and may cause wastewater ―ponding‖
on the surface.
 Reduces BOD removal efficiency.
Cold weather:
 Causes ice formation on the surface.
 Reduces bio-activity and thus, efficiency.
Foul Odours:
 Due to overloading and poor air circulation.
 More of an aesthetic problem.
 Trickling filters are very sensitive to ―toxic‖
material in the waste, especially near the top of the
Filter flies:
 Called Psychoda flies.
 Grow on the media, along inside of walls etc. and
are more of a ―nuisance‖ than any health concern.
 Usually controlled by mild application of an
insecticide or by flooding the bed with treated
wastewater or fresh water.

Advantages of Trickling Filters

1. Simplicity of operation.
2. Low operating costs.
3. Waste sludge generated is easy to process.

Wastewater Treatment 72
Table 2.13 Comparison of different types of trickling filters a (Davis & Cornwell, 1998)

Trickling filter classification

Design Low or standard Intermediate rate High rate (stone Super rate (plastic Roughing
characteristics rate media) media)
Hydraulic loading, 1 to 4 4 to 10 10 to 40 15 to 90 b 6o to 180 b
Organic loading, 0.08 to 0.32 0.24 to 0.48 0.32 to 1.0 0.32 to 1.0 Above 1.0
kg BOD5/d  m3
Recirculation ratio 0 0 to 1 1 to 3 0 to 1 1 to 4
Filter flies Many Varies Few Few Few
Sloughing Intermittent Varies Continuous Continuous Continuous
Depth, m 1.5 to 3 1.5 to 2.5 1 to 2 Up to 12 1 to 6
BOD5 removal, % 80-85 50 to 70 65 to 80 65 to 85 40 to 65
Effluent quality Well nitrified Some nitrification Nitrites Limited nitrification No nitrification
Adapted from Joint Committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Water Pollution Federation, Wastewater Treatment Plant
Design (ASCE Manuals and Reports on Engineering Practice No. 36, WPCF Manual of Practice No. 8). Lancaster, PA: Lancaster Press, Inc., p.
285, 1977.
Not including recirculation.

Wastewater Treatment 73
The NRC formula for a single-stage trickling filter is

E (15)
1  0.0561w / VF  0.5

E = BOD removal at 20C, %
w = BOD load applied, lb/day
V = volume of filter media, ft3 x 10-3
F = recirculation factor
w/V = BOD loading, lb/1000 ft3/day

The recirculation factor is calculated from the formula

1 R
F (16)
1  0.1R 2

where R is the recirculation ratio (ratio of recirculation flow to

raw wastewater flow).

The NRC formula for the second stage of a two-stage filter is

E2  (17)
1  0.0561 / 1  E1 w2 / VF 0.5

E2 = BOD removal of the second stage at 20C, %
E1 = fraction of BOD removed in the first stage
w2 = BOD load applied to the second stage, lb/day
w2/V = BOD loading, lb/1000 ft3/day

Wastewater Treatment 74
The effect of wastewater temperature on stone-filled trickling-
filter efficiency may be expressed as

E  E20 1.035T  20 (18)

E = BOD removal efficiency at temperature T inC
E20 = BOD removal efficiency at 20C

Example (Example 12.4 Text)

Calculate the BOD loading, hydraulic loading, BOD removal
efficiency, and effluent BOD concentration of a single-stage
trickling filter based on the following data:

average wastewater flow = 280 gpm

recirculation rate = 0.5
settled wastewater BOD (primary effluent) = 130 mg/l
depth of media = 2.1 m
wastewater temperature = 18C


raw-wastewater flow = 280 gpm = 1530 m3/d

recirculation flow = 0.50 x 1530 = 765 m3/d

3 kg / m 3
BOD load = 1530 m /d x 130 mg/l x
1000mg / l
= 200 kg/d

Wastewater Treatment 75
surface area of filter = (18.0)2/4 = 254 m2

volume of media = 254 x 2.1 = 533 m3

BOD loading = = 375 g/m3  d
533 m 3
= 23.5 lb/1000 ft3/day

1530m 3 / d  765m 3 / d
hydraulic loading =  9.04m 3 / m 2  d
254m 2
= 0.15 gpm/ft2  d

By Eqs. 16 and 15,

1  0.5
F  1.36
1  0.1  0.5 2

E 20   81.1%
1  0.056123.5 / 1.36 0.5

Using Eq. 18,

E18 = 81.1 x 1.03518-20 = 75.7%

Effluent BOD = 130[(100 – 75.7)/100] = 32 mg/l

Wastewater Treatment 76
Figure 2.39 Profile of a combined trickling-filter activated-sludge process.

Figure 2.40 Flow diagram for a domestic wastewater plant using rotating biological contactors
for secondary treatment.

Wastewater Treatment 77
Figure 2.41

Wastewater Treatment 78
Activated Sludge Process
(Viessman & Hammer, p. 577–)

 Wastewater fed continuously into an aerated tank.
 ―Bugs‖ metabolize and biologically flocculate the
dissolved/colloidal organics.
 Bugs and organics known as ―activated sludge,‖ while
entire tank contents known as ―mixed liquor.‖
 Settling of the activated sludge is carried out in the
secondary clarifier; part of the settled solids is usually
returned to the aeration tank and the rest is ―wasted‖ to
further processing.
 Settled effluent/supernatant is then discharged.

General Schematic

Figure 2.42 General schematic for activated sludge treatment process.

 Primary feeders  bacteria

 Secondary feeders  protozoa, rotifers

Wastewater Treatment 79
Figure 2.43 Generalized biological process reactions in the activated-sludge process.

Figure 2.44 Rate of metabolism versus increasing food/microorganism ratio.

Wastewater Treatment 80
 ―Bug growth‖ in the mixed-liquor is usually maintained
in the declining or endogenous growth phase, for a
variety of reasons, including good settling properties of
Figure 2.45 Bacterial log-growth curve for a
pure culture. Source: Davis & Cornwell,
Introduction to Environmental Engineering,
Fig 5-14 (1998)

 Continued ―synthesis‖ of organics leads to a large buildup

of microbial mass; thus, ―excess‖ activated sludge must
be ―wasted‖ from the system to maintain proper F/M ratio
and growth phase.
 What is the F/M (food-to-micro-organism) ratio?
lb BOD5 applied / day
F  (19)
M lb MLVSS in water
where MLVSS  Mixed Liquor Volatile Suspended
The daily mass of food supplied to the microbial
biomass mass. This value is important in terms of
managing stage of growth in the system (i.e.

Wastewater Treatment 81
(Refer to Viessman & Hammer, 12-19)

 Usually given in terms of lb BOD5 applied/day/1000ft3 of

tank (mass loading).
 Or, as lb BOD5 applied/day/lb MLVSS = F/M ratio,
Where MLVSS  mixed-liquor volatile suspended solids.

 e.g., low F/M = 0.10 – 0.30 d-1 See Table 12-3,

med F/M = 0.30 – 0.60 d-1 text
high F/M = > 0.60 d-1

 Hydraulic loading discussed in terms of ―aeration period

 AP‖ or ―hydraulic retention time  HRT,‖ given in

 Return (recycle) rate = % of influent wastewater flow.

e.g. if return sludge rate = 20% and sewer flow into
the plant = 10 mgd (4 x 104 m3/d).
Return sludge flow = 2 mgd
Total plant flow = 12 mgd

Wastewater Treatment 82
 Also, have the concept of ―sludge age‖ (average time bugs
live in the tank) = retention time of the activated sludge
solids in the system, days.
sludge age  , days
SS  Q


QW  SS W  Q E  SS E

where MLSS = mixed liquor SS, mg/L

V = tank volume, m3
QE = effluent WW flow, m3/d
SSE = suspended solids in effluent, mg/L
QW = quantity of waste sludge, m3/d
SSW = waste sludge suspended solids, mg/L
AP = aeration period, days

e.g., low SA = 3-5 days

normal SA = 6-10 days
high SA = >20 days

 Can substitute MLVSS and VSS into the above equations,

whereby volatile fraction of solids must be known in
advance, i.e. MLVSS/MLSS  0.70 – 0.80 for municipal
waste water.
 Normally, [MLSS] in tank 1500 – 3000 mg/L for
treating domestic sewage.
 Review Ex. Problem 12-9 in Viessman.

Wastewater Treatment 83
Treatment Systems

 Review Figs. 12-32 (included as 2-20 in notes)& 12-33 in

Viessman & Hammer.
 Review Ex. Probs. 12-10, 12-11 in Viessman & Hammer.

Process Stability

Problems include:

 Oscillating bug growth, especially in conventional or

plug-flow designs.
 Changes in organic/hydraulic flow cycle into plant;
flow equalization and recycle can help to mitigate
this problem.
 Shock loading (offset somewhat by CMAS design
 Adequate air supply, especially when ―plugging‖
(filling of diffuser parts) occurs too frequently.

Operation and Control

 Operation/control of plant via regulation of:

a) Air supply to tank; min DO = 1-3 mg/L.
b) Rate of sludge return; affects F/M ratio.
c) Sludge wasting from the system; affects sludge age,
according to the formula:
SA 
Q W  SS W  Q E  SS E (20)

Wastewater Treatment 84

The principal factors used in process control are:

1) Dissolved-Oxygen Control: maintaining dissolved-oxygen

(DO) levels in the aeration tank;

Theoretically: The air supply (the amount of O2 transferred)

must be adequate to
(i) satisfy the BOD of the waste;
(ii) satisfy the endogenous respiration by the sludge
(iii) provide adequate mixing; and
(iv) maintain a minimum DO concentration of 1 - 3 mg/L
throughout the reactor. [Sludge bulking - when oxygen
limits the microbial growth]

2) Return Activated-Sludge (RAS) Control: to maintain a

sufficient concentration of AS in the aeration tank so that the
required degree of treatment can be obtained in the time
interval desired. {50 - 100 percent.}.

The control strategies are based on either maintaining a target

MLSS level in the aeration tank or a given sludge blanket
depth in the final clarifier.

(i) settleability: settling test or SVI. [30 min. of settling in

a 1,000 mL graduated cylinder.
(ii) sludge blanket level control: 1 - 3 ft (0.3 - 0.9 m).
(iii) clairifier mass balance.
(iv) aeration tank mass balance.

Wastewater Treatment 85
(v) sludge quality.

3) Sludge Wasting: controlling the waste activated sludge



Process Description

Oxidation and sythesis:

COHNS + O2 + nutrients CO2 + NH3 + C5H7NO2
(organic matter) (new cells)

+ other end products

Endogenous respiration:
C5H7NO2 + 5O2 5CO2 + 2H2O + NH3 + energy

113 160
1 1.42

If all of the cells can be oxidized completely, the ultimate BOD

of the cells is equal to 1.42 times the concentration of cells.

Wastewater Treatment 86
Oxygen Requirements and Transfer

Theoretical oxygen requirements for the removal of the

carbonaceous organic matter in the AS system can be
computed as:

kg O2/d = {mass of BODL utilized, kg/d} –

1.42 {mass of organisms wasted, kg/d} (21)

kg O2/d =

QSo  Se   103 g / kg 1  1.42P  (22)

where f = conversion factor for BOD5 to BODL

(0.45 ~ 0.68)
So = influent BOD5 (mg/L)
Se = effluent BOD5 (mg/L)
Q = Flow rate (m3/d)
Px = net waste sludge produced each day (kg/d)
= Yobs Q(So – Se) x (103 g/kg)-1
Yobs = observed yield (g/g)

Wastewater Treatment 87
a) Plug-flow process:
 Tapered air (more at front
 Conventional process.
 PFAS design.
 BOD5 gradient.

b) Step air:
 Wastewater injected at no.
of points  BOD loading is
 Uniform air supply.

c) Contact Stabilization:
 BOD mostly colloidal.
 Mostly used in food
processing (dairy).

d) Extended Aeration
 No primary clarifier.
 Used mainly for small

Figure 2.46 Flow diagrams from common

activated sludge processes. Source: Viessman &
Hammer, Figure 12-32.

e) Completed-mixed activated
sludge process (CMAS):
 Often used for toxic
substances – diluted (effects
are reduced).

Wastewater Treatment 88
Figure 2.47 Conventional activated-sludge process. (a) Long rectangular aeration tank with
submerged coarse-bubble diffusers along one side (Santee, CA). (b) Cross section of a typical
aeration tank illustrating the spiral flow pattern created by aeration along one side.

Wastewater Treatment 89
Figure 2.48 Fine-bubble diffuser for wastewater aeration. (a) A disc diffuser mounted on top
of an air distributed pipe. (b) A grid of diffusers attached to air pipes mounted on the floor of
an aeration tank. (c) Long rectangular aeration tank with uniform mixing and oxygenation by
a grid of fine-bubble diffusers. (Courtesy of SANITAIRE, Water Pollution Control Corp.)

Wastewater Treatment 90
1. Basic monitoring/testing includes:
a) [D.O.] in mixed liquor – computer-controlled in most
plants, through auto-sensors.
b) Influent/effluent BOD5 – measure of efficiency (also
must meet plant permit value).
c) [MLVSS] in tank.
d) Effluent SS leaving system (also must meet plant
permit value).
e) Activated sludge settleability/thickening capacity –
affects sludge processing operation/efficiency.
f) A well-trained operator is the key to overall plant
performance, regardless of the level of sophistication
of the plant.

Wastewater Treatment 91

Process Design Considerations

In the design of the activated-sludge process, consideration
must be given to the following:
1. Selection of the reactor type,
2. Loading criteria,
3. Sludge production,
4. Oxygen requirements and transfer,
5. Nutrient requirements,
6. Control of filamentous organisms, and
7. Effluent characteristics.
Selection of Reactor Type:
Operational factors that are involved in the bioprocess include:
1. Reaction kinetics governing the treatment process;
2. Oxygen transfer requirements; [modifications of AS: i)
tapered aeration, ii) step-feed, and iii) complete-mix ].
3. Nature of the wastewater to be treated;
4. Local environmental conditions; [temperature, pH and
alkalinity ].
5. Costs [construction. operation, and maintenance costs].
Loading Criteria
The two most commonly used parameters are:
1. Food-to-microorganism ratio (F/M), and
2. Mean cell-residence time (c).

Wastewater Treatment 92
Table 2.14 General Loading and Operational Parameters for Activated-Sludge Processes

1000ft3/ day/lb of AGE PERIOD SLUDGE
PROCESS day a MLSS (days) (hr) RATES
Step aeration 30-50 0.2-0.5 5-15 5.0-7.0 50
(tapered 30-40 0.2-0.5 5-15 6.0-7.5 30
30-50 0.2":"0.5 5-15 6.0-9.0 100
10-30 0.05 0.2 20+ 20-30 100
120+ 0.6-1.5 5-10 1.0-3.0 30
1.0 Ib/1000 ft3/day = 16 g/m3.d.

Wastewater Treatment 93
Figure 2.49 Schematic diagram of a typical activated sludge process

Wastewater Treatment 94
Figure 2.50 Definition sketch for suspended solids mass balances for return sludge control:
(a) secondary clarifier mass balance and (b)aeration tank mass balance. (Metcalf
& Eddy, 2003)

Wastewater Treatment 95
Table 2.15 Factors affecting the performance of typical secondary treatment processesa

Process Factors affecting performance

Activated sludge Reactor type
Hydraulic detention time
Hydraulic loading
Organic loading
Aeration capacity
Mean cell-residence time (MCRT)
Food/microorganisms ratio (F/M)
Return sludge recirculation rate
Environmental factors (pH, temperature)
Trickling-filter Media type and depth
Hydraulic loading
Organic loading
Filter staging
Recirculation rate
Flow distribution
RBCs Number of stages
Organic loading
Hydraulic loading
Drive mechanisms
Media density
Shaft selection
Recirculation rate
Rotational speed

Wastewater Treatment 96
Figure 2.51 Sequencing batch reactor operation for carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus
removal (Metcalf & Eddy, 2003).

Wastewater Treatment 97
Table 2.16 Description of the operational steps for the sequencing
batch reactora
step Description
Fill The purpose of the fill operation is to add substrate (raw
wastewater or primary effluent) to the reactor. The fill
process typically allows the liquid level in the reactor to rise
from 25 percent of capacity (at the end of idle) to 100
percent. If controlled by time, the fill process normally lasts
approximately 25 percent of the full cycle time.
React The purpose of react is to complete the reactions that were
initiated during fill. Typically, react takes up 35 percent of
the total cycle time.
Settle The purpose of settle is to allow solids separation to occur,
providing a clarified supernatant to be discharged as effluent.
In an SBR, this process is normally much more efficient than
in a continuous-flow system because in the settle mode the
reactor contents are completely quiescent.
Drawb The purpose of draw is to remove clarified treated water from
the reactor. Many types of decant mechanisms are in current
use, with the most popular being floating or adjustable weirs.
The time dedicated to draw can range from 5 to 30 percent of
the total cycle time (15 minutes to 2 hours), with 45 minutes
being a typical draw period.
Idleb The purpose of idle in a multitank system is to provide time
for one reactor complete its fill cycle before switching to
another unit. Because idle is not a necessary phase, it is
sometimes omitted.
Adapted from Metcalf & Eddy, 2003.
Sludge wasting usually occurs during the settle or idle phases, but wasting can occur in the other
phases depending on the mode of operation.

Wastewater Treatment 98
Figure 2.52 Sequencing batch reactor (SBR) design principle

Wastewater Treatment 99
Table 2.17 Factors That Can Adversely Affect Settleability of Activated Sludge

Species of dominant microorganisms (filamentous)
Ineffective biological flocculation
Denitrification in final clarifier (floating solids)
Excessive volumetric and food/microorganism loadings
Mixed-liquor suspended-solids concentration
Unsteady-state conditions (nonuniform feed rate and discontinuous
wasting of excess activated sludge)

Lack of nutrients
Presence of toxins
Kinds of organic matter

Excessive agitation during aeration resulting in shearing of floc
Ineffective final clarification: inadequate rate of return sludge,
excessive overflow rate or solids loading, or hydraulic

Wastewater Treatment 100

Figure 2.53 Schematic of settling regions for activated sludge.

Wastewater Treatment 101

Types of Settling: On the basis of the concentration and the
tendency of particles to interact, four types of settling can occur:
a) Discrete particle (type 1): Refers to the sedimentation of
particles in a suspension of low solids concentration. Particles
settle as individual entities, and there is no significant interaction
with neighboring particles. {Removes grit and sand particles from
b)Flocculant (type 2): Refers to a rather dilute suspension of
particles that coalesce, or flocculate, during the sedimentation
operation. By coalescing, the particles increase the mass and settle
at a faster rate {Removes a portion of the suspended solids in
untreated wastewater in primary settling facilities, and in upper
portion of secondary settling facilities. Also removes chemical floc
in settling tanks}.
c) Hindered (zone or type 3): Refers to suspension of
intermediate concentration, in which inter particle forces are
sufficient to hinder the settling of neighbouring particles. The
particles tend to remain in fixed positions with respective to each
other, and the mass of particles settles as a unit. A solids-liquid
interface develops at the top of the settling mass. {occurs in
secondary settling facilities used in conjunction with biological
treatment facilities}.
d) Compression (type 4): Refers to settling in which the particles
are of such concentration that a structure is formed, and further
settling can occur only by compression of the structure.
Compression takes place from the weight of the particles, which
are constantly being added to the structure by sedimentation from
the supernatant. {Usually occurs in the lower layers of a deep
sludge mass, such as in the bottom of deep secondary settling
facilities and in sludge-thickening facilities}.

Wastewater Treatment 102

Column Test (ASTM/ASCE/WEF)

1. Column diameter > 15 cm

2. Column depth > 300 cm of liquid

3. Sampling ports @ max 60 cm intervals (30 cm recommended.)

4. Uniform suspension of liquid/solids

5. Uniform temperature

6. Quiescent water

7. Up to 3 hours

Wastewater Treatment 103

Example (Example 10.8, Text)

Two circular final clarifiers of the type shown in Figure 2.56, with
100-ft diameter and 12-ft side-water depth, are provided for an
activated-sludge plant designed to treat 12.5 mgd. Calculate the
overflow rate and detention time based on design flow. If the
aeration tank is operated at a mixed-liquor suspended-solids
concentration of 4000 mg/L and a recirculation ratio of 0.5,
calculate the solids loading on the clarifier.

Surface area of clarifiers = 2  (50)2 = 15, 700 ft2
Volume of clarifiers = 15,700  12  7.48 = 1, 410, 000 gal
Overflow rate =  800 gpd / ft 2 (32m3/m2  d)
1,410,000  24
Detention time = = 2.7 hr
Flow from the aeration tank to the clarifier with a recirculation
ratio of 0.5 equals 1.5  12.5 = 18.8 mgd.

18.8  4000  8.34

Solids loading = = 40 lb/ft2/day (195 kg/m2  d)

Wastewater Treatment 104

Secondary/Final Settling
Aka clarification.

 Follows all secondary, aerobic treatment units.

 Removes sloughed solids from T.F.’s, MLVSS from all types
of activated sludge processes, etc.
 Designed according to GLUMRB standards:
i. Overflow rate: >800 gpd/ft2 (33 m3/m2-d).
ii. td = 2 to 4 hr (usually < 3hr).
iii. Minimum SWD = 8’ (2.4 m). 10’ (3.1 m) for FC of
AS. Note : Ex. Prob 10-8, Viessman & Hammer.
iv. Solids loading: 40-60lb/ft2/d (200-290 kg/m2/d)
 Classified as Type III or Interface or Zone settling (Ref.:
Metcalf & Eddy, 4th Ed., p. 361-384).
o Intermediate concentration of particles.
o Interface settling (line of separation develops
between particles & fluid).
o Particles settle as structure or ―zone.‖
o Includes extremes of Type II (hindered settling) and
Type IV (compression settling).

Figure 2.54 Final Clarifier Profile.

Wastewater Treatment 105

 Such a thick, flocculent suspension must be settled out in
a batch process, using a conventional settling column.
 Must plot the position of the ―interface vs time,‖ starting
at t=0, following pattern shown Figure 2-55.
 During ―interface‖ settling, actually realize all 4 types of
settling simultaneously, i.e.:
o upper zone of clarified liquid,
o second zone of hindered settling (Type II),
o transition zone  key for design,
o compression zone at the bottom.

Design Approach

 Surface area of clarifier must be determined for

continuous-flow treatment.
 Surface area is a function of:
a) clarification capacity,
b) thickening capacity.
 From Fig 2-55 (course notes, p.109), can get both
 Larger of the two numbers = Design Surface Area.

Wastewater Treatment 106

 Clarification Area
Ac  (23)
Ac = surface area of settling zone
Qo = flow rate for liquid portion only, and is
proportional to the volume above the sludge
Ho  Hu
= Q  (note that Q0 < Q, always)
Vs = subsidence rate in the zone of hindered
settling = slope AB in Figure 2-55

 Thickening Area
Q tu
AT  (24)
Q = volumetric flow rate into the basin
AT = surface area of settling zone
Ho depth of fluid in settling column (= initial
interface height).
tu = time to reach desired underflow or sludge
concentration at the bottom, Cu

Wastewater Treatment 107

 How to get tu?
a) Find Hu from
HU  (25)

where Co = initial solids conc., mg/L

Cu = desired underflow conc., mg/L; e.g.
20,000 mg/L or so.

b) Draw tangent at C2 (refer to Fig 2-55).

c) Drop perpendicular from point of intersection of

Hu and C2 tangent = tu.

 How to find C2?

o C2 is a point on the transition curve and is known as
the ―critical concentration point.‖

a) Draw tangents for AB and DC portions of the

interface settling curve (Fig. 2-55).

b) Bisect the angle between the two tangents.

c) Extend bisector back to the settling curve = pt C2

(as per Fig. 2-55).

Wastewater Treatment 108

Figure 2.55 Graphical Representation of interface height versus time for a batch-settling test.
Source: After W.P. Tamadge and E.B Fitch, “Determining Thickener Unit Areas.” Ind. Eng.
Chem., 47 (1955).

AB = Contributes for clarification – hindered (zone) settling (type III).

CD = Contributes for compression – type IV.
C2 = Critical concentration point.
Hu = Interface height for the desired underflow concentration SS.
tu = Time to reach the desired underflow concentration SS

Wastewater Treatment 109


Proper design of the final/secondary clarifier must satisfy 3

1. Clarification capacity (area) needed for hindered
2. Thickening capacity (area) needed to ―remove‖ solids
in transition, into the sludge zone at the bottom.
3. Non-excessive detention time, td, or the bottom,
thickened sludge may turn septic/anaerobic
(producing gas and causing rising sludge).

Wastewater Treatment 110

Figure 2.56 Final clarifier designed for use with activated-sludge processes. Return sludge is
withdrawn through suction (uptake) pipes located along the collector arm for rapid return to
the aeration tank. Sludge flowing from each pipe can be observed in the sight well. (Courtesy
of Walker Process Equipment, Division of McNish Corporation.

Wastewater Treatment 111

2.4.7 Sludge Processing/Treatment

 Viessman & Hammer, Chap 13.

 45 – 55 % of total costs.
 Primary sludge  processed by anaerobic digestion.
 Secondary sludge  processed by aerobic digestion or
combined with primary sludge and digested anaerobically.
 Sludge (odorous & putrescible) must be further processed
and reduced in volume before land disposal, incineration

Basic Sludge Characteristics (Municipal Wastewater)

Raw Primary
 Grey in colour.
 Very high in suspended organics.
 60-80% volatile.
 Usually aim for 4-6% thickened product, prior to
digestion – thus, may need separate thickener.

e.g. Lions Gate Plant: raw primary clarifier sludge is settled

to a concentration of 2-3%, then pumped to separate
thickener, with a target concentration of 4½-5%.

N.B. 1% solids = 10,000 mg/L

Wastewater Treatment 112

Raw Secondary – examples

1. Trickling Filter  Dark brown (oxidized).

 Non-odorous, usually.
 Very flocculent, sloughed solids.
 70-80% volatile.
 Can settle to concentration of 4-5%.

2. Activated Sludge  Dark brown (oxidized).

 MLVSS is very flocculent.
 70-80% volatile & non-odorous.
 High water content, slow to settle
and will settle to only 2%, or so.

Both sludges will turn septic ( lack of O2,  anaerobic and

malodourous) very quickly if allowed to sit around too long –
because of high bacterial presence.

Anaerobically-Digested Sludge

 Very thick, slurry-like material, @ 6-12% solids

 Very dark, almost black in colour (septic).
 Odorous, with entrained gases of CH4, CO2, H2S.
 Collected CH4 can be used to create electricity for plant
equipment (e.g. Lions Gate).
 Will dewater relatively easily (advantage).
 Residue is still 30-60% volatile.
 Up to 45% solids reduction.

Wastewater Treatment 113

Table 2.18 Processes for Storage, Treatment, and Disposing of
Wastewater Sludges

Storage prior to processing

In the primary clarifiers
Separate holding tanks
Sludge lagoons
Thickening prior to dewatering or digestion
Gravity settling in tanks
Gravity belt thickening
Dissolved-air flotation
Conditioning prior to dewatering
Stabilization by anaerobic digestion
Stabilization by aerobic digestion
Chemical coagulation
Heat treatment or wet oxidation
Mechanical dewatering
Belt filter pressure filtration
Plate-and-frame pressure filtration
Vacuum filtration
Air drying of digested sludge
Sand drying beds
Shallow lagoons
Disposal of liquid or dewatered digested sludge
Spreading as biosolids on agricultural land
Application on dedicated surface disposal site
Disposal of dewatered raw or digested solids
Codisposal in municipal solid-waste landfill
Burial in dedicated sludge landfill
Production of bagged fertilizer and soil conditioner

Wastewater Treatment 114

Figure 2.57 Typical sludge-handling scheme for a trickling-filter plant serving a community of
fewer than 10,000 people.

Figure 2.58 Common disposal methods for waste-activated sludge from small treatment plants
without settling prior to aeration.

Wastewater Treatment 115

Figure 2.59 Alternative schemes for processing activated-sludge plant wastes by thickening in
advance of conditioning and dewatering. (a) Separate thickening of waste-activated sludge
before mixing with primary sludge. (b) Gravity thickening of combined raw primary and
waste-activated sludges.

Wastewater Treatment 116

Figure 2.60 Schematic diagram of a dissolved-air flotation system.

Wastewater Treatment 117

Figure 2.61 Gravity belt thickener. Sludge feed after polymer injection overflows a retention
tank onto the porous belt for gravity drainage. Elements positioned close to the belt open
channels for free drainage and to decelerate the agglomerated sludge solids. The thickened
sludge slurry is released from the belt by a discharge blade. Source: Courtesy of Komline-
Sanderson, Peapack, NJ.

Wastewater Treatment 118

Figure 2.62 Two-belt filter press with a gravity drainage zone, wedge zone, and high-pressure
zone. Source: Courtesy of Komline-Sanderson, Peapack, NJ.

Wastewater Treatment 119

Figure 2.63 Diagrams illustrating the operating principle of a solid-bowl decanter centrifuge.
(a) The bowl represents a clarifier with defined surface area and retention time with overflow
weirs. (b) The bottom of the clarifier is wrapped around a centerline to form a bowl that
rotates to increase the gravitational force for sedimentation. (c) The liquid flows through the
long narrow channel formed by the helical screw conveyor against the bowl and out over the
weirs. (d) as the liquid discharge flows out over the weir (adjustable dam plate), the settled
solids are moved by the conveyor out of the liquid onto a conical drainage area for dewatering
prior to discharge. Source: Courtesy of Alfa Laval Sharples, Alfa Laval Separation Inc.

Wastewater Treatment 120

Figure 2.64 Solid-bowl decanter centrifuge. Source: Courtesy of Alfa Laval Sharples, Alfa
Lava Separation Inc.

Wastewater Treatment 121

Aerobically-Digested Sludge

 Thick slurry, 6-8% solids concentration.

 Dark brown (oxidized), flocculent material.
 Has little odour and can be used as a fertilizer, due to
nitrogen and phosphorus content (e.g. GVRD fertilizer
product ―Nutrifor‖ is sludge; applications are subject to
limitation due to potential of contamination from toxins &
heavy metals).
 Difficult & expensive to dewater and thicken further,
because of high water content (may need special organic
 Residue still 30-60% volatile.

 Most digested sludge is further ―mechanically dewatered‖
before final disposal.
 Aim for 25-35% ―sludge cake‖ density, even if polymers
have to be used.

Wastewater Treatment 122

Anaerobic Digestion
(p. 681 Viessman & Hammer)
 A two-stage process (see Fig 2-66)
 Very temperature (min. 30-35°C) & pH dependent (6.7-
7.4; min 6.2)
o See Table 13.7, Viessman & Hammer for reference.
 Trouble signs (i.e., failure of process)
1. Buildup in organic acids – < 800 mg/L; max 2000
2. Decrease in gas production.
3. Drop in % CH4 or increase % in % CO2.
4. Drop in pH.
 Disadvantage: start-up of an anaerobic digester is a
long/difficult process, especially after an ―upset‖ (~3-5
 off gas:
 65-70% CH4.
 30-35% CO2 (max 40% tolerated).
 <5% for H2S, H2, N2, NH3, etc.
 Typical gas production: 16-18 ft3 total gas/lb VSS
destroyed. (x 0.0624 = m3/kg)
 Supernatant decanted and returned to head of plant.

Wastewater Treatment 123

Figure 2.65 Schematic diagram of the patterns of carbon flow in anaerobic digestion.

Wastewater Treatment 124

Reaction Rates:

In comparison:
1st Step – slower
2nd Step – faster

2nd Step


1st step

Figure 2.66 Sequential mechanism of anaerobic waste treatment.

Wastewater Treatment 125

Types of Digesters

1. Single stage, standard rate.

2. Single stage, high rate.
3. 2-stage system.

 Refer to Figs. 2-73 and 2-74, attached (from EPA Design

 Note – can have ―fixed‖ or ―floating‖ covers, but the must
be air-tight; e.g. Lions Gate Plant.

Figure 2.67 Lions Gate WWTP sealed anaerobic digester (centre), next to a CH4 storage tank.

Wastewater Treatment 126

Figure 2.68 Cross-sectional diagram of a floating-cover anaerobic digester.

Wastewater Treatment 127

Figure 2.69 High-rate digester-mixing systems. (a) Mechanical mixing. (b) Gas mixing using a
series of gas discharge pipes. (c) Gas mixing using a central draft tube. (d) Gas mixing using
diffusers mounted on the tank bottom.

Wastewater Treatment 128

Figure 2.70 Sketch of a two-stage anaerobic digestion system. (a) The first stage is a
completely mixed high-rate digester with a fixed cover. The second stage is a thickening and
storage tank covered with a dome for collecting and storing gas. (b) Photograph of two-stage
digesters. (Lincoln, NE.)

Wastewater Treatment 129

Figure 2.71 Typical reactor configurations used in anaerobic wastewater treatment (Metcalf
& Eddy, 2003)].

Wastewater Treatment 130

Figure 2.72

Wastewater Treatment 131

Aerobic Digestion
(p. 690 Viessman & Hammer)

 Purpose is to stabilize waste sludge via ―long-term‖

aeration, thus reducing BOD & destroying VSS.
 Similar to completely-mixed, activated sludge but longer
detention times (td ~ 15-25 days).
 process theory:
o = oxidation of residual organics (i.e. original BOD5)
+ cellular endogenous respiration.
o i.e. cell mass + O2  CO2 + H2O + H+ + P + NH3,
where NH3 is oxidized to NO3-,  pH decreases.

Wastewater Treatment 132

Figure 2.73 Standard rate and high-rate digestion. Source: EPA Design Manual.

Wastewater Treatment 133

Figure 2.74 Two-stage anaerobic digestion. Source: EPA Design Manual

Primary objectives:
1. Clear supernatant.
2. Sludge thickening
3. Better efficiency

Wastewater Treatment 134

 Need O2 for both aerobic metabolism and mixing of tank
but ―mixing power‖ & energy‖ usually controls the
air design.
 End product has good potential as a fertilizer (much better
quality, usually, than primary and/or anaerobically
digested sludge).
but usage factor ―governed by‖ and ―regulated for‖
1. Final metal content.
2. Pathogen survival/regrowth potential.
3. Proposed usage area and application rates.
4. Risk of groundwater contamination.

 Pathogen-free or sterilized sludge is usually achieved by

―liming‖ to pH 10-11 or through further thermophilic
digestion, @ 50-60°C for 5 to 10 days.
 Digesters usually operated on a ―semi-batch‖ basis, with
once/twice per day feeding; supernatant is decanted and
returned to the head of the plant.

Wastewater Treatment 135

Table 2.19 General Conditions for Sludge Digestion

Optimum 98F (37C)
General range of operation 85 - 95F (29 - 35C)
Optimum 7.0 – 7.1
General limits 6.7 – 7.4
Gas production
Per pound of volatile solids added 8 – 12 ft3 (230 – 340 L)
Per pound of volatile solids destroyed 16 – 18 ft3 (450 – 510 L)
Gas composition
Methane 65% – 69%
Carbon Dioxide 31% - 35%
Hydrogen sulphide Trace
Volatile acids concentration as acetic
Normal operation 200-800 mg/l
Maximum Approx. 2000 mg/l
Alkalinity concentrations as CaCo3
Normal operation 2000 - 3500 mg/l
Minimum solids retention times
Single-stage digestion 25 d
High-rate digestion 15 d
Volatile solids reduction
Single-stage digestion 50% - 70%
High-rate digestion 50%

Wastewater Treatment 136