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Characteristics of sewage: These are high in

Solids: Suspended / dissolved / volatile solids
Organic constituents; e.g. Nitrogen & Phosphorus compounds
BOD: The oxygen used by microorganism to oxidize organics to stable
end products. It is measured as oxygen consumed at 200C for 5 days.

Parameter Weak Medium Strong

Total Suspended Solids (ppm) 100 200 350

Volatile Suspended Solid (ppm) 75 135 210

BOD (ppm) 100 200 400
COD(ppm) 175 300 600
TOC (ppm) 100 200 400
Ammonia (N) ppm 5 10 20
Organic (N) ppm 8 20 40
Phosphate (P) pmm 7 10 20

Sewage treatment process is classified

as follows:
1) Pre-Treatment (Screening & grit removal)
2) Primary Treatment (Chemical &
3) Secondary Treatment (Biological Treatment)
4) Tertiary Treatment (Advanced Treatment)
To separate floating suspended organic &
inorganic matter by physical process
Screens : Used ahead of pumping station. It is
device with opening of uniform size consisting
of parallel bars, rods, gratings , mesh or
perforated plates either circular & rectangular.
Grit Removal:
This is necessary to protect the moving
mechanical equipment & pump elements from
abrasion / wear & tear.
Reducing frequency & time for cleaning of
digesters and settlings tanks.
Grit has sp. gravity 1.5-2.7 whereas organic
matter has sp. Gravity ~1.02. Therefore
separation of grit from organic matter is
achieved by differential sedementation
Primary Treatment
Sedimentation & Chemical precipitation:
Primary sedimentation removes matter contributing
30 45 % of BOD and 45-60 % of suspended solids.
Removal is done by adding coagulants (e.g. alum,
polyelectrolyte). Amount of coagulant to be dosed is
estimated by jar test. On an average 170 ppm of alum
is required in municipal waste water.
Dosing of polyelectrolyte results in coagulation &
flocculation & eventually sedimentation & clarification.
Usually a retention period of 2 hours or more and
overflow rate less than 50 m3/d/m2 is maintained.
Secondary Treatment
It is a biological treatment in which soluble matter is converted to insoluble
matter (CO2 or gas).
Aerobic Anaerobic
Gives high quality effluent & virtually all degradable Is a partial treatment requiring further
matter is converted to sludge or CO2. Requires high treatment for getting high quality effluent.
energy input (for aeration) Generates sludge & methane. Energy input
is low (aeration not reqd)
Consists of Supported type & Suspended growth type Consists of Supported type &
Suspended growth type

Supported growth consists of trickling filters, packed Supported growth consists of anaerobic
towers and rotating contactors. Biomass is adhered to filters & fluidized bed.
a supporting medium & effluent is collected at base
and passed through settling tanks or trickling filters.
Suspended growth type is more widely used. It is also Suspended growth type consists of mixed or
called as activated sludge treatment & basically contact digesters & Up-flow anaerobic
consists of an aeration tank in which feed , biomass sludge blanket in which microorganisms
and oxygen are brought in immediate contact followed develop in dense granules. However
by a settlement tank. 0.5-1 kg of sludge / KG of BOD production of H2S from S compounds &
treated is generated foul odor due to other gases formed during
process are some problem areas.
Activated Sludge Process
Sewage is aerated in aeration tank for few hours.
During this process the microorganism multiply by
assimilating part of influent organic matter. In this
process part of organic matte is oxidized & lead to
lowering of BOD. The biological mass is separated
in secondary settling tank and part is continuously
recycled to aeration tank ( to help build up
concentration of active microorganism accelerating
BOD removal). The mixed liquor suspended solids
(MLSS) content is generally taken as an index of
active microorganism in aeration tank. BOD (5days
at 200 C ) or BOD ( 3 days 270 C ) is calculated to
check the efficiency of BOD removal.
Oxidation Ditch
It is a form of extended aeration system
with an endless tank (long continuous
usually oval) & aeration mechanism. It can
be operated as a settling tank cum
Sometimes intermittent operation like
closing the inlet and aerating the sewage,
stopping the aerators & settling of sludge
is carried out. Generally two ditch shall be
there and the other shall be taken into
service during this period.
Rotating Biological Contractor
Also called the biological disc unit is like a
horizontal biofilter with rotating media. The unit
consists of number of rotating disc (PVC)
partially submerged in semicircular tank
receiving sewage. While rotating they
alternately dip in sewage and later get aerated
when exposed to atmosphere.
Retention time is about 1-1.5 hrs in disc
chamber and around 1 hr in settling basin.
Speed of rotation ~ 5 rpm.
Generally suitable for small or medium level
population i.e. lesser sewage is there & sewage
quality is not poor (Very high BOD, Phosphate,
Nitrogen , TSS etc)
Trickling Filters
Trickling filters consists of permeable bed of
media through sewage is allowed to percolate.
Filter media is broken rock, gravel or inert
synthetic material. Trickling filters are generally
preceded by primary sedimentation. The trickling
filters serves both to oxidize and bioflocculate the
organic matter. A biological slime consisting of
aerobic bacteria and other microorganism builds
around the media surface and organic matter is
absorbed on this slime. As growth & increase in
weight / thickness of slime is there the scouring
(removal) of slime takes place also called
sloughing or unloading of filter. These filters
require minimum supervision, power consumption
but are suitable where least quantity of sewage is
handled (< 5 mld)
Tertiary (Advanced ) Waste water treatment
Nitrification: Converts ammonia to nitrate form,
thus eliminating toxicity to aquatic life & reducing
nitrogenous oxygen demand. This is done by
autotrophic bacteria in suspended growth and
attached growth system. Generally required
when ammonia content in sewage is high
NH3 + O2 NO2 + H+ + H20 + BIOMASS
De nitrification: Convert the nitrate/nitrite form
above to gaseous nitrogen in anaerobic
environment by adding organics like methanol ,
sugar etc.
6NO3 + 5 CH3OH -> 3N2 + CO2+H2O+2OH-
Tertiary waste water treatment
Carbon Adsorption: By using activated
carbon filters
Use of water for industries : By Ion
exchange, Distillation , Reverse osmosis /
Ultrafilteration, Electro dialysis etc
Madras Fertilizers & GMR Vasavi Power
plant are some examples.
Recycling of waste water leads to
ultimately conserving fresh water
Sludge treatment & disposal
The treatment involves the following process
Thickening of sludge by gravity thickening, air
floatation or centrifugation
Sludge dewatering by sludge drying beds, vacuum
filters or centrifugation etc
Sludge disposal involves on or combination of following
Incineration & using residual ash as landfill.
Sludge as fertilizer after mechanized composting with
city refuse.
However sludge from open air drying beds should not
be used on soils where it comes in direct contact with
vegetable. Sludge from drying beds should be
ploughed into soil should be ploughed before raising
Heat dried sludge is safest though deficient in humus