How is Aeration Used in Wastewater Treatment?
Wastewater treatment is a multistep process that uses a combination of mechanical filters and biological processes that help break the wastewater, or influent, down into more manageable components. Aeration is a vital component in that process of the influent and helps stimulate the growth of oxygen-using bacteria.
Preliminary Wastewater Treatment – Filtering
As the wastewater is collected from street runoffs, homes, and businesses, the influent passes through several filters that help collect debris such as rags, bottles, sticks, cans, and other solid material. Eventually, the wastewater arrives at the treatment plant several stories below in the screening chamber. From here, the influent is pumped up to the main level of the sewage treatment plant.
Primary Wastewater Treatment – Separation
Next, the wastewater enters primary settling tanks, also called sedimentation tanks. Here, the wastewater will sit for one to two hours, allowing heavier elements to sink to the bottom, and lighter elements to float to the top. The surface is skimmed to collect the lighter material. The settled solids, called primary sludge, are then pumped through cyclone degritters. These degritters use centrifugal force to help separate out sand, grit, and gravel.
Secondary Wastewater Treatment – Aeration
This is the step in the wastewater treatment process that uses aeration to help further break down the wastewater. Air and “seed” sludge from the previous treatment step are added to the wastewater. Air is pumped into large aeration tanks which mixes the wastewater and seed sludge. This process stimulates the growth of oxygen-using bacteria and other tiny organisms that are naturally present in the sewage. Most of the remaining organic materials is consumed by these beneficial microorganisms, producing heavier particles that will settle to the bottom. The aerated wastewater then moves to another set of holding tanks where the heavier particles formed from the aeration process will settle to the bottom.
After the aeration process and the remaining sludge has been removed, the filtered wastewater must now be disinfected before returning to local streams and lakes. The wastewater will must spend a minimum of 15-20 minutes in chlorine-contact tanks to kill any remaining harmful bacteria or organisms. From here, the treated wastewater, now called effluent, is released to local waterways such as streams and lakes. Now the water may be cleansed and purified by nature’s own processes.
The Genesis Aerator from Louk’s Engineering is the nation’s premiere aeration unit that is innovative and affordable. Louk’s solar-powered circulation equipment may be used for wastewater treatment and fresh water applications. Genesis delivers energy-saving power to effectively aerate wastewater, supplying the oxygen needed for microorganisms to break down and remove organic materials.
Call Louk’s Engineering today at 952.994.1703 to learn how the Genesis Aerator can improve your wastewater treatment facility, or be used for your lake or pond.