The use of microorganisms in wastewater sewage treatment is nothing new. They have been used for the recovery of nutrients, production of energy and the removal of pollutants and pathogens. This has made it an integral part of the wastewater sewage treatment process.
Although their effectiveness has been proven, the kinds of microbes and how they work is still largely unknown. This makes informed decisions on wastewater sewage treatment management and optimisation particularly challenging. As the current trend leans more towards advanced wastewater sewage treatment facilities that are capable of more than just producing cleaner water and creating a whole suite of sustainable by-products, new ways are needed to maximise the efficiency of the biological aspect of the treatment process.
A team of engineers based at Newent treatment works in the United Kingdom are exploring a novel way of enhancing the productivity of microorganisms during the digestion phase and increasing the output of by-products that can be extracted. To do this, they are developing a new process by passing the sewage through an additional tank that holds thousands of plastic discs.
The discs have a sponge-like texture and are porous consisting of multiple holes. They are roughly around the size of sporting medals. The purpose of the holes is to house as much bacteria as possible and provide them with a platform where they can maximise the digestive process. This would significantly reduce the ammonia and turn it into a more harmless gas.
The discs also increase the surface area that the microbes can operate in, exposing more of it to process the wastewater. This should result in speedier digestion times in a smaller operating area.
Lewis McGregor, one of the project engineers in the trial, explained that the introduction of these sponge-like discs around three months ago have produced fantastic results. The discs provided the microorganisms a greater chance to react with the wastewater, which meant that more can be treated in a shorter time, utilising less space.
“We believe it could make the process of treating sewage much more cost effective and reduce the size of wastewater sewage treatment works in the future, which is a great outcome for everyone”, McGregor said.
Severn Trent, a regional, state-owned wastewater facility, is located in the catchment areas of two of Britain’s largest rivers – the Severn and the Trent, where the company derived its name. It was just one of two locations that have tested this new process and if the results of the trials prove to be successful, it should begin a more expansive rollout throughout the country in the coming years.
The need to produce sustainable products from wastewater is more important than ever. Using natural biological processes makes wastewater sewage treatment not only more affordable but also more environment friendly. To overcome some of the shortcomings of this process, innovative ways need to be created to enhance the course of digestion and streamline the operations of the facility. The use of plastic discs makes this solution scalable because it is easy to manufacture and implement.
If you are a municipality in Ontario and in need of a biosolids management solution, please feel free to contact us at 1 (877) 479-1388.