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Process air |

Sludge recycle Outlet t

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Fig. 11.5. Deep-shaft effluent treatment plant (Hemming et al., 1977).

An example of the closed system is the UNOX Process developed by the Union Carbide Corporation in the U.S.A., and marketed in the U.K. by Wimpey Unox (Fig. 11.6). The enclosed oxygenation tank is compartmentalized by baffles. Settled wastewater and returned sludge are fed into the first stage and oxygen pumped into the headspace. The oxygen and wastewater move sequentially through the compartments, and the oxygen concentration in the gas phase decreases in each stage as it is consumed by the micro-organisms. As the nutrient concentration also falls stage by stage, oxygen supply and demand is balanced. Organic loading rates (when treating municiple wastewater) are 3-4 times higher than those of aerated systems at 2.5-4.0 kg BOD m 5 day"1. Pure oxygen systems also have shorter residence times and produce less sludge with better settling qualities than conventional systems. The UNOX process has been successfully used for the treatment of brewery wastewaters containing 2000 mg BOD dm ~3 at flow rates of 2269 m3 day"1 with a 6.6 hour retention time (Brooking et al., 1990).

The VITOX aeration system (Fig. 11.7) developed by the British Oxygen Company is an example of an open tank oxygenation system. Its main advantage is that it can be used in existing aeration tanks either to replace or upgrade conventional aeration without the need to replace or modify existing units. Oxygenation is achieved by pumping settled wastewater at high pressure through a venturi where oxygen is injected. Turbulence and high pressures thus created ensure high levels of oxygen dissolution. The flexibility of this system means that it is particularly useful for the treatment of high strength intermittently produced wastewaters such as those generated by food processing industries (Gostick et al., 1990).

Anaerobic treatment

Anaerobic treatment of waste organic materials originated with the use of septic tanks and Imhoff tanks, which have now been replaced by a variety of high-rate digesters (Pohland and Ghosh, 1971). Loehr (1968) has listed the following reasons for using anaerobic processes for waste treatment:

1. Higher loading rates can be achieved than are possible for aerobic treatment techniques.

2. Lower power requirements may be needed per unit of BOD treated.

3. Useful end-products such as digested sludge and/or combustible gases may be produced.

4. Organic matter is metabolized to a stable form.

5. There is an alteration of water-binding characteristics to permit rapid sludge dewatering.

6. The reduced amount of microbial biomass leads to easier handling of sludge.

7. Low levels of microbial growth will decrease the possible need for supplementary nutrients with nutritionally unbalanced wastes.

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