Excess Sludge Wasting
The items for consideration in the design of activated sludge plant are aeration tank capacity and dimensions, aeration facilities, secondary sludge settling and recycle and excess sludge wasting.
The volume of aeration tank is calculated for the selected value of qc by assuming a suitable value of MLSS concentration, X.
VX = YQqc(SO - S)
Alternately, the tank capacity may be designed from
F/M = QSO / XV
Hence, the first step in designing is to choose a suitable value of qc (or F/M) which depends on the expected winter temperature of mixed liquor, the type of reactor, expected settling characteristics of the sludge and the nitrification required. The choice generally lies between 5 days in warmer climates to 10 days in temperate ones where nitrification is desired alongwith good BOD removal, and complete mixing systems are employed.
The second step is to select two interrelated parameters HRT, t and MLSS concentration. It is seen that economy in reactor volume can be achieved by assuming a large value of X. However, it is seldom taken to be more than 5000 g/m3. For typical domestic sewage, the MLSS value of 2000-3000 mg/l if conventional plug flow type aeration system is provided, or 3000-5000 mg/l for completely mixed types. Considerations which govern the upper limit are: initial and running cost of sludge recirculation system to maintain a high value of MLSS, limitations of oxygen transfer equipment to supply oxygen at required rate in small reactor volume, increased solids loading on secondary clarifier which may necessitate a larger surface area, design criteria for the tank and minimum HRT for the aeration tank.
The length of the tank depends upon the type of activated sludge plant. Except in the case of extended aeration plants and completely mixed plants, the aeration tanks are designed as long narrow channels. The width and depth of the aeration tank depends on the type of aeration equipment employed. The depth control the aeration efficiency and usually ranges from 3 to 4.5 m. The width controls the mixing and is usually kept between 5 to 10 m. Width-depth ratio should be adjusted to be between 1.2 to 2.2. The length should not be less than 30 or not ordinarily longer than 100 m.
Oxygen is reqiured in the activated sludge process for the oxidation of a part of the influent organic matter and also for the endogenous respiration of the micro-organisms in the system. The total oxygen requirement of the process may be formulated as follows:
O2 required (g/d) = Q(SO - S) - 1.42 QwXr
where, f = ratio of BOD5 to ultimate BOD and 1.42 = oxygen demand of biomass (g/g)
The formula does not allow for nitrification but allows only for carbonaceous BOD removal.
The aeration facilities of the activated sludge plant are designed to provide the calculated oxygen demand of the wastewater against a specific level of dissolved oxygen in the wastewater.
Secondary settling tanks, which receive the biologically treated flow undergo zone or compression settling. Zone settling occurs beyond a certain concentration when the particles are close enough together that interparticulate forces may hold the particles fixed relative to one another so that the whole mass tends to settle as a single layer or "blanket" of sludge. The rate at which a sludge blanket settles can be determined by timing its position in a settling column test whose results can be plotted as shown in figure.
Compression settling may occur at the bottom of a tank if particles are in such a concentration as to be in physical contact with one another. The weight of particles is partly supported by the lower layers of particles, leading to progressively greater compression with depth and thickening of sludge. From the settling column test, the limiting solids flux required to reach any desired underflow concentration can be estimated, from which the rquired tank area can be computed.
The solids load on the clarifier is estimated in terms of (Q+R)X, while the overflow rate or surface loading is estimated in terms of flow Q only (not Q+R) since the quantity R is withdrawn from the bottom and does not contribute to the overflow from the tank. The secondary settling tank is particularly sensitive to fluctuations in flow rate and on this account it is recommended that the units be designed not only for average overflow rate but also for peak overflow rates. Beyond an MLSS concentration of 2000 mg/l the clarifier design is often controlled by the solids loading rate rather than the overflow rate. Recommended design values for treating domestic sewage in final clarifiers and mechanical thickeners (which also fall in this category of compression settling) are given in lecture 22.