On-site wastewater treatment can help industrial processing plants do more with less. Achieve environmental and economic sustainability by recovering valuable resources such as clean water, power, and nutrients from wastewater.

Biological wastewater treatment uses naturally-occurring microorganisms to feed on complex organic matter, converting them into simpler substances. This type of treatment is divided into two broad categories:

Anaerobic Treatment: Also known as anaerobic digestion (AD), anaerobic treatment is an energy-efficient process in which microorganisms convert organic matter into biogas in the absence of oxygen.

Aerobic Treatment: With aerobic treatment, microorganisms convert organics into carbon dioxide and new biomass in the presence of oxygen. These systems can act as stand-alone systems, or polish anaerobically pretreated wastewater.

The chart below provides general guidelines of how anaerobic treatment and aerobic treatment differ.

  Anaerobic Aerobic
  • Ideal for medium and highly concentrated wastewaters
  • Better for warm wastewater
    (> 20°C)
  • Best for wastewaters with lower concentrations of organics
  • Often used after primary treatment
  • Suitable for hot or cold wastewater
  • Typically low effluent values can only be obtained with additional aerobic polishing
  • No significant nitrogen or phosphorous removal
  • Low effluent values can be attained
  • Nitrogen and phosphorous removal possible
  • Valuable, money-saving biogas
  • Very little excess sludge production
  • A lot of excess sludge
  • Low operating costs:
    • Low power consumption
    • Low or no nutrient addition
    • Low excess waste sludge
  • High operating costs:
    • Requires aeration (power)
    • Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous)
    • Sludge disposal handling

Many factors come into play when selecting or upgrading wastewater treatment technology, including:

  • Type of wastewater
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Operating conditions
  • Site space limitations
  • Ease of operation
  • Economics

A good starting point when selecting an on-site wastewater treatment system is to analyze organic and nutrient concentration, flow rate, and the temperature of the wastewater. Then decide how much your plant is willing to spend on operational costs such as sludge handling and power consumption.

To determine the best technology for your wastewater treatment needs:

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