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Your Aerobic Treatment System is part of the Family. Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Overview. Wastewater flows to the treatment system. All system have two loading rates. How much water do you use (hydraulic loading)? How much waste do you generate (organic loading)?

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Your aerobic treatment system is part of the family l.jpg

Your Aerobic Treatment System is part of the Family

Texas AgriLife Extension Service

Overview l.jpg

  • Wastewater flows to the treatment system.

  • All system have two loading rates.

  • How much water do you use (hydraulic loading)?

  • How much waste do you generate (organic loading)?

  • How activities in the home impact the treatment system.

Microbes l.jpg

  • Microbes

    • Provide treatment

    • Must keep them healthy

      • Water

      • Food

      • pH

      • Dissolved Oxygen - DO

      • Temperature

  • Types of Microbes

    • Anaerobic – no DO

    • Aerobic – need DO

    • Facultative – either way

  • Healthy microbes result in happy customers

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What’s in Wastewater?

  • 99.9 % water

  • 0.1 % pollutants or constituents of concern

    • Organics/Inorganics

    • Solids

    • Pathogens

    • Nutrients

    • Fats, oils, grease

    • Metals

    • Persistent organic chemicals

  • Hydraulic and Organic Loading


Hydraulic loading l.jpg
Hydraulic Loading

  • Flow quantity

    • Volume

  • Flow period

    • Daily

    • Weekly

    • Monthly

    • Seasonal

  • Special events

Residential wastewater usage texas 30 tac chapter 285 l.jpg
Residential Wastewater UsageTexas 30 TAC Chapter 285

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Estimating Hydraulic Loading

  • Number of bedrooms

  • Square footage of a facility

  • Water conserving devices

  • Special fixtures

    • Multi-head showers

    • Garden tubs

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Organic Loading

  • BOD – Biochemical Oxygen Demand

  • TSS – Total Suspended Solids

  • FOG – Fats, Oil and Grease

  • Oxygen Demand

  • Oxygen States

Organic material l.jpg
Organic Material

  • Waste from plant or animal sources

  • Can be dissolved, a solid or a liquid

  • Broken down and consumed by microbes (aerobes and anaerobes)

  • As it decays, dissolved oxygen is depleted

Biochemical oxygen demand l.jpg
Biochemical Oxygen Demand

  • Biochemical oxygen demand, or BOD is the amount of oxygen used during the breakdown of organic material

    • Take sample to commercial laboratory

    • Measured as a five-day laboratory test

  • BOD is considered an indirect measure of the organic content of a sample

Biochemical oxygen demand13 l.jpg
Biochemical Oxygen Demand

  • Amount of oxygen consumed by microbes during decomposition of organic matter

  • Indicates overall organic strength of wastewater

  • High BOD5 means high levels of organics

  • Expressed in mg/L (ppm)

  • Domestic wastewater ranges from 100 to 300 mg/L BOD5

Oxygen demand l.jpg
Oxygen Demand

  • The oxygen demand is the amount of oxygen required to aerobically oxidize a material

    • Aerator delivers the oxygen to meet demand

  • Organic material

  • Nitrogen

  • Other compounds

  • Water (low DO)

Oxygen states l.jpg
Oxygen States

  • Dissolved oxygen

    • Free O2

    • Oxygen that has been incorporated into water

    • Many aquatic animals require it for their survival

  • Bound oxygen

    • Attached to other compounds, NO3

    • Anaerobic microbes break oxygen bonds

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Wastewater Loading Rates

Goldstein and Moberg, 1973

Mass loading (lbs) = # people (4) x BOD loading (0.23 lbs/cap/day) = 0.92 lbs/day

Feeding the system l.jpg
Feeding the System

  • Water – Hydraulic load

    • Flow volume, gpd

    • Flow rate, gpm or gph

    • Appropriately sized system

  • Food – Organic load

    • BOD

      • Concentration, mg/L

      • Mass, Pounds per day

      • Appropriately sized system

  • Food to Microorganism Ratio - Consistency

  • Other Compounds

Impacts on feeding atu by water use l.jpg
Impacts on Feeding ATU by Water Use

  • Effects on hydraulic loading

    • Whirlpool tubs

    • Water treatment devices

    • Clear water

    • Dishwasher

    • Laundry

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Whirlpool Tubs

  • Use large volumes of water

  • Add hydraulic surges

  • New larger capacities can be greater than the design flow for the home

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Clear Water Flows

  • Water Treatment Devices

    • Water Softeners

    • Reverse Osmosis

    • Other?

  • Other Flow

    • Condensate - AC

    • Ice Machines

    • Basement drains

    • Footing drains

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Water Softeners

  • DIR – Demand Initiated Regeneration

    • September 1, 2003 – date requiring - DIR

  • May bypass the pretreatment component.

  • Connect directly to the pump tank.

  • Must go through a p-trap

Reverse osmosis l.jpg

Point of Use

Under the sink

Connect to OSSF

No upgrade required

Point of Entry

Whole house system

Greater volume

Need to add to size of OSSF

Reverse Osmosis

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Laundry - 20% of Flow

  • Use should be spread out

  • Liquid soap is recommended

    • Use less

    • Remove risk of fillers in powders

Dishwasher l.jpg

  • Adds surges of wastewater

    • Hydraulically overload system

    • Homeowner should space out loads

  • Organic load

    • Clean/Scrape dishes

Impacts on feeding atu by organics l.jpg
Impacts on Feeding ATU by Organics

  • Effects on organic strength (loading)

    • Water-saving devices

    • Garbage disposal

    • Using wastewater system as a trash can.

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Water Conserving Fixtures

  • Water Saving Devices

    • 60 gallons/person/day

  • Reduce Flow (lower hydraulic loading)

  • Increase strength (same organic loading unless change of habits)

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Garbage Disposal

  • Increases total solids: scum, sludge

  • System should be pumped 1-2 years sooner than without a garbage disposal

  • Increases Organic Loading

    • Organic matter had not been digested, so it will take longer to break down

    • More water is used to wash out sink

    • Smaller particles will take longer to settle

    • Potential for fats and oils

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Impacts by Feeding System

  • General Adverse Effects

    • Prescription antibiotics and drugs

    • Bath and body oils

    • In-home businesses

    • Antibacterial soap

    • Chemicals

    • Cleaners

    • Trash and non-digestible material

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Prescription Drugs and Antibiotics

  • Can kill microbes living in system

    • Won’t discriminate against organisms living in the system

  • Additional treatment components may be necessary

  • Increase maintenance

Bath and body oils l.jpg
Bath and Body Oils

  • Increases FOG

  • If usage is great, may need more maintenance

In home businesses hobbies l.jpg

Add stronger waste

Add chemicals

Increase flow

Examples of Businesses:

Home photography developing lab

Barber shops

Day care


Dog grooming



In-Home Businesses/Hobbies

Hand washing soap l.jpg
Hand Washing Soap

  • Antibacterial soap affects biology of tank

  • Liquid soaps tend to be overused

Chemicals l.jpg

  • All problems

  • Kill microbes

  • Upset system

Appliances and cleaning products l.jpg
Appliances and Cleaning Products

  • Look at Labels!

  • DANGER;Means the chemical will kill the bacteria, and its use should be minimized or eliminated

  • WARNING; Means limited use should have a minimal impact on the system.

  • CAUTION: Typically means the product will have little effect.

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Septic System Additives

  • Not been proven to be beneficial to system performance

  • Not recommended

  • Break up particles that are settled at the bottom and make them suspended

  • Potential solids loading to downstream components

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Cleaning Products

  • List commonly used brands

    • Cleaning

    • Antibacterial

  • They have cumulative effects on system performance

Drain cleaner l.jpg
Drain Cleaner

  • Toxic drain cleaners can impact ability to properly treat wastewater

  • Affect bacteria activity

Toilet cleaning l.jpg
Toilet Cleaning

  • Product brand

  • Automatic cleaners

    • Not recommended

    • Continual impact causes long-term problems

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Toilet Paper

  • Number of rolls used per week

  • Results in faster sludge build up

  • Treated toilet paper (with lotions) prevents paper from settling

  • Wet wipe disposal is discouraged

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Bathroom - 60% of Flow

  • Only urine, feces, soap, toilet paper and limited amounts of cleaner should be going down drain

  • No feminine products, prophylactics, cigarette butts, etc

  • No every-flush toilet bowl sanitizers or every shower cleaner

Feeding the system41 l.jpg
Feeding the System

If it will hurt the system,

don’t let it go down the drain!

Extended absences l.jpg
Extended Absences

  • No or low flows for an extended period of time

  • Low or no microbial activity

  • Caution needs to be used upon return

Summary l.jpg

  • Wastewater flows to the treatment system.

  • All systems have two loading rates.

  • How much water do you use (hydraulic loading)?

  • How much waste do you generate (organic loading)?

  • How activities in the home impact the treatment system.