Sewage Treatment Plant ¬


The sequencing batch reactor (SBR) process is a sequential suspended growth (activated sludge) process in which all major steps occur in the same tank in sequential order.

The SBR system is typically found in packaged configurations for onsite and small community or cluster applications. The major components of the package include the batch tank, aerator, mixer, decanter device, process control system (including timers), pumps, piping, and appurtenances. Aeration may be provided by diffused air or mechanical devices. SBRs are often sized to provide mixing as well and are operated by the process control timers. Mechanical aerators have the added value of potential operation as mixers or aerators. The decanter is a critical element in the process. Several decanter configurations are available, including fixed and floating units. At least one commercial package employs a thermal processing step for the excess sludge produced and wasted during the "idle" step. The key to the SBR process is the control system, which consists of a combination of level sensors, timers, and microprocessors. Programmable logic controller scan be configured to suit the owner's needs. This provides a precise and versatile means of control.

SBR reactors treat waste water such as sewage or output from anaerobic digesters or mechanical biological treatment facilities in batches. Oxygen is bubbled through the waste water to reduce biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) to make suitable for discharge into sewers or for use on land.

There are five stages to treatment:
1. Fill
2. React
3. Settle
4. Decant
5. Idle

Aeration of the mixed liquor is performed during the first two stages by the use of fixed or floating mechanical pumps or by transferring air into fine bubble diffusers fixed to the floor of the tank. During this period the inlet valve to the tank is open and a returned activated sludge pump takes mixed liquid and solids (mixed liquor) from the outlet end of the tank to the inlet. This "seeds" the incoming sewage with live bacteria.

Aeration times vary according to the plant size and the composition/quantity of the incoming liquor, but are typically 60 - 90 minutes. The addition of oxygen to the liquor encourages the multiplication of aerobic bacteria and they consume the nutrients. This process encourages the conversion of nitrogen from its reduced ammonia form to oxidized nitrite and nitrate forms, a process known as nitrification.

To remove phosphorus compounds from the liquor aluminium sulfate (alum) is often added during this period. It reacts to form non-soluble compounds, which settle into the sludge in the next stage.[1]

The settling stage is usually the same length in time as the aeration. During this stage the sludge formed by the bacteria is allowed to settle to the bottom of the tank. The aerobic bacteria continue to multiply until the dissolved oxygen is all but used up. Conditions in the tank, especially near the bottom are now more suitable for the anaerobic bacteria to flourish. Many of these, and some of the bacteria which would prefer an oxygen environment, now start to use oxidized nitrogen instead of oxygen gas(as an alternate terminal electron acceptor) and convert the nitrogen to a gaseous state, as nitrogen oxides or, ideally, dinitrogen gas. This is known as denitrification.

As the bacteria multiply and die, the sludge within the tank increases over time and a waste activated sludge pump removes some of the sludge during the settle stage to a digester for further treatment. The quantity or "age" of sludge within the tank is closely monitored, as this can have a marked effect on the treatment process.

The sludge is allowed to settle until clear water is on the top 20%-30% of the tank contents.

The decanting stage most commonly involves the slow lowering of a scoop or "trough" into the basin. This has a piped connection to a lagoon where the final effluent is stored for disposal to a wetland, tree growing lot, ocean outfall, or to be further treated for use on parks, golf courses etc.