Biological Wastewater Treatment

A Brief Introduction to Biological Wastewater Treatment

Biological wastewater treatment relies on the natural decomposition of organic substances. This is the reason why this process seems to be simple. However, this complex process is not fully understood at the intersection of biochemistry and biology. In biological wastewater treatment, small organisms such as nematodes and bacteria use normal cellular processes to break down organic wastes. Wastewater contains wastes, garbage, and partially digested foods. It may also contain toxins, heavy metals, and pathogenic organisms. 

This process creates a system that easily collects the results of decomposition for proper disposal. It is more economical and effective than many chemical and mechanical processes.
Biological Wastewater Treatment Is Split in the Following Two Processes:
  • Aerobic process
  • Anaerobic process

Primary treatments such as dissolved air flotation remove substances and sediments from wastewater. Biological wastewater treatment, as a secondary treatment, removes materials left in wastewater after the primary treatment.  

Aerobic Wastewater Treatment

These processes include oxidation ditches and simple septic or aerobic tanks; activated sludge; surface and spray aeration; pond and lagoon-based treatments; trickling filters; and aerobic digestion. A diffused aeration system minimizes odors and maximizes oxygen transfer in wastewater treatment. Organisms such as helpful bacteria get oxygen while decomposing wastewater organic substances.
Aerobic Wastewater Treatment
The activated sludge process is a great example of aerobic wastewater treatment. The activated sludge process is a widely used domestic and industrial wastewater secondary treatment. It treats wastewater with high organic content. This process is used to treat:
  • Wastewater generated by paper mills
  • Wastewater generated by pulp mills
  • Municipal sewage
  • Meat processing and other food-related industries
  • Wastewater with carbon molecules
  • Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment

Anaerobic wastewater treatment, on the other hand, relies on bacteria for the deterioration of organic material. The deterioration occurs in an environment with no oxygen. Anaerobic processes may be used in septic tanks and lagoons. Anaerobic digestion is the best-known anaerobic treatment. This anaerobic wastewater treatment is used to treat effluent from: 

  • Beverage and food manufacturing
  • Chemical effluent
  • Municipal wastewater
  • Agriculture waste

This anaerobic treatment drives energy recovery. The production of biogas is one of the applications of anaerobic digestion. The primary component of biogas is methane. So, this treatment can turn waste into revenue. 

Chlorination and UV treatment are additional treatment stages in biological wastewater treatments. These treatments also include ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, and carbon filtration. Research for conventional biological wastewater treatment optimization is in progress.
There is a long history of biological wastewater treatment. The evolution of biological treatment has increased its availability, efficiency, and effectiveness.

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