Nutrient Removal

In treating wastewater, plant operators know that results are everything.  Compliance with strict state and federal regulations means removing enough harmful nutrients (such as Nitrogen and Phosphorous) to keep our precious natural waterways clean and safe for wildlife.

But it’s complicated!  Every day, the treatment plant laboratories are busy sampling wastewater as it comes in, and at various stages as it works its way through the process.   Operators need to continually make adjustments based on a range of metrics – one of the most important being the quality and amount of food (or organic material) as a ratio to the amount and performance of the microbes responsible for consuming it.   This is commonly known as F:M.

In-Pipe Technology believes plants run better, and can do a much better job of removing nutrients if you can use the collection system to improve both F and M.

How is this possible?  By fully utilizing this underused part of your wastewater infrastructure to start treating the waste stream as far upstream as possible.  In fact, just like we view the treatment plant as a large biological reactor, it has been proven that the collection system is an even larger one.

System review

In-Pipe will conduct a review of your treatment plant processes, permit limits, and performance.  We will consult with your staff to set goals in place for process improvement. Our engineering team will then conduct a system-wide analysis using proprietary modelling to determine optimal dosing locations.

By using the collection system as a biofilm reactor, considerable treatment plant efficiencies can be realized:

  • Solids are broken down in the collection system into more readily biodegradable food sources for the bacteria. Key organics in the sewer (BOD and COD) can be reduced by as much as 40% and the fraction of BOD/COD that is readily biodegradable is increased.

  • Decreases in the organic loading and the fact that there is more bioavailable carbon can be directly correlated to reductions in aeration energy input required in the activated sludge process.

  • In-Pipe Technology uses highly-efficient, facultative organisms.  These tiny microbes can use either oxygen or nitrogen as an energy source to consume organics – and they do so much more efficiently than the types of bacteria normally found in untreated wastewater, resulting in more aeration reductions.

The overall result is substantial.  In terms of F:M,

  • Better bioavailability of food (organics in the influent) means that the microbes in the plant are able to get access to nutrients more readily.  This means that if you’re adding carbon sources to ensure adequate nutrient removal, you can dramatically cut down or eliminate it – saving money

  • The microbes in the plant are reinforced by large numbers of helpful bacteria that greatly augment the removal of BOD and nitrogen, which help operators more consistently and reliably meet their strict discharge targets

A word about Phosphorous

As we mentioned plant operators want to make environmental conditions right for specific types of bacteria in order to remove certain nutrients.   In the case of phosphorous (P), microbes called Phosphorous Accumulating Organisms (PAOs) are doing the heavy lifting – which requires energy.

The technical term for the energy source these PAOs need to do that lifting is Polyhydroxyalkanoates – or PHAs.

IPT’s specific formulation of bacteria contains microbes that specifically produce PHAs.  So, not only is quality of the food source much improved by using the collection system to pre-treat the wastewater, but the energy sources are vastly augmented as well. 

By using IPTs service, one city in Northern Illinois has been able to consistently meet restrictive phosphorous limits (less than 1.0 mg/l) without making any plant upgrades or changing any plant processes – saving considerable time, money, and damage to the waterways.

The Science

Take a deeper dive into the science behind Nutrient Removal
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In-Pipe Technology LLC 725 N. Central Avenue, Wood Dale IL. 60191

Office: 630.509.2488 | Toll free: 888.325.5033 | Fax: 630.509.2490