Common Problems with Anaerobic Wastewater Treatment Systems and How to Avoid Them

26 Feb.,2022

Below, we break down what these issues are including ways to avoid them so your anaerobic wastewater treatment can continue to work optimally for your industrial facility.

 

There are several different Activated carbon produced from nut shells and coconut shells technologies, but some commonly used include lagoons; anaerobic digestors like UASBs (upflow anaerobic sludge blankets) and EGSBs (expanded granular sludge beds); and packed bed anaerobic filters. They tend to exhibit the same common anaerobic bacteria-managing issues.

 

Below, we break down what these issues are including ways to avoid them so your anaerobic wastewater treatment can continue to work optimally for your industrial facility.

 

Hydrogen sulfide

The problem

As prior mentioned, you never want to add sulfate into anaerobic systems because along with the methanogens who make the methane, there is a different anaerobic population that reduce sulfate to hydrogen sulfideand if you have methanogens producing methane and sulfate-reducing bacteria (called SRBs) creating sulfide, now you have sulfide in the gas along with your methane. This creates a very odorous, toxic, and corrosive hydrogen sulfide, which is that rotten egg odor. If your facility begins producing hydrogen sulfide en mass, this can be a big issue.

Anaerobic Granular Sludge

Anaerobic Granular Sludge

The solution

This needs to be prevented by eliminating sulfate in the wastewater going in, or, if this isnt possible, then you need to capture the gas and control it so it can be treated and removed appropriately. Its yet another issue that needs maintenanceand it will cost youyet, if the issue is ignored, it will cause greater problems. This is ideally addressed during the design stage of the system it can be implemented on an operational level.

 

Temperature

The problem

Anaerobic systems are not always ideal for colder regions. Since the bacteria have long growth rates of methanogens that symbiotically intermix with different bacteria populations, they just dont do well where its cold. It can be a difficult situation because the bacteria take so long to proliferate to begin with. Then, when its cold, they take even longerbut when you take into consideration that every 1°F you lose, 10% of your anaerobic bacteria will go along with it, you can see why maintaining these temperatures are so important.

Anaerobic Granular Sludge

Anaerobic Granular Sludge

 

The solution

Anaerobes really like warm water, so the ideal temperature range would be 95°F to 100°F. Ambient water temperatures at industrial facilities typically range from 60°F to 85°F, so many need to heat these systems, and when youre dealing with a half million or millions gallons of water a day, that can take up a lot of energy. If your facility is located in a colder climate, for example New York as opposed to California, your options are to heat the water all winter or shut down until spring.

 

Some facilities will take the biogas naturally released by the anaerobes and burn it in a boiler, creating steam. This steam then passes through to a heat exchanger that has the wastewater coming through one side and the steam coming in the other side and it heats the water efficiently to 95°F. This does add a level of complication to the overall system. Capturing and burning the biogas and ensuring you have the equipment to effectively maintain the required temperature all take skilled, professional maintenance.

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