Fine Bubble Aeration/Mixing System Cuts Lagoon Treatment Energy Costs
The city of Brownsville, Tenn., in 2001 retained the firm of
J. R. Wauford and Company, Consulting Engineers, Inc., of Jackson, Tenn., to
design an expansion of the city?s wastewater treatment capacity.
Brownsville?s influent flow averages 1.97 mgd. The influent
goes through a grinder before entering the new, aerated lagoon where the
Biomixer units are installed. From this complete mix aerated lagoon, the flow
goes to a partial aerated lagoon and then to a settling cell where it is
The original design called for thirty 25 hp surface aerators
for a total of 750 hp worth of surface aerators to both mix and aerate a 570 ft
by 410 ft by 12 ft deep lagoon. Due to concern over high power costs, a
decision was subsequently made to purchase five 85 hp Biomixer Aeration and
Mixing Systems. The saving of 325 hp was due to Biomixer being a fine bubble
efficiency aerator, thereby producing more pounds of oxygen per hp-hr.
Due to project cost overruns at bid time, however, it was
necessary to reduce the number of Biomixer units from five to three. This
resulted in lowering the total connected horsepower from 750 hp to 255 hp, a
savings of 495 hp. In order to ensure mixing would be sufficient with the
smaller number of units, the Directed Flow? discharge option was added.
This feature allows the discharge to be diverted in one direction, and the
three units were positioned such that the combined effect of their individual
discharge patterns would create circular mixing in the lagoon.
The Biomixer Aeration and Mixing System is a fine bubble
efficiency aerator that installs from the surface. It has the ability to adjust
the submergence level of its slowly rotating diffuser blades. This is important
as it gives the treatment plant the flexibility to operate the Biomixer blades
at various levels.
When the treatment plant requires more oxygen the blades are
submerged deeper in the wastewater. When the requirement for dissolved oxygen
is reduced, the blades can be raised in the wastewater, and this in turn
reduces the horsepower required by the positive displacement air.
In addition, the diffuser blades can also be quickly raised
above the water to allow for easy diffuser inspection and service.
The slowly rotating, fine bubble diffuser blades generate
tremendous mixing by creating a 25-foot diameter air lift pump. This air lift
pump generates a high volume, low velocity mixing pattern in contrast to
mechanical surface aerators which exhibit high velocity, low volume mixing. In
addition, since the Biomixer diffuser blades are not generating mixing by
rotating a pitched blade like traditional mechanical surface aerators.
By use of a shallow baffle attached to one half the
circumference of the Biomixer, a Directed Flow option allows all of the mixing
energy to be discharged in one direction.
These units were started up in October, 2001 and testing was
undertaken in February, 2002 to validate their performance.
The testing confirmed the high oxygen transfer rates, as
D.O. averaged 9.1 mg/l throughout the lagoon. This extremely high D.O. level
later resulted in a recommendation that the city take advantage of the
Biomixer?s unique ability to adjust its diffuser aeration submergence
levels from the surface. Specifically, it was recommended they reduce their
submergence levels, thereby saving horsepower and producing less oxygen.
The mixing energy produced by the three units, using the
Directed Flow discharge scheme, was able to create a circular flow in the
lagoon. As evidenced by the suspended solids testing, this high volume,
directed mixing energy was able to thoroughly mix the huge volume of this
lagoon, including the corners and slopes, with the exception of the extreme
middle of the basin.
While complete mix is currently not needed in this portion
of the lagoon from a process standpoint, it could easily be achieved in the
future by the addition of one Biomixer in the middle of the lagoon. Should the
city wish to do so, this would still be one unit fewer than in the original
design. Such an additional unit, however, would not need the Directed Flow
The Biomixer Aeration and Mixing system is providing optimum
dissolved oxygen transfer and mixing at this lagoon, in spite of the number of
units being reduced from the original design of five units down to three. This
is being obtained with the dissolved oxygen levels throughout the basin
averaging 9.1 mg/l. Even at the influent end of the basin where the loading
rate is the highest, the dissolved oxygen readings were above 8.5 mg/l.
It has been recommended to the city that because of the high
dissolved oxygen content, the blade submergence depth be reduced. This will
reduce the dissolved oxygen concentration in the lagoon and reduce the
horsepower draw on the Biomixer units. This will allow the city to save on energy
costs while still maintaining mixing throughout the basin.
For additional information, phone Biomixer Corp. at