A Smarter School

May 4, 2018
MBR system provides quality reuse water at New York campus

Progressive schools and universities are making great strides in managing water consumption and finding new ways to reduce overall cost of ownership. As institutes continue to advance the agenda of sustainability with a greater focus on water and wastewater stewardship, school administrators, faculty and engaged students are devising and implementing viable solutions to manage wastewater goals and challenges.

At the sprawling rural campus of The Storm King School, one hour north of New York City, an Ovivo microBLOX MBR wastewater treatment plant is providing the environmental benefits of replacing failed septic systems and the economic benefits of supplementing city drinking water by supplying reuse water for landscape and agricultural irrigation. Students working in The Storm King School’s greenhouse were so delighted in the quality of crops they were growing with reuse water that it sparked a quest for students to find additional uses around the campus. In addition, the wastewater facility serves as a live classroom for the Environmental Science students to learn the importance of water conservation and reuse. Next up on the school’s sustainability agenda is installing piping to irrigate the main athletic fields and to supply toilet-flushing water for new dorms.

The System

One of the primary advantages of microBLOX MBR systems in a school or university environment is its ability to handle varying levels of flow and loads into the system while providing reuse-quality water. As a complete ready-to-operate MBR plant enclosed in a building onsite at the property, the packaged plant system is able to process anything from kitchen grease to laundry chemicals with its ability to handle an increased amount of biomass in a small volume. The small footprint, standard design and expandability of the microBLOX system also allow for ease of operation and a lower overall operating cost. Additionally, the plant can handle very little flow to flows of nearly 100,000 gpd, which is important, given the gap of use between the sessions.

The Storm King School’s microBLOX system is configured to run in flow-through modes. Influent (raw wastewater) is screened and delivered into a single-stage high-rate MBR process designed to operate over a range of varying conditions. Applying the principles of simultaneous nitrification and denitrification in an activated sludge process, low nutrient limits are achieved in a single-stage flow sheet without any need for recycling. Membrane-scouring air normally satisfies the biological process air requirements. For higher strength wastewater and/or to increase hydraulic throughput, concentrated oxygen can be efficiently added to the process on an as-needed basis. Greater-than-93%-pure oxygen is supersaturated into the wastewater, with the ability to increase the oxygen uptake rate to a maximum of 200 mg/L/hour.

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