Solid Management Skills

April 2, 2018
Two sludge treatment plants in Eatonton, Ga., find long-term solution for solids management

Miratech, a Division of Ten Cate Nicolon

3680 Mount Olive Road * Commerce, GA 30529

Phone 706/335-3451

Solids management at municipal wastewater treatment plants is crucial in maintaining operating efficiencies and permitted discharge levels. Drying beds and mechanical methods of dewatering biosolids can be labor intensive and inefficient for rapid solids removal.

In the spring of 2003, the city of Eatonton, Ga., faced potential discharge permit violations due to increased solids levels that hampered operations at their two activated sludge wastewater treatment plants. Solids within the aeration lagoons were exceeding 900 on the Settling Meter Test due to higher than usual rainfall and the inability to use their onsite drying beds for solids wasting.

With a tight budget and labor limitations, the plant superintendent was faced with the dilemma of taking immediate action to rapidly reduce solids inventory in a short time, but without exceeding the operating budget. The city was also searching for a long-term economical method for solids management without capital expenditures.

Miratech’s Geotube Dewatering technology was chosen for rapid removal of solids from the city’s two 350,000 gpd wastewater treatment plants. The Geotube container is a 30-ft-circumference flexible dewatering tube fabricated from specially designed, high-strength industrial textiles. These engineered textiles allow for containment of fine particles of solids yet are permeable to allow for rapid dewatering. The Geotube container is tailored specifically for the municipal water and wastewater market to fit within drying beds and other designated plant locations.

A total of eight sections of 50-ft-long Geotube containers are being used at the Eatonton, Ga., wastewater plants per year to contain and dewater three million gallons of biosolids with 1% solids.

Each of the two plants deployed four Geotube sections in their existing drying beds. Once per week at each plant, 30,000 gallons of biosolids are pumped from the digester into the Geotube container. As the waste flows through an inline mixer, 15 ppm of a 0.5% solution of a cationic polymer is injected into the waste stream to facilitate flocculation and precipitation of the solids. The flocculated waste then flows into one of the Geotube containers. Clean effluent flows through the porous surface of the textile as the solids are contained. This dewatering process allows for 80-90% volume reduction of waste. This process is repeated weekly until the container is filled to capacity.

Performance stands out

Within 180 days following installation of the technology at both plants, more than 1.5 million gallons of biosolids had been pumped from the digesters into the Geotube containers and dewatered. Settlement meter tests of solids taken from the aerator lagoons indicate levels below 350 at both plants. Both locations are operating at well below permitted discharge levels and within efficient parameters.

The plants are on track to remove and dewater a total of three million gallons of waste before the end of 2003.

These results were achieved without capital expenditures and without exceeding the city of Eatonton’s operating budget. Because of this success, the Geotube Dewatering System has become their long-term solution for solids management.

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