Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Devantier, Bruce


Water treatment plant (WTP) residual discharge is considered a pollutant and requires treatment to prevent negative impacts when released to the environment. As regulatory requirement becomes increasingly strict, WTPs are required to find suitable methods for the treatment of sludge residuals. Wastewater treatment plants(WWTP) provide existing treatment methods to remove contaminants from WTP residuals. A case study on the Carbondale Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) and receiving Carbondale Southeast Waste Water Treatment Plant (SEWWTP) provided an opportunity to quantify potential negative impacts for the discharge of residual alum sludge to a biologic sludge digestion plant. The first part of the study focused on quantifying changes to the SEWWTP loading conditions from the addition of metal salt coagulant water treatment residuals discharged by the CWTP. Historic sludge quantities and treatment methodologies for both the CWTP and SEWWTP were used to predict loading conditions and residual concentrations at the SEWWTP. Ammonia, BOD, pH, and TSS concentrations from the CWTP were not identified to significantly impact the existing concentrations at the SEWWTP. Metals concentrations from the CWTP were also found to fall within WWTP regulatory quantities. The second part of the study evaluated potential impacts to beneficial bacteria populations in the SEWWTP oxidation ditch from the receipt of CWTP alum residuals. Studies of residual alum sludge impacts to beneficial bacterial populations are rare, and often do not translate from one treatment plants processes to the next. The SEWWTP employs a multi-ring oxidation ditch with an anoxic outer ring and aerobic middle and inner rings. Biologic Activity Reaction Tests (BART) were used to isolate beneficial bacteria species typically present in oxidation ditches including heterotrophic aerobic bacteria, denitrifying bacteria, and nitrifying bacteria. Heterotrophic aerobic bacteria and denitrifying bacteria are the predominant beneficial bacteria species in the outer ring, while nitrifying bacteria and heterotrophic aerobic bacteria dominate the aerobic inner rings. Heterotrophic aerobic bacteria and denitrifying bacteria populations identified in the outer ring of the oxidation ditch did not demonstrate any population impacts from the receipt of residual alum sludge. In addition, nitrifying bacteria populations and heterotrophic aerobic bacteria population demonstrated no impacts from the introduction of CWTP residual alum waste to the aerobic inner ring of the oxidation ditch. Overall, the study demonstrated the treatment of residual alum sludge from a WTP is possible through the existing biological processes at a WWTP.




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