Date of Award
Master of Science
The treatment of water for human consumption results in the production of residual waste flows that vary depending on source waters and water treatment technologies. Water treatment plant residual waste is defined as a pollutant that requires treatment either on site or through other means. Due to strict and evolving regulatory requirements, treatment of water treatment plant residual waste several common methods of disposing of water plant residuals exist including discharge to surface waters, discharge to sanitary sewers, and sanitary landfill disposal of dewatered wastes. Although originally discharged to the neighboring City Reservoir, the Carbondale Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) conducted an initial study to determine if plant residual waste could be treated at one of the City’s two wastewater treatment plants. No negative impacts were identified as part of this study and infrastructure was put in place to divert CWTP residual waste from the City Reservoir to the Carbondale Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant (SEWWTP). This study focused on accessing and quantifying any impacts of Carbondale Water Treatment Plant (CWTP) residual solids sewer discharge on biological treatment processes, effluent water quality, and sludge production at the SEWWTP. The Carbondale SEWWTP treats raw water influent through a number of physical and biological processes including screening, clarification, nitrification/denitrification, and aeration. Of the tests run as part of this study daily samples were collected of SEWWTP influent, mixed liquor, return sludge, and effluent and measured for changes in pH, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD), solids, sludge volume index (SVI), dissolved oxygen (DO), and nitrogen. No significant changes were documented other than percent BOD removal did improve after the introduction of the residuals. Anions were also tested weekly. Samples were collected from the SEWWTP’s oxidation ditch to monitor biological life using biological activity reaction tests (BART) for nitrifying, denitrifying, and heterotrophically active bacteria. BART testing showed no decline in biological activity and increased populations of denitrifying bacteria. Additionally, both metals and acute toxicity of SEWWTP effluent were tested by outside testing facilities to confirm that CWTP residual solids sewer discharge did not interfere with discharge limits established as part of the plant’s permits. No significant changes were observed during testing but plant staff did indicate that more extensive cleaning of the basins was implemented post-introduction. Overall, the case study confirmed that the treatment of CWTP residual solids sewer discharge did not negatively impact treatment processes at the SEWWTP and is sustainable.
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