4 Major Operational Challenges Facing Wastewater Treatment Plants

February 22, 2022by euroteck login

Water is called the “elixir of life” because life on Earth is not possible without it. Clean water is not a luxury but a necessity for the survival of all living beings as well as the environment around us. 

One way of using clean water sustainably is to treat sewage and industrial wastewater through a proper wastewater treatment process.

Wastewater treatment process is a way of treating the wastewater carrying hazardous waste that comes from our homes and industries. The wastewater after being treated properly returns to its original form and can go back into lakes and rivers.

For the water to be treated in a proper manner the most important factor is that the wastewater treatment plant operates smoothly and efficiently. The working of a treatment plant is quite intense and complex as there are a number of steps that are involved in the process.

The wastewater treatment plant can face a number of challenges in its working process but we have tried highlighting the 4 major operational challenges that can disrupt the working of the treatment plant.

The 4 major operational challenges in the working of a wastewater treatment plant are as follows:


  What is the issue?

Operating a wastewater treatment plant can be expensive and the major expense is that of the energy that is consumed in the working of various equipment that are installed. The amount of energy consumption is determined on the basis of the type of pollutants present in the wastewater and the process that needs to be employed to treat that wastewater. The aeration process uses around 50-60% of the total energy consumed by a treatment plant.

   How can it be resolved?

Changes in the equipment used for the biological wastewater treatment can result in a 40% reduction in the energy consumed by the wastewater treatment plant.

Some of the solutions that we can bring into practice are:

      1. Fine screens can be used in the primary stage of the treatment process
      2. Membrane technology can be used for the aeration process
      3. Direct treatment of high concentration of return streams



   What is the issue?

The staff working in the wastewater treatment industry must be highly trained and experienced so that they are well acquainted with the technicalities related to the working of the wastewater treatment plants. You need to learn special skills to operate the machinery involved in the treatment plant.

Since, the whole treatment process is dependent upon machines, the technicians have to be on alert 24X7 to handle any kind of mishap that occurs at the treatment plant. They are responsible for all the functions from mechanical to electrical to maintenance. The workload increases when the quality of water degrades or during seasonal variations in water flow.

–   How can it be resolved?

No matter what, there will always be a need for physical and manual involvement of the staff to overlook the functioning of the plant. Operational management costs a huge share of the total operational costs of a wastewater treatment plant. With advanced technology the load on the staff can be reduced by involving the automation technology in the whole treatment process.



  What is the issue?

Sludge is the residual solid particles left behind after the wastewater treatment process. The treatment process includes multiple treatments like chemical, biological and mechanical. The main problem is the disposal of excess sludge that is produced as the by-product of the wastewater treatment process. Disposal of sludge can cause a lot of harm to the environment.

How can it be resolved?

One must look at the long-term, viable and sustainable solution to the problem of excessive sludge production by wastewater treatment plants. Sludge containing organic matter can be recycled and can be used in agricultural fields. With advancement in technology there are some wastewater treatment equipment that can reduce the amount of sludge that is produced.



  What is the issue?

There are many challenges that one might face while setting up a wastewater treatment plant. One of the major challenges is that the cost of setting up a wastewater treatment plant is huge and the treatment plants occupy large areas. As the population is growing day by day the municipal wastewater treatment plants too need to widen their capacities.

  How can it be resolved?

A sustainable and long-term way to reduce the footprints is to increase the amount of biomass per unit volume by adding media for biofilm attachment or to increase the biomass concentration. Smaller footprints will result in lower land cost savings and lower capital cost.

There are many problems that can create barriers in the efficient working of the wastewater treatment plant but these 4 are the most common problems in wastewater treatment plants set up. All these problems can be solved with inventive and effective solutions for wastewater treatment plants.

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