Advanced Treatment

Advanced wastewater treatment comprises a large number of individual treatment processes that can be utilized to remove organic and inorganic pollutants from secondary treated wastewater. The following treatment processes presented can be used to meet the effluent discharge requirements for potato processing plants. These may include suspended solids, BOD, nutrients, and COD.

Microstraining. Microstrainers consist of motor-driven drums that rotate about a horizontal axis in a basin, which collects the filtrate. The drum surface is covered by a fine screen with openings ranging from 23 to 60 pm. It has been reported that effluent suspended solids and BOD from microstrainers following an activated sludge plant have a ranges of 6-8 mg/L and 3.5-5 mg/L, respectively [56].

The head loss of the drum is less than 12-18 in (30-46 cm) of water. Peripheral drum speeds vary up to 100 ft/min (30.5 m/min) with typical hydraulic loadings of 0.06-0.44 m/min (1.5-10 gal/ft2-min) on the submerged area; the backwash flow is normally constant and ranges up to 5% of the product water [57]. Periodic cleaning of the drum is required for slime control.

Granular Media Filtration. Granular filtration employing mixed media or moving bed filters plays an important role in improving the secondary effluent quality, where most of the BOD is found in bacterial solids. Therefore, removal of the suspended solids greatly improves the effluent quality. Granular filtration is generally preferred to microstraining, which is associated with greater operational problems and lower solids removal efficiencies.

Effective filter media sizes are generally greater than 1 mm. Filtration rates range from 0.06 to 0.5 m/min (1.5 to 12 gal/ft2-min) with effluent suspended solids from 1 to 10 mg/L. This represents a reduction of 20 to 95% from the concentration in the filter influent [57,58]. Secondary effluent should contain less than 250 mg/L of suspended solids in order to make filtration more suitable [11]. In the case of higher concentrations of suspended solids, the secondary effluent should be first led to polishing ponds (maturation ponds) or subjected to chemical coagulation and sedimentation.

Chemical Coagulation Followed by Sedimentation. Phosphorus is a nutrient of microscopic and macroscopic plants, and thus can contribute to the eutrophication of surface waters. Phosphorus may be removed biologically or chemically. In some cases, chemicals may be added to biological reactors instead of being used in separate processes while in others, biologically concentrated phosphorus may be chemically precipitated. Chemical phosphorus removal involves precipitation with lime, iron salts, or alum. Lime should be considered for this purpose if ammonia removal is also required for pH adjustment. For low effluent phosphorus concentrations, effluent filtration may be required due to the high phosphorus content of the effluent suspended solids.

Whatever coagulant is employed, a large quantity of sludge is produced. Sludge lagoons can be considered as an economical solution to sludge disposal, although this treatment requires considerable land area.

Improved removal of phosphorus without any chemical addition can be obtained by a biological process that employs an anoxic or anaerobic zone prior to the aeration zone. When this process is used to maximize phosphate removal (sometimes called a sequencing batch reactor), it is possible to reduce the phosphorus content to a level of about 1 mg/L, with no chemical addition.

The principle of bio-P removal is the exposure of the organisms to alternating anaerobic and aerobic conditions. This can be applied with or without nitrogen removal. The alternating exposure to anaerobic and to aerobic conditions can be arranged by recirculation of the biomass through anaerobic and aerobic stages, and an anoxic stage if nitrogen removal is also required. General flowsheets of these processes are shown in Fig. 19.

As for potato processing wastewater, which often contains high concentrations of nutrients (N and P compounds), it is recommended here to apply biological phosphorus removal including an anoxic stage for the advanced treatment.

The abovementioned role of chemical coagulation may be followed by sedimentation in the reduction of nutrients. This method can also be applied to treat potato processing wastes in general [59]. Coagulating and flocculating agents were added to wastewater from abrasivepeeled, lye-peeled, and steam-peeled potato processing. Total suspended solid and COD concentrations were significantly reduced with chemical and polymer combination treatments, at adjusted pH levels.

Nitrification-Denitrification. Based on water quality standards and point of discharge, municipal treatment plants may be: (a) free from any limits on nitrogen discharges, (b) subject to limits on ammonia and/or TKN, (c) subject to limits on total nitrogen. Nitrogen can be removed and/or altered in form by both biological and chemical techniques. A number of methods that have been successfully applied can be found in many publications. Biological removal techniques include assimilation and nitrification-denitrification. Occasionally, nitrification is adequate to meet some water quality limitations where the nitrogenous oxygen demand (NOD) is satisfied and the ammonia (which might be toxic) is converted to nitrate. According to USEPA publications, the optimum pH range for nitrification has been identified as between 7.2 and 8.0. Regarding the effect of temperature, it has been noted that nitrification is more affected by low temperature than in the case of BOD removal [60].

Nitrification can be achieved in separate processes after secondary treatment or in combined processes in which both BOD and NOD are removed. In combined processes the ratio of BOD to TKN is greater than 5, while in separate processes the ratio in the second stage is less than 3 [57].

Denitrification is a biological process that can be applied to nitrified wastewater in order to convert nitrate to nitrogen. The process is anoxic, with the nitrate serving as the electron acceptor for the oxidation of organic material.


AiMidbic Aerobic


AiMidbic Aerobic

Willi jiLtrihcjtiun-'JiTiLtrjlkjtifri

AnumtiK Aerobic

AnumtiK Aerobic

Figure 19 General flow sheets of biological phosphorus removal with and without nitrification-denitrification (from Ref. 24).

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Figure 19 General flow sheets of biological phosphorus removal with and without nitrification-denitrification (from Ref. 24).

There is a variety of alternatives for the denitrification process such as suspended growth and attached growth systems with and without using methanol as a carbon source. Chemical nitrogen-removal processes generally involve converting the nitrogen to a gaseous form (N2) and ammonia (NH3). The processes of major interest include breakpoint chlorination, ion exchange, and air stripping. Natural zeolitic tuffs play an important role as ion exchange media for ammonium and phosphate removal through columns or batch reactors [61], where the total volume treated between generation cycles depends on the ammonium concentration in the wastewater and the allowed concentration in the effluent. The wastewater itself can be stripped of ammonia if it is at the requisite pH (10.5-11.5) and adequate air is provided. The feasibility of stripping the wastewater itself depends on whether the necessary pH can be achieved at moderate cost. The air stream carries with it the stripped ammonia to be released to the atmosphere. When the ammonia is dissolved in the solution, it forms the ammonium salt of the acid, which has an economic value as a fertilizer to the soil.

Regarding land-application systems for treatment of potato processing wastewaters, they may be satisfactory regarding nitrogen removal with no need for additional biological or chemical treatment.

Membrane Technology. Membrane technology encompasses a wide range of separation processes from filtration and ultrafiltration to reverse osmosis. Generally, these processes produce a very high quality effluent defined as membrane filtration and refer to systems in which discrete holes or pores exit the filter media, generally in the order of 102 to 104 nm or larger. The difference in size between the pore and the particle to be removed determines the extent of filtration efficiency. The various filtration processes in relation to molecular size can be found in Ref. 24.

The criteria for membrane technology performance are related to the degree of impermeability (the extent of membrane's detention of the solute flow) or the degree of permeability (the extent of membrane's allowance of the solute flow). The design and operating parameters for a reverse osmosis system are presented in detail in Ref. 62.

Regarding potato processing wastewaters, reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration have been used for treating wastewater for the recovery of sweet potato starch [63]. They may also be successful for application within in-plant treatment and recycling systems. Other advanced treatment methods used for various industrial wastewaters such as activated carbon adsorption, deep well injection, and chlorination, are not suitable for potato processing wastewater treatment due to their high costs of application.

It is worth mentioning that important research has been carried out regarding the treatment of potato processing wastewaters by the activated carbon adsorption process used as an advanced treatment method. It was reported that activated carbon adsorption treatment following complete mix activated sludge treatment removed 97% COD from primary settled potato processing wastewaters with an effluent COD of 24 mg/L [17]. In addition, it was concluded that powdered activated carbon was more effective than granular activated carbon in removing COD from activated sludge treated effluents.

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