Primary Treatment

Sedimentation. Sedimentation is employed for the removal of suspended solids from wastewater. After screening, wastewater still carries light organic suspended solids, some of which can be removed from the wastewater by gravity in sedimentation tanks called clarifiers. These tanks/clarifiers can be round or rectangular, are usually about 3.5 m deep, and hold the wastewater for periods of two to three hours [23]. The required geometry, inlet conditions, and outlet conditions for successful operation of such units are already known. The mass of settled solids is called raw sludge, which is removed from the clarifiers by mechanical scrapers and pumps. Floating materials such as oil and grease rise to the surface of the clarifier, where they are collected by a surface skimming system and removed from the tank for further processing.

Figures 8 and 9 show cross-sections of typical rectangular and circular clarifiers. Construction materials and methods vary according to local conditions and costs.

In the primary treatment of potato wastes (Fig. 10), the clarifier is typically designed for an overflow rate of 800-1000 gal/(ft2-day) (33-41 m3/m2-day) and a depth of 10-12 ft (3-3.6 m). Most of the settleable solids are removed from the effluent in the clarifier. The COD

Primary Clarifier
Figure 8 Rectangular primary clarifier.
Circular Primary Clarifier
Figure 9 Circular primary clarifier.
Figure 10 Schematic representation of primary treatment for potato wastes (from Ref. 11).

removal in this primary treatment is generally between 40-70% [11]. In comparison with cornstarch wastes, it was reported that BOD removals of 86.9% were obtained from settling this kind of waste [24].

To reduce the volume of the settled waste, which contains 4-6% solids, vacuum filters or centrifuges are used.

Withdrawal of the underflow from the bottom of the clarifier is accomplished by pumping. The resulting solids from caustic peeling have a high pH. The optimum pH level for best vacuum filtration of solids differs from plant to plant. However, when the underflow withdrawal is adjusted to hold the solids in the clarifier for several hours, biological decomposition begins and the pH of the solids falls greatly. At a pH of between 5 and 7, these solids will dewater on a vacuum filter without the addition of coagulating chemicals.

As for the solids resulting from steam or abrasive peeling operations, these will also undergo biological degradation in a few hours. With a longer duration, however, dewatering of solids becomes more difficult.

Flotation. Flotation is another method used for the removal of suspended solids and oil and grease from wastewater. The pretreated waste flow is pressurized to 50-70 lb/in2 (345-483 kPa or 3.4-4.8 atm) in the presence of sufficient air to approach saturation [24]. When this pressurized air-liquid mixture is released to atmospheric pressure in the flotation unit, minute air bubbles are released from the solution. The suspended solids or oil globules are floated by these minute air bubbles, which become enmeshed in the floc particles. The air-solids mixture rises to the surface, where it is skimmed off by mechanical collectors. The clarified liquid is removed from the bottom of the flotation unit. A portion of the effluent may be recycled back to the pressure chamber.

The performance of a flotation system depends upon having sufficient air bubbles present to float substantially all of the suspended solids. This performance in terms of effluent quality and solids concentration in the float, is related to an air/solids ratio that is usually defined as mass of air released per mass of solids in the influent waste.

Pressure, recycle ratio, feed solid concentration, and retention period are the basic variables for flotation design. The effluent's suspended solids decrease and the concentration of solids in the float increase with increasing retention period. When the flotation process is used for primary clarification, a detention period of 20-30min is adequate for separation and concentration. Rise velocity rates of 1.5-4.0 gal/(min-ft2) [0.061-0.163 m /(min-m2)] are commonly applied [24].

Major components of a flotation system include a pressurizing pump, air-injection facilities, a retention tank, a backpressure regulating device, and a flotation unit, as shown in Fig. 11. The pressurizing pump creates an elevated pressure to increase the solubility of air. Air is usually added through an injector on the suction side of the pump or directly to the retention tank. The air and liquid are mixed under pressure in a retention tank with a detention time of 1 to 3 min. A backpressure regulating device maintains a constant head on the pressurizing pump.

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