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Why are solids are floating on my secondary clarifier? - Biological Waste Treatment Expert

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Why are solids are floating on my secondary clarifier?

 

1/14/2015

     

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Secondary clarifiers can be running smoothly one day and then suddenly solids begin to float and carry over the weir into the effluent. What are the conditions that cause floating sludge? And more importantly, what can be done to control it.

First floating sludge is most often caused by:

     

Erik Rumbaugh has been involved in biological waste treatment for over 20 years. He has worked with industrial and municipal wastewater facilities to ensure optimal performance of their treatment systems. He is a founder of Aster Bio (www.asterbio.com)

 
 

Denitrification – small nitrogen gas bubbles float the sludge in the clarifier creating floating sludge chunks with small bubbles entrapped

specializing in biological waste treatment.

   
 

Fats, Oils & Grease – simply put, FOG floats on water. When entrapped in floc, excessive grease

   
 

or oil can cause floating biomass. This appears as a scum blanket that can cover the entire clarifier.

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Why are solids are floating on my secondary clarifier? - Biological Waste Treatment Expert

 

Viscous bulking or billowing sludge – viscous bulking can sometimes create floating sludge (more

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often it is just billowing over the weir versus floating). This is often caused by nutrient deficiencies

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(normally low phosphate) in industrial waters.

       
 

Solutions to floating sludge:

 
 

Denitrification problems can be often controlled by increasing the recycle pump to reduce sludge

 

blanket depth/sludge retention time in the clarifier. The problem is often related to an increase in

 

influent ammonia/nitrogen that is converted by beneficial nitrifiers into NO2 or NO3 via the

 

autotrophic nitrification process. Without an anaerobic/anoxic step that removes NO2 or NO3 in the

 

treatment system, this process occurs in the clarifier. Long run solutions include evaluating influent

 

TKN/ammonia, anoxic denitrification zone residence time, availability of “food” or easily available

 

BOD in the anoxic zone for denitficiation, and an overall system survey on sludge age, residence

 

times, and influent makeup.

       
 

Fats, Oils & Grease – FOG created floating sludge involves a messy control process. First the

 

scum/floating sludge needs to be removed or allowed to carry over the weir to polishing/tertiary

 

treatment. Upstream, operators need to evaluate where the FOG increase originated. This can be a

 

one-time slug or increased loadings of grease over time. It is best to prevent oils and grease from

 

entering the biological treatment system. In cases where we have high levels of FOG in a system we

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encourage operators to increase wasting rates (remove entrapped FOG this way) and add cultures

 

associated with FOG degradation/biosurfactant production. By using wasting and seeding steps together, the potential for significant biomass reduction is prevented while removing entrapped FOG

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that causes high effluent solids.

       
 

Viscous Bulking – solution here is to evaluate changes in influent makeup and changes in the

 

environmental conditions in the biological treatment unit. While researching the exact cause of the

 

bulking, operators need to begin wasting the bulking, viscous sludge. If nutrient residuals are low

 

(<1.0 mg/L ammonia nitrogen or <0.5 mg/L ortho-phosphate) then begin adding nutrients to

 

achieve residuals above the targets above. If heavy wasting is involved, we recommend adding

 

cultures to promote the shift to a desirable biomass.

       
       
 

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13 Comments

   
       
   

Sathyapriyan

8/26/2015 01:30:58 am

       
 

What are the other causes in STP sludge carry over on clarifier

 
   
     

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http://www.biologicalwasteexpert.com/blog/why-are-solids-are-floating-on-my-secondary-clarifier[16/10/2017 16:17:46]

Why are solids are floating on my secondary clarifier? - Biological Waste Treatment Expert

 
Erik Rumbaugh 9/1/2015 05:02:02 am <a href=November 2015 " id="pdf-obj-2-6" src="pdf-obj-2-6.jpg">

Erik Rumbaugh

9/1/2015 05:02:02 am

 
 
 

Usually solids on the secondary clarifier are from denitrification, oil/grease, filamentous organisms

especially Nocardia, or viscous bulking caused by influential makeup or nutrient deficiency.

 

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yasser

yasser

 
 

4/19/2016 08:49:14 am

 
 
 

I would like to inquire about the layer from sludge on the clarifier surface in pre-treatment system.

 

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Erik Rumbaugh

Erik Rumbaugh

 

4/19/2016 11:50:43 am

 
 

Usually in pretreatment systems we find grease and fatty acids as a big culprit in creating

foam on clarifiers. It is usually related to the influent makeup - what is your influent

characteristics? How much pre-treatment is done? Also you could send a picture of the foam

to my email (erumbaugh@asterbio.com)

 

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Riyaz Ahmed 8/10/2016 12:13:23 am

Riyaz Ahmed

8/10/2016 12:13:23 am

How to resolve the problem for floating sludge.

 

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Erik Rumbaugh

Erik Rumbaugh

8/11/2016 10:32:33 am

First steps to solving floating sludge is to look for what is causing the problem. In the interim period, I would immediately check clarifier bed depth and increase recycle if bed depth is too high. You may also want to put water spray on the clarifier to "knock" down the floating sludge. These two steps can help while you locate the true cause of the problem.

 
 

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Riyaz Ahmed

Riyaz Ahmed

8/12/2016 11:14:30 pm

http://www.biologicalwasteexpert.com/blog/why-are-solids-are-floating-on-my-secondary-clarifier[16/10/2017 16:17:46]

Why are solids are floating on my secondary clarifier? - Biological Waste Treatment Expert

Suppose If problem was not resolve mean what should I do?

8/13/2016 05:56:56 am Erik Rumbaugh
8/13/2016 05:56:56 am
Erik Rumbaugh

Are the floating solids a new problem?

I would look for the following things:

  • 1. Oil & Grease entering the biological unit

  • 2. Look under the microscope for filamentous and non-filamentous bulking. If the solids are a foam, it

could very well be nocardia filaments.

  • 3. If you are not feeded secondary clarifier polymer, you may want to jar test polymers as a settling

aid. Also, too much polymer can also cause floating solids.

The key is to find out what is causing the floating sludge. In many cases if the floating sludge is encapsulated with grease or has EPS bulking (non-filamentous) - the solution is to waste heavily and ensure conditions (nutrients and adding bacteria) to the biological unit promote floc forming microorganisms.

 

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Riyaz Ahmed

Riyaz Ahmed

8/13/2016 09:01:54 pm

Thanks for your co-operation Then please explain what is the role of BOD, COD, MLSS & MLVSS in the WWTP?

 

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Riyaz Ahmed

Riyaz Ahmed

9/21/2016 12:49:43 am

What is DO, BOD and COD can you tell me please role?

 

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Erik Rumbaugh

Erik Rumbaugh

9/22/2016 05:32:58 am

D.O. is important with respect to solids as proper DO is required to form floc and remove pollutants. Signs of low DO include filamentous bulking with respect to floating solids. A quick look under a microscope can reveal if filaments in the floating solids are the cause. Filaments can be caused by more than just low DO, but it is among the most common causes.

http://www.biologicalwasteexpert.com/blog/why-are-solids-are-floating-on-my-secondary-clarifier[16/10/2017 16:17:46]

Why are solids are floating on my secondary clarifier? - Biological Waste Treatment Expert

 

Now for COD/BOD - they both measure oxygen demand in the sample. One dose it with chemicals (COD) in 2 hours and the other relies on a microbial seed and is run over a 5 day period (BOD). Either can give you the influent oxygen demand, but they do not tell you information on what the influent contains. Floating solids are often a sign of high influent fats, oils & grease (FOG) - but FOG is just regular COD/BOD in tests. To find your FOG number a separate and critical test needs to be run.

     

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Riyaz Ahmed

 

12/24/2016 11:03:03 pm

 

Thanks ....

   
     

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Riyaz Ahmed

 

1/4/2017 09:49:28 pm

 

How to control the floating sludge in the secondary clarifier? What is the main reason to floating sludge in secondary clarifier?

 
 

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Why are solids are floating on my secondary clarifier? - Biological Waste Treatment Expert

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