Technical evaluation and optimization of a mobile septage treatment unit.
A mobile septage treatment unit was built in India using readily available filters and membranes (mesh fabric, sand, granular activated carbon (GAC), microfilter, ultrafilter) and installed on the bed of a small truck. The target application was emptying of septic or sewage holding tanks and concentration of suspended solids while generating a liquid that could be discharged. The system was evaluated for operational and treatment performance while processing septage in the field at 108 sites in Tamil Nadu, India. After one phase of evaluation (Phase I), the system was improved and three replicate systems with slight modifications were fabricated for a second round of evaluation (Phase II) alongside the original, but modified unit. In Phase I, 105 m3
of septage was processed at an average flow of 623 L h-1
and with high removal efficiencies: 83% chemical oxygen demand (COD), 75% total suspended solids (TSS), and 98.4% total coliform (TC). In Phase II, the original and three new systems combined treated 168 m3
of septage. One of the new systems doubled in capacity and processed septage at an average flow of 2700 L h-1
while the other three averaged 1290 L h-1
. The removal efficiencies in Phase II were 80% COD, 81% TSS, and 99% TC averaged between the four systems. Pass through of soluble contaminants (e.g. soluble COD, NH3
-N) remain the primary challenge for treatment performance. Success may be limited with some septage due to seasonality, location, or septage age, and further validation and optimization may be necessary. However, the septage in this study was treated to local standards, and the system offers a method of onsite treatment while reducing the need of costly and often inefficient septage emptying services. Further, the system can be produced at a cost competitive to traditional septage hauling trucks.
Forbis-Stokes, AA; Kalimuthu, A; Ravindran, J; Deshusses, MA
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