C+S August 2023 Vol. 9 Issue 8 (web)

greater flexibility and adaptability to meet the specific needs of different regions and communities. Small-scale treatment facilities can be designed and implemented based on local conditions, allowing for customized solutions. Additionally, decentralized systems minimize the risk of widespread contamination in case of failures or disasters, as the treatment is distributed across multiple sites. Active wastewater treatment in decentralized applications refers to the utilization of advanced treatment technologies to treat wastewater at smaller-scale, localized facilities. This approach is becoming increasingly popular due to its ability to provide efficient and sustainable wastewater management solutions for various settings, such as rural areas, small communities, industrial sites, and commercial developments. One of the key components of Active wastewater treatment in decentralized applications is the utilization of innovative treatment technologies. These technologies are designed to achieve higher levels of treatment efficiency, remove contaminants of emerging concern, and minimize environmental impacts. Some of the Active treatment processes commonly employed include biological/organic reduction, nutrient removal, and resource recovery techniques. Reducing Organics with Extended Aeration There are many treatment methods to reduce organics, one of the most common is extended aeration. The treatment processes take advantage of naturally occurring microbial communities to consume organics. Active treatment systems offer high-quality effluent and are effective in reducing BOD and TSS. The treated water can then be reused for non-potable purposes like irrigation or industrial processes. Nutrient Removal Nutrient removal is also crucial in environmentally sensitive areas. Excessive nutrient discharge, particularly of nitrogen and phosphorus, can lead to eutrophication in receiving water bodies, causing harmful algal blooms and oxygen depletion. Active treatment technologies, such as biological nitrogen removal processes (e.g., nitrification and denitrification) and enhanced biological phosphorus removal, help achieve stringent nutrient removal targets. These processes use specialized bacteria to convert and remove nitrogen and phosphorus from the wastewater, The ability to recharge groundwater and replenish aquifers is a noted environmental benefit of decentralized wastewater treatment systems according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). This growing trend is being recognized as Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR). With centralized treatment systems, water is extracted from a source, treated to potable standards, then pumped via a pipe distribution network. Once this water is consumed by a facility or homeowner, it is then classified as wastewater and ultimately mitigating environmental impacts. Managed Aquifer Recharge

discharged following centralized treatment to a river or ocean. Disposal of the treated wastewater commonly occurs in local waterways, where it mixes with the existing water flows and is not captured for reuse. The extensive advancements in Active decentralized technology, has enhanced the capability of decentralized wastewater treatment systems to treat large volumes of water for commercial/cluster facilities to provide MAR. Today, there are decentralized systems with Active Treatment that have discharges more than 1 MGD (3,785 m3/d). Active Decentralized System Operations and Maintenance Furthermore, Active decentralized wastewater treatment facilities have embraced the concept of Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and the once Achilles-heel of the industry has been solved. Many codes require maintenance contracts and private industry is rushing to fill the void as it is seen as an opportunity to expand business. O&M can also be employed through public or semi-public entities such as new or existing utility districts. Other advancements to allow ease of O&M has been the integration of smart technologies and automation. Remote monitoring and control systems enable real-time data collection, analysis, and adjustment of treatment processes. This allows for efficient operation, predictive maintenance, and optimization of the treatment performance, enhancing overall system reliability and performance. Case Study: Active Decentralized Treatment Provides Fast Response in Paradise, California The 2018 “Camp Fire” devastated the community of Paradise, California, killing 85 people, destroying 11,000 homes, and displacing nearly 50,000 people. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) needed to quickly stabilize the situation and support rehabilitation of the community. This required a 1500-person workforce housing camp, which included 400 temporary housing units, laundromat, and food preparation and dining facilities.


AUGUST 2023 csengineermag.com

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