Market Snapshot: Small Municipal Wastewater

  • MDG
  • December 12, 2016

INTRODUCTION

In the U.S., there are over 15,000 operational public wastewater treatment facilities. Of these, over 70% are considered ‘small systems’. EPA considers a wastewater system small if it serves a community with a population of 10,000 or fewer people and an average daily wastewater flow of less than 1M gallons per day (GPD). Because small communities tend to be economically disadvantaged, under-served, land locked, and resource-poor, they face significant barriers to building and maintaining effective wastewater treatment services. This market segment offers significant opportunities for companies to collaborate with entities to biologically optimize their systems.

COMMON PROBLEMS

Common challenges to achieving and maintaining sustainable wastewater treatment systems faced by small communities include economic/financial limitations, inability to sustain community-wide systems, inability to attract and maintain system operators, lack of managerial training and consistency, extreme topography and weather conditions, and geographic isolation/remoteness. Some of the specific challenges faced by small municipalities are some, or all of the following:

  • Facility load and flow variations
  • Sludge yield and hauling cost
  • Foaming
  • Odor
  • Nutrient removal
  • Energy cost
  • Permit violations
  • High COD/BOD levels coming from small industries discharging into the municipal system

COMMON PRACTICES

Facility Expansion: As population and industry grows municipal wastewater facilities are presented with the challenge to adapt and effectively treat the increase in waste. One option has simply been to build on their current facility. The problem is that capital expansion is very expensive, typically costing in the millions of dollars. Also, facilities are finding themselves land-locked and unable to expand having to find alternative ways to effectively treat the growing demand.

Chemicals: Much of wastewater produced is contaminated with both soluble and insoluble impurities such as solids, organics, pathogens, metals, nutrients and other pollutants that must be removed prior to discharge back into the environment. The use of chemicals such as flocculants and coagulants are two methods of treating the wastewater in order to minimize the discharge level of those wastewater contaminants.

BIOAUGMENTATION SOLUTION

The use of Biotifx™ products as a management tool offers many advantages over traditional technology platforms such as equipment, engineering and chemicals. Although small municipal facilities tend to have less challenges than that of industrial facilities with similar flow rates, the use of Biotifx™ products has consistently shown an improvement with:

  • Reduced sludge yield
  • Reduced total suspended solids (TSS)
  • Reduced foam
  • Improved settling
  • Reduced odors
  • Reduced chemical costs

CONCLUSION

Understanding the challenges of the facility, the people, what can be measured and expectation of results are of the utmost importance.  With this understanding, the results and value is going to vary with every facility, but improving the biology of the waste treatment system through the use of bio-augmentation will offer the following hard and soft benefits:

Benefit: Annual Revenue

  • Improved recovery time from upsets: $0.00-$10,000
  • Reduced start up times: $0.00-$10,000
  • Reduced sludge levels: $5,00-$75,000
  • Reduced energy costs: $0.00-$50,000
  • Reduced foaming: $0.00-$20,000
  • Reduced odor: $0.00-$20,000
  • Reduced capital cost: $0.00-$10,000,000
  • Surcharges/Fines: $0.00-$75,000
  • Chemical use: $500-$25,000

Some of the benefits listed above don’t have a direct cost, but would have indirect costs in the forms of fines, surcharges, down-time, utilities, chemicals, labor and consultative time.