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Strathkelvin Instruments/WW Applications & Systems

WW Applications & Systems

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  •  •    Process Optimisation
  •  •    Wastewater Toxicity Testing
  •  •    Wastewater Toxicity Tracking
  •  •    Toxicity-Based Consents
  •  •    Toxicity Reduction Tests
  •  •    Monitoring Sludge ‘Health’



Process Optimisation

The Respiration Rate of the treatment plant bacteria (Oxygen Uptake Rate – OUR) is a direct measure of the Biodegradable Load present at the time and place of sampling. Our Equipment (ASP-Con, Strathtox and AS Bioscope)  simply and quickly measure the OUR of the sample and can provide detailed information on Critical Oxygen Points, Sample Toxicity and Greenhouse Gas Emissions as well as Hydraulic Retention times required.

The ASP-Con system can be set up to measure the Treatment works influent loading as well as the remaining biodegradable load at the Aeration Lane discharge points and these measures give true real-time Feed-Forward / Feed-Back control of the treatment process. In addition it measures several other factors of Bacterial Performance including % Settlement and SVI

Strathkelvin have implmented real time process optimisation on many different types of treatment process including Plug Flow, SBR, SAM-SBR, MBR, CASS basins, Oxidation Ditches to name but a few. We have developed treatment plant optimisation software and protocols in several PLC packages including Siemens, Omron and Mitsubishi

Wastewater Toxicity Testing

If wastewater entering a treatment works contains toxic components the rate of biodegradation will be inhibited or stop completely. This can result in failed consents and will certainly give rise to operational problems. Visible indications include deflocculation, bulking and the appearance of filamentous bacteria. Sometimes, there are no visible effects. When the sludge bacteria are inhibited, there is the possibility of toxicity carry over in the effluent that is discharged to receiving waters. With new environmental legislation being introduced, worldwide, to protect the natural environment, toxin discharge is now a serious concern for treatment plant managers. Toxicity, therefore, results in:

  • Increased costs of treatment and plant recovery such as re-seeding
  • Reputational damage
  • Potential shutdown of upstream dischargers
  • Financial penalties for discharging non-compliant effluents

In order to protect a treatment works, from unknown toxic influents entering by sewer, a toxicity management regime is required. Strathkelvin provide several options including tests with a laboratory respirometer to measure the toxicity of the influent, to determine the safe rate of discharge into the aeration tanks. The ASP-Tox systems are also used for Online Influent Toxicity measures and can also be set up for Eco-Toxicity assessment of discharges to receiving waters.

Wastewater Toxicity Tracking

If toxicity is identified in a mixed sewage entering a treatment works, the problem for the plant manager is to track and identify the source of the toxicity. This can be done by sampling the effluent stream at various points in its length. By working in a logical sequence back up the sewer network the number of samples can be minimised. This type of testing should be rigorously enforced for new product introduction by a waste producer, as well as sampling the effluents directly at source. The samples should be tested against the activated sludge of the receiving works, using the Respiration Inhibition Test or the Nitrification Inhibition Test.

Toxicity Based Consents

Water companies, water authorities or publicly-owned treatment works (POTW) need to have some knowledge of the composition of the wastes they it receive. In addition to testing for ammonia and BOD or COD levels, treatment works can license industrial discharges on the basis of concentrations of some of the known toxic compounds. However, it is recognised that very many non-regulated toxic materials still enter the treatment works and reduce the efficiency of biodegradation, and may cause toxic shock. The way is now open for more widespread use of direct toxicity tests as a basis for toxicity-based consents. Samples of the industrial effluent are collected at source, for testing on the actual bacteria of the receiving activated sludge. The tests used are the Respiration Inhibition Test and the Nitrification Inhibition Test. Note that this approach mirrors that of the regulators of discharges to receiving waters, who are now using direct toxicity tests (DTA) or whole effluent toxicity tests (WET tests) in order to protect the receiving environment.

Toxicity Reduction Tests

In industrial manufacturing companies, before a new process comes on-line, it is important to measure the toxicity of the effluent stream. This is especially the case for companies who treat their own waste. From the toxicity value (EC50) obtained, it may be a cost-effective solution to simply discharge the effluent to the treatment works at a slow and defined rate to minimise damage to the activated sludge. Following a period of acclimatisation it is often possible to increase feed rates to the plant and this can again be measured and managed using the Strathtox Respirometer. An alternative approach is to undertake toxicity reduction procedures, such as neutralisation or acid hydrolysis, in pilot-scale laboratory studies. The Respiration or the Nitrification Inhibition Test may be used for this. In the future, toxicity reduction may be stipulated by local authority, water company or publicly-owned treatment works prior to giving discharge consents. Toxicity reduction may be evaluated using toxicity tests on activated sludge provided by the treatment works.

Monitoring Sludge Health – SOUR Test

Respiration rate monitoring of Antwerp treatment works showed periods when the activated sludge was up to 40% inhibited, with resultant sludge washout episodes. Using the Health monitoring test, a pattern of ‘normal’ respiration rates for a plant can be determined. Lower respiration rates will alert the treatment works to a chronic toxicity problem, allowing corrective actions to be taken. Toxicity monitoring can now be carried out on a routine daily basis, at all treatment works receiving potentially toxic wastewaters. This is especially important if there has been a history of poor plant performance.

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Strathkelvin Instruments Limited,

Rowantree Avenue,

North Lanarkshire, ML1 5RX,


01698 730400
Fax: 01698 730401
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