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The efficiency of the aeration system in a full-scale activated sludge basin with 3 separately controlled aeration zones was improved for the low loading period in summer. The air flow rate to each aeration zone is currently regulated to hold a preset dissolved oxygen concentration (DO). Four different DO setpoint combinations were tested, each one for a one week period, using dynamic off-gas testing to measure the standardised oxygen transfer efficiency (αSOTE).

As the DO setpoints were lowered, the total air flow rate to the basin decreased initially. A low DO in the first zones slowed biomass activity and pushed the load towards the end of the aeration basin. The relationship between αSOTE and the specific diffuser flow rate qD is different for each zone. In Zone 1 there was a strong decrease in αSOTE as qD increased, while Zone 2 and 3 were fairly independent of qD, Zone 2 at a higher level than Zone 3.

Aeration costs were reduced by 15% for the most efficient combination. To achieve even more savings, a control strategy adjusting oxygen transfer rates over the aeration basin to the necessary oxygen transfer rates is suggested. It is based on changing the DO setpoints to reach the lowest total air flow rate while meeting the effluent requirements.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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