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Reducing Electrical–Grid Powered Aeration Use & Costs in Reactor Basins

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The Eden, NC, wastewater utility investigated alternatives to electrical-grid powered aeration in reactor basins to improve operational and processing efficiencies. Surface aeration mixes inefficiently and produces more oxygen than needed, causing excessive electricity usage, operational costs, and greenhouse gas emissions. A single solar-powered circulator (SPC) was installed in a basin of 7,041.5 m2 and 7.0 MG operating volume. Three of 12, 20-HP aerators were deactivated immediately, and up to six aerators were deactivated over time. Water quality, electricity usage, and cost was monitored for 1 year during SPC, and compared with comparable data collected the previous year. Statistically significant decreases in effluent total-suspended solids, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and fecal coliform were observed during SPC. Electricity usage and expenditures declined by 42% and 31%, respectively, resulting in a carbon footprint reduction of 1,029,188.4 kg CO2 (2,268,972 lbs) and a 10.7-month payback period. SPC significantly improved operational and processing efficiencies.

Keywords: Solar-powered circulation; aeration; carbon footprint; electrical-grid power; greenhouse gas; mixing; operational efficiency; processing efficiency; solar energy; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2011-01-01

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