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Performance of lagoons experiencing seasonal ice cover

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The operation of lagoon treatment facilities in areas that experience seasonal ice cover requires controlled discharge to avoid poor-quality effluents from being discharged to ice-covered receiving environments. The performance of controlled discharge lagoons is controlled by factors that are different than those influencing ice-free continuous discharge lagoons. Although the use of controlled discharge lagoons is common (80% of the 315 sites in Alberta, Canada), little detailed information is available on their performance and factors that control the performance compared with the more common continuous discharge lagoons.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a factual evaluation of actual lagoon performance in a region that experiences seasonal ice cover and to determine design factors that influence the performance. A review of technical aspects of lagoons operating in seasonal ice-covered environments is presented. Performance levels and factors affecting performance were determined by an in-depth evaluation of municipal sewage lagoon treatment in Alberta, Canada.

It was found that controlled discharge lagoons are capable of producing effluent of superior quality compared with most mechanical plant alternatives. Important factors that influence performance include the presence of anaerobic cells, storage time, month of discharge, and season of discharge.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1995-05-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research� (WER�) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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