Performance enhancement of large industrial wastewater stabilization ponds

Gary Davis Ramey, The University of Texas School of Public Health


A 6-month-long, bench-scale simulation of an industrial wastewater stabilization pond (WSP) system was conducted to evaluate responses to several potential performance-enhancing treatments. The industrial WSP system consists of an anaerobic primary (1ry) WSP treating high-strength wastewater, followed by facultative secondary (2ry) and aerobic tertiary (3ry) WSPs in series treating lower-strength wastewater. The 1ry WSP was simulated with four glass aquaria which were fed with wastewater from the actual WSP system. The treatments examined were phosphorus supplementation (PHOS), phosphorus supplementation with pH control (PHOS+ALK), and phosphorus supplementation with pH control and effluent recycle (PHOS+ALK+RCY). The supplementary phosphorus treatment alone did not yield any significant change versus the CONTROL 1ry model pond. The average carbon to phosphorus ratio of the feed wastewater received from the WSP system was already 100:0.019 (i.e., 2,100 mg/l: 0.4 mg/l). The pH-control treatments (PHOS+ALK and PHOS+ALK+RCY) produced significant results, with 9 to 12 percent more total organic carbon (TOC) removal, 43 percent more volatile organic acid (VOA) generation, 78 percent more 2-ethoxyethanol and 14 percent more bis(2-chloroethyl)ether removal, and from 100- to 10,000-fold increases in bacterial enzyme activity and heterotrophic bacterial numbers. Recycling a 10-percent portion of the effluent yielded less variability for certain physicochemical parameters in the PHOS+ALK+RCY 1ry model pond, but overall there was no statistically-detectable improvement in performance versus no recycle. The 2ry and 3ry WSPs were also simulated in the laboratory to monitor the effect and fate of increased phosphorus loadings, as might occur if supplemental phosphorus were added to the 1ry WSP. Noticeable increases in algal growth were observed at feed phosphorus concentrations of 0.5 mg/l; however, there were no significant changes in the monitored physicochemical parameters. The effluent phosphorus concentrations from both the 2ry and 3ry model ponds did increase notably when feed phosphorus concentrations were increased from 0.5 to 1.0 mg/l.

Subject Area

Environmental science|Freshwater ecology

Recommended Citation

Ramey, Gary Davis, "Performance enhancement of large industrial wastewater stabilization ponds" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9401764.