What Is Aeration, and Why Is It Important for Wastewater Treatment?

June 2, 2021

Wastewater treatment is a dirty yet necessary job in Camden County, MO and all over the country. Without wastewater treatment, the sewage we produce could contaminate our fresh water supplies and even our soil. Aeration is one of the steps in the wastewater treatment process. If you’ve always wondered what aeration is and why it’s important to wastewater treatment systems, read on to learn the basics you need to know.

In a general sense, aeration is a process where air is circulated, mixed or dissolved into matter. Certain situations use aeration processes to bring water and air in close contact, removing dissolved gases and oxidizing dissolved metals. The key thing to know about why aeration is important to wastewater treatment systems in Camden County, MO is that it’s essential for purifying contaminated water into drinking water. Aeration takes place during secondary treatment of wastewater, more specifically during the activated sludge process. It fosters microbial growth to remove the harmful bacteria from the water.

In typical municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, aeration occurs in the secondary stage of the process, after the small and large particles have been removed and water has been separated from solid sludge. Aeration occurs when organic material settles in a separating tank, and bacteria is recirculated in the aeration basin to increase decomposition of the organic material.

Industrial wastewater treatment typically uses water-fall aeration. Spray nozzles are used to provide the oxygen needed to purify the contaminated water. In some cases, air diffusion is used. The primary objective of aeration in industrial applications is to remove carbon dioxide from the water. Spray aeration removes low levels of volatile contaminants, which are then vented and removed through the air. There should always be a filter to make sure vented air is removed in a manner that’s safe for humans, animals and even insects.

There are many types of aeration when it comes to water purification. Here are the main methods you’ll encounter at water treatment plants:

  • Fine bubble diffusers: These energy-efficient submersible aeration systems purify wastewater by dispersing diffused gas volume equal to the amount of oxygen in coarse bubble systems. As a form of subsurface aeration, it introduces air into water through very fine bubbles, efficiently transferring oxygen and maximizing the purification power of the aeration process.
  • Coarse bubble diffusers: Coarse bubble diffusers produce a smaller number of bubbles, but they are larger and can churn and mix wastewater very efficiently. This process is usually ideal for conventional aeration, highly loaded systems, sludge storage and aerobic digesters.
  • Surface aeration: For plants with shallow water systems or when large amounts of oxygen are needed immediately, surface aeration is ideal. This process creates more surface area for gas exchange, quickly purifying a large volume of water.

Gaining an understanding of what aeration is and why it’s important to wastewater treatment systems helps you appreciate the process it takes to purify drinking water at plants in Camden County, MO and all throughout the country. Interested in learning more? Contact Enviro-Line Co., Inc. today for insightful knowledge about water treatment processes and benefits.

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