Characteristics Of SBRs


SBRs are used all over the world and have been around since the 1920s. With their growing popularity in Europe and China as well as the United States, they are being used successfully to treat both municipal and industrial wastewaters, particularly in areas characterized by low or varying flow patterns. Municipalities, resorts, casinos, and a number of industries, including dairy, pulp and paper, tanneries and textiles, are using SBRs as practical wastewater treatment alternatives.

Improvements in equipment and technology, especially in aeration devices and computer control systems, have made SBRs a viable choice over the conventional activated-sludge system. These plants are very practical for a number of reasons:

• In areas where there is a limited amount of space, treatment takes place in a single basin instead of multiple basins, allowing for a smaller footprint. Low total-suspended-solid values of less than 10 milligrams per liter (mg/L) can be achieved consistently through the use of
effective decanters that eliminate the need for a separate clarifier.

• The treatment cycle can be adjusted to undergo aerobic, anaerobic, and anoxic conditions in order to achieve biological nutrient removal, including nitrification, denitrification, and some phosphorus removal. Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) levels of less than 5 mg/L can be
achieved consistently. Total nitrogen limits of less than 5 mg/L can also be achieved by aerobic conversion of ammonia to nitrates (nitrification) and anoxic conversion of nitrates to nitrogen gas (denitrification) within the same tank. Low phosphorus limits of less than 2 mg/L
can be attained by using a combination of biological treatment (anaerobic phosphorusabsorbing organisms) and chemical agents (aluminum or iron salts) within the vessel andtreatment cycle.

• Older wastewater treatment facilities can be retrofitted to an SBR because the basins are already present.

• Wastewater discharge permits are becoming more stringent and SBRs offer a cost-effective way to achieve lower effluent limits. Note that discharge limits that require a greater degree of treatment may necessitate the addition of a tertiary filtration unit following the SBR treatment
phase. This consideration should be an important part of the design process.

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