During the fill phase, the basin receives influent wastewater. The influent brings food to the microbes in the activated sludge, creating an environment for biochemical reactions to take place. Mixing and aeration can be varied during the fill phase to create the following three different scenarios:
Static Fill – Under a static-fill scenario, there is no mixing or aeration while the influent wastewater is entering the tank. Static fill is used during the initial start-up phase of a facility, at plants that do not need to nitrify or denitrify, and during low flow periods to save power. Because the mixers and aerators remain off, this scenario has an energy-savings component.
Mixed Fill – Under a mixed-fill scenario, mechanical mixers are active, but the aerators remain off. The mixing action produces a uniform blend of influent wastewater and biomass. Because there is no aeration, an anoxic condition is present, which promotes denitrification. Anaerobic conditions can also be achieved during the mixed-fill phase. Under anaerobic conditions the biomass undergoes a release of phosphorous. This release is reabsorbed by the biomass once aerobic conditions are reestablished. This phosphorous release will not happen with anoxic conditions.
Aerated Fill – Under an aerated-fill scenario, both the aerators and the mechanical mixing unit are activated. The contents of the basin are aerated to convert the anoxic or anaerobic zone over to an aerobic zone. No adjustments to the aerated-fill cycle are needed to reduce organics and achieve nitrification. However, to achieve denitrification, it is necessary to switch the oxygen off to promote anoxic conditions for denitrification. By switching the oxygen on and off during this phase with the blowers, oxic and anoxic conditions are created, allowing for nitrification and denitrification. Dissolved oxygen (DO) should be monitored during this phase so it does not go over 0.2 mg/L. This ensures that an anoxic condition will occur during the idle phase.