Corrective Action Strategies during Toxic Shock Events at Enhanced Biological Phosphorus Removal Wastewater Treatment Plants

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ABSTRACT

Toxic shock events can be detrimental to wastewater treatment systems and can result in longterm losses of system performance. If warned of an impending toxic shock, operators would have the opportunity to implement process controls that could help mitigate the effects of the shock event. The objective of this project was to evaluate the effectiveness of a developed corrective action strategy (involving aerobic endogenous respiration) on an enhanced biological phosphorus removal (EBPR) wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) shocked with chlorine. Three identical, laboratory-scale systems were designed to mimic one train of the Long Creek Water Resources Reclamation Facility (WRRF, Gastonia, NC). The basis of this study would be a comparative performance analysis among the three trains; a negative control (unshocked and operated normally), a positive control (shocked with hypochlorite and operated normally), and the corrective action (shocked with hypochlorite and process controls implemented). Comparative performance analysis among the three trains was based on effluent quality, performance stability, and biomass kinetics as indicated by rates of respiration and phosphate release and uptake. The shock event and corrective action strategy both inhibited EBPR. After an initial perturbation, the positive control matched the performance of the negative control. The corrective action, however, exhibited significant instability in BPR performance. Regardless of whether aerobic or anaerobic storage conditions are selected, endogenous respiration will still result system instability. It is recommended, therefore, that measures be taken to avoid imposing endogenous conditions on isolated sludge during a short-term toxic shock event.

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