Soil aquifer treatment (SAT) using primary effluent (PE) is an attractive option for wastewater treatment and reuse in many developing countries with no or minimal wastewater treatment. One of the main limitations of SAT of PE is rapid clogging of the infiltration basin due to high suspended solid concentrations. Some pre-treatment of PE before infiltration is likely to reduce this limitation, improve performance of SAT and help to implement this technology effectively. The effects of three pre-treatment options namely sedimentation (SED), coagulation (COAG) and horizontal roughing filtration (HRF) on SAT were analyzed by conducting laboratory-scale batch and soil column experiments. The sedimentation and coagulation pre-treatments led to less head loss development and reduction of clogging effect. The head loss development in soil column using PE + COAG and PE + SED was reduced by 85 and 72%, respectively, compared to PE alone without any pre-treatment. The overall dissolved organic carbon (DOC) removal of pre-treatments and soil column collectively were 34, 44, 51 and 43.5% for PE without any pre-treatment, PE + SED, PE + COAG and PE + HRF, respectively. Coagulation pre-treatment of PE was found to be the most effective option in terms of suspended solids, DOC and nitrogen removal. Sedimentation pre-treatment of PE could be attractive where land is relatively less expensive for the construction of sedimentation basins.
Keywords: soil aquifer treatment, primary effluent, pre-treatment, coagulation, sedimentation, bulk organic matter